I have a financial advisor who manages my portfolio. That portfolio is stored in TD Ameritrade, and my advisor currently has the ability to make deductions from my bank account into the portfolio based on verbal instructions (e.g. "I got a $15k bonus from work, please move it into my nonqualified investment portfolio").

I received a letter from TD Ameritrade that the "distribution authorization instructions given to [my] advisor are changing" -- specifically, the "instructions will be converted to Standing Letters of Authorization (SLOA)." The phrase "instructions" appears to be akin to "permissions" in this context. If I'm reading the letter correctly, my advisor is being given a broader range of permissions as to what they can do on my behalf.

I've long wondered if my existing arrangement was safe (e.g. can my financial advisor steal my money somehow with this access? if my financial advisor is taken hostage or hacked, can a bad actor steal my money with this access?), and with this change to even broader permissions, I decided to seek more information on SLOAs, but everything I find seems very technical and intended for advisors themselves.

So, ultimately, is it safe for me to give my financial advisor "Standing Letter of Authorization" permissions to my bank account and portfolio?

If there are questions already which answer this, my apologies, but I was not successful in my search. Thanks so much!

  • 2
    What contract do you have with the advisor? Is he your fiduciary? Is he licensed and regulated?
    – littleadv
    Aug 6 at 19:14
  • She has a CFP background and the firm is an RIA firm. The contract is fee-based only and she is our fiduciary. Aug 6 at 21:39


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