The most common reason why clients leave their financial adviser is a lack of communication: written communication, such as performance reports or updates about the economy, phone calls and face-to-face meetings. You should be receiving all of these from your financial adviser. Another common reason for changing is that you, the client, have come to the realization that your adviser isn't really a financial planner, but rather a peddler of financial products.

The most common reason why clients leave their financial adviser is a lack of communication: written communication, such as performance reports or updates about the economy, phone calls and face-to-face meetings. You should be receiving all of these from your financial adviser.

Another common reason for changing is that you, the client, have come to the realization that your adviser isn't really a financial planner, but rather a peddler of financial products.

If the discussions are always about new investments, or insurance and annuities, there is a good chance that you aren't really getting a comprehensive effort toward the bigger-picture issues that a financial plan may address.

If your meetings regularly include a discussion and review of your life goals and how your assets, insurance, cash flow and estate plan are coordinated to help meet those goals, you are talking with a true financial planner.

Valid reasons to disapprove of your planner's firm are ones surrounding limitations on financial products and services, or outrageous costs. Some firms won't even allow their advisers to prepare a comprehensive financial plan for clients - insisting that their advisers only sell financial products and only casually address them within a financial planning context.

Some companies limit your access to a full range of financial products and steer you toward their own products. Believe it or not, some of the biggest names and most revered companies have limiting policies like these.

Another reason for changing advisers is investment performance, although I have mixed feelings on this. In the case of egregiously poor performance, a change may be justified. But in a case where an independent adviser can choose from the wide range of investment products, and has a performance return that is close to the respective benchmarks, performance alone is not a good reason for change.

Just ask those clients who believed the lines fed by the people at Bernie Madoff's company about their consistently excellent investment performance.

John P. Napolitano is the CEO of U.S. Wealth Management in Braintree, Mass. He may be reached at jnap@uswealthcompanies.com. For online discussion and more information, go to www.makingcentsblog.com.