Almost three million Australians have been asked by friends and family for advice regarding their finances and investments, according to recent Roy Morgan research. The report suggests that these family members acting as “trusted advisers” are likely to recommend their own financial advisers to relatives.
But sometimes a simple recommendation isn’t quite enough to go on when you’re planning for the future.
Understanding how your adviser earns their money is important for two reasons. The first: you’ll have better awareness of where your money is going. Beyond that, you’ll also be able to better gauge how genuine their guidance may be down the line.
Advisers can earn their money in any of three ways:
With an up-front flat rate, an advisor is better able to put care and attention into your portfolio, and you remain aware of exactly what you’re paying. In the case of commission, a small fee is taken off your returns, which could be suitable for a smaller hands-off portfolio. Be wary however, if an adviser earns bonuses or ‘soft dollar’ benefits for selling you certain products, it could influence the validity of their advice.
By asking how your adviser would shape your portfolio, you can get an idea of how their investment ideas and ethos match yours. Ideally, you’ll want a financial adviser who doesn’t push your portfolio into a set mould, but instead listens to your needs and situation.
Portfolio growth doesn’t follow any set path, so flexibility in strategy is vital.
Any good adviser will understand the importance of diversification, and their response should in some way reflect this.
If your adviser is going to be providing ongoing advice, make sure you know how and how often you’ll be contacted. An adviser will help you to better form your financial investment plan, but at the end of the day it’s your money, and you should be kept in the loop about all transactions made.
Ensure you receive specific product disclosure information regarding any investments made, and be ready to ask your adviser why they’ve chosen particular assets.
An adviser is unlikely to tell you anything about their career that you might find off-putting, but asking this question can give you insight into how your adviser views their clients. When choosing an adviser, you’ll want someone who cares about you.
Advisers who often work for people within the same demographic are more likely to understand your needs.
Working with an adviser who is part of a team means that your portfolio won’t be forgotten when your adviser takes a sabbatical. Financial teams can also bring a wider range of voices and perspectives to the table regarding your investments. That means a better guarantee that your investments are made wisely.
When your investment portfolio has a whole team supporting it, it means a better outcome for everyone.
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