Want professional help to achieve your financial goals?
If you are reading this, congratulations – you are taking the important first step to securing your financial future.
Choosing the right financial adviser is a critical part of that decision. Your financial adviser should be someone with whom you can build a long-term relationship. Someone you trust to hold your hand through the ups and downs that life throws at you.
In a nutshell – someone you can count on.
There are any number of myths around seeking advice. My colleague, Melinda Houghton of Aon Hewitt Financial Advice, writes on the AFA website: “There is still a legacy of thinking that if you want to work with a financial planner, you need to be rich first. Kind of like cleaning up your house before the house cleaner comes!”
How do you go about finding the right person to form such an important partnership?
You need to do some research. Try this checklist of 10 things to consider.
- Referrals from friends or professionals, such as accountants and lawyers, are a great place to start, as they will have had experience.
- There are websites where you can look for a financial adviser in your area: yourbestinterests.com.au has a list of qualified advisers. Adviser Ratings has client and professional ratings. ASIC’s MoneySmart site has a register.
- You must feel comfortable with your adviser and they should resonate with you. Ask if he or she is the principal of business. If so, who in the business can help you if they are unavailable?
- Your adviser should listen. They need to understand what it is you seek and what is important to you. They should ask you questions that are thought-provoking and engaging as part of this process.
- If they have their own company, are they self-licensed or are licensed through another entity that is ultimately responsible for the advice?If self-licensed, asked about professional indemnity insurance.
- What kind of services can they provide at the start and in a long-term relationship? Find out what an adviser can and cannot do. Once you’ve found the right one, you don’t want to have to change as your circumstances do.
- Do they have a professional certification such as the Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner (FChFP)? How long have they been practicing?
- By law, advisers must explain in advance all of the remuneration they will receive from advising you so be comfortable with any fees and commissions.
- Is your adviser a member of a professional body like the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA), with a strict Code of Conduct? They should be.
- Lastly, check on the ASIC Register for their background. A brief Google Search won’t go astray for additional public information or the public profile of the financial adviser.
One of the hardest things for an adviser is managing the constantly changing investment environment and your changing circumstances. This is why you need a competent professional who will continue to review your plan with you. It should be a rewarding relationship for both of you.
DEBORAH KENT | AFA PRESIDENT
THE REALLY SIMPLE GUIDE TO MONEY | OCTOBER 2015
The information provided in this page is general in nature and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information you should consider the appropriateness of the information with regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should seek independent advice from your financial adviser before making any decisions.
AUSTRALIAN MORTGAGE AND FINANCIAL ADVISERS (AMAFA)
Phone: 07 3378 2056
Fax: 07 3378 2069