Be careful about giving out your financial information

December 07, 2018

As a state agency or higher education retiree with a pension, you may get a lot of marketing material from financial advisors and investment professionals. If you decide to seek investment or financial advice, you should do your research, especially if you are contacted directly by an advisor. The Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) does not provide independent financial advice and will not contact you with any offers for financial services. If you're a member of the Texa$aver 401(k) / 457 Program, you might hear about their optional financial advisor services through Advised Assets Group, LLC (AAG), a federally registered investment advisor. If you get mail or a phone call from Advised Assets that mentions Texa$aver, you should feel comfortable considering their services.

Tips for making informed financial decisions

 If you are thinking about outside investment or financial counsel, there are important things to keep in mind.
  • In retirement, Texa$aver participants maintain access to the Texa$aver Advisor Service. Through three levels of guidance—including two that are available at no additional cost to members—participants can create personalized retirement strategies though AAG.
  • If you seek other investment or financial advice, you should do your own research to learn about the financial professional or company. Find out about their qualifications or certifications and try to identify potential conflicts of interest. Here are some ways to research:
    More information about Online Investment Guidance or Online Investment Advice (both available at no cost to the member), or the Managed Account (which has additional fees) can be found at https://texasaver. articles/TexasWR/managedAccounts.
    Note: There is no guarantee that participation in the Texa$aver Advisor Service will result in a profit or that your account will out perform a self-managed portfolio.
    • Check with the State Securities Board (SSB) to verify the business or professional is registered. The SSB offers free regulatory background checks on registered brokers and investment advisers.
    • Ask a family member or a trusted friend. They may be able to help you find out if the offer is too good to be true.
    • Check online for credentials. Be cautious of bankruptcy filings or regulatory sanctions.
    • Review the advisor's fee arrangement to learn if the advisor will get a commission from particular securities for investing in them, or if their fees are for advice only. An advisor who gets a commission—instead of simply charging a fee for advice—may be more likely to steer you to an investment regardless of whether it is right for you.
The SSB website has information for investors about making investments and resources to help make educated investment decisions. One tool is the Texas Investor Guide, which has useful information on how to avoid investment scams and how to find a trusted financial professional, among other topics.