This question has two components: a marketing one and a compliance one. From a compliance standpoint, you will need to speak with your compliance officer or consultant. We have worked with clients where promoting certain awards (e.g., the Five Star Wealth Manager award) was not permitted in their state. Please check before you promote any award.
As for marketing, before you promote any awards, ask yourself the following questions:
Is the award legitimate?
Is the award legitimate or more of a marketing program? For example, the Five Star Professionals award exists to sell advertisements, reprints and plaques. Legitimate awards usually require that you complete an application or nomination process in order to be considered (e.g., InvestmentNews awards, Business Journal awards, the FPA Heart of Financial Planning Award). If you or someone you know did not nominate you through such a process, the award is probably a marketing program. And if the award you are promoting is primarily a marketing program, you should probably not promote it. Not only does the award lack integrity, but it may also put you at risk from a compliance perspective.
Are you being awarded for sales?
Does the award acknowledge you for being the best producer? If so, you should personally be proud of that achievement but do not promote it to your clients. It’s a sales award, and your clients don’t want their advisor to be the best salesperson—they want their advisor to be the best financial advisor.
All other awards and lists (e.g., Forbes Top Wealth Managers) are worth considering for promotion. Ask yourself, "Does this award and the awarding body reflect the values I want to convey to clients?" The answer to this question will answer your question as to whether you should promote the award.
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