When you’re looking for a way to invest, a casual online search or an informal crowdsourcing survey among your friends will probably yield you one too many options. From among them and others you may find, how do you pick the one that’s right for you?
Of course, being licensed to operate and offer investments is the bare minimum. That aside, here are the basic questions that you should ask when considering an investment service to help you grow your money.
Does it offer the service you need?
If you already know what you want to invest in, you’ll need to make sure that the investment service has it. While there may be a chance that the product will be available later on, this is never a sure thing.
You may find that the specific investment isn’t offered but a similar one is available. In that case, you’ll need to make sure that the performance is at least comparable before deciding to either go with the new product or find a different service that has the one you want.
Is it reputable?
It’s important for you to look for genuine customer feedback on the investment service you’re considering. While ads and other promotional material look promising, hearing from real people who’ve used that service is a good way to learn if you can trust it with your money.
Checking app reviews is a good place to start looking. You can also check online communities and public feedbacks for honest-to-goodness assessment of their brand of service. You may also ask your investing friends if they have any experience with the service, including any changes they’ve experienced along the way.
While having some sort of connection to an established and reputable company isn’t a guarantee that you’ll have a good experience, it can still be reassuring to see.
Is it customer-centric?
One of the most important customer service metrics, especially at this day and age, is response time. It’s nearly inevitable to find yourself reaching out to the investment service at some point, either for help, clarification or even feedback.
That’s why the quality of the customer service is something that you should seriously look at before putting your money in. While you may be able to find some mention of it in reviews, you can already reach out and ask a few questions even before you start using the service.
The main things to take note of are the speed of the reply, and how well your questions were answered. These factors will be very important if you invest through it and an issue comes up.
Is its performance consistent?
Even though past performance is no guarantee of future results, seeing how the products of the investment service previously performed can give you an idea of how your money might grow.
You can also compare the product’s performance with those of its competitors and its benchmark (which it’ll have if it’s a pooled fund like a Unit Investment Trust Fund or UITF).
Realistically-speaking, it would be very difficult to keep on getting that top rank when it comes to returns, so the more practical figure to look out for would be consistency of the firm’s performance.
You can also research on awards and citations they may have received over the past to give you an idea if they are being recognized not just by peers, but by regulators or local and international award-giving bodies.
Checking external factors such as the condition of the market and the economy, and any relevant changes in regulations or policies is also a good idea, because this lets you see the big picture of the investing landscape during that time period.