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How to choose the right financial adviser for you

October 24, 2019  |  #Money Management

Seeing a financial adviser could set you on a path to reaching your goals and dreams sooner, but how can you make sure you choose the right adviser and what should you look out for?

 

We work hard for our money, so we want to see our money work just as hard. Seeing a financial adviser could set you on a path to reaching your goals and dreams sooner but how can you find the right financial adviser who can help you get there?

The financial industry, over the last decade, has rapidly changed as a result of things like the Royal Commission and tighter regulations. This is great news for advice clients as it ensures advisers must meet certain educational and compliance standards to remain in the industry and have more responsibility for the advice they provide. Choosing the right financial adviser for you is a decision worth giving some thought, after all, you’re paying someone to put your money to work, so you want to ensure they are the best fit for the job!

Where to start?

Perhaps your friends have recommended you to a firm or you’ve looked online and found a few advisers that you can put on your shortlist.  First, however, you will want to do a bit of background research into the advisers you are considering.  The ASIC financial advisers register has details of all financial advisers as a start point.

 

Understand how a financial adviser can support you with your need for financial security. Get in touch.

 

1. Ask questions!

Asking questions in your initial consultations is going to help you filter out very quickly if an adviser is right for you. Here are some questions to consider:

How do they determine what is best for a client

Everyone has a unique situation. We arrive at the first meeting with life experience, beliefs, values, dreams and goals. You want to work with an adviser who is going to work hard to understand your unique situation before making any recommendations about what financial steps to take. So ask them, how will they go about understanding your needs and making recommendations.

 

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What services do they offer?

Not all advisers and firms offer the same services, for example, if you’re looking to set up a self-managed super fund (SMSF) you will want to find an adviser that offers that service and has a partner who can assist within that field. You can often find out what services an adviser or firm offers on their website or ask them in your initial consultation.

What tools do they use?

The tech space for financial services is changing rapidly, along with the rest of the world! This brings the power of information to the hands of advisers and clients in a new and meaningful way. You should expect to see and feel that while working with your adviser. Do they have a tool to help you track how you are progressing towards your goals on a daily basis, at the time and place that suits you? Do you see technology playing a part in your meetings to demonstrate the value of advice and help you to make informed decisions about your financial choices? Are they leveraging technology in their own business to keep costs, and therefore fees, under control and improve the quality of their service?

How deep is their team?

The business of providing financial advice is highly complex behind the scenes, and that complexity is only increasing. To thrive in the industry moving forward, it will help to work with an adviser who has a strong team beside them. One that can provide additional support to you if you have questions. A team that can do a lot of the grunt administrative work. One that has expertise in compliance, industry changes, product offering and research capabilities. The more support your adviser has, the more time they have to serve your needs.

What areas do they specialise in?

Although most advisers will be able to help you in most areas of finance, some may specialise in certain areas e.g. Investing or retirement plans. If your goal is to grow your investment portfolio, find someone who specialises in investing and risk analysis.

Check our locations page to see what Advisers in our 15 locations list as their specialities.

Are they product-agnostic?

Some advisers work in conjunction with a product supplier, while others are product agnostic, what does this mean? When an adviser is a product-agnostic, they are not obligated to recommend a specific policy. They are free to make recommendations based on their research and experience, which have passed the scrutiny test from their licensee. The best way to approach this is to ask for a full disclosure of any product manufacturers (i.e insurance) companies the adviser is in partnership with.

At Invest Blue we work with a comprehensive list of product providers that have been verified through our quality assurance process.

How do they charge for their services?

Different companies charge for their advice in different ways, some are based on an hourly rate and some charge based on services you require. You will also need to decide if you just want once-off advice or ongoing advice.

At Invest Blue, you’ll pay fees by way of:

  • Flat fees: Or fees-for-services, that are more likely to apply for single financial services, and can also apply to ongoing services through a package.
  • Asset portfolio percentage-based fees: These fees are charged as a small percentage of the value of your portfolio.

You can discuss fees with an Invest Blue adviser during the first meeting, and there is no obligation to proceed.

What products do they sell?

As we mentioned above advisers may receive commissions for the products/services they sell for example insurance or super portfolios. It’s important to ensure your adviser offers a wide range of products so they can tailor a product for you.

How do they work with their clients? What will your journey with them look like?

By asking this, you’re going to get an understanding of what to expect on your journey moving forward. Do they prefer to see their clients face to face or over the phone? How often do they hold progress meetings? Who else in the office will you have access to if you need help? How can you track your journey? What happens if you aren’t meeting your budget?

 

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You should be the star of your financial planning show

 

2. Pay attention to the questions they ask you

We believe firmly that financial advice needs to be grounded by your own personal values, dreams and goals. If the adviser you are meeting with is spending more time touting rates and returns than listening to you and asking you fantastic questions, you could be missing out. A great adviser will test and challenge you to think seriously about what is most important to you and what you want your money to do for you. If you are in a partnership, they will also ensure that both parties get a say and help you to negotiate the trade-offs each of you need to make so that your financial plans can deliver on the best possible life for your whole family.

You may feel like you are having conversations about money for the first time. It may even be an uncomfortable or emotional experience. That is normal. To get to the bottom of what is most important, there are sometimes difficult answers to face. After a few years of working closely together, they should really know who you are and what you are willing to forgo in order to live your best possible life.

You can check out Invest Blue’s unique advice process here.

3. How do they make you feel

We work with clients with all levels of financial literacy and expertise. Some clients know a lot about money but are too time-poor to be heavily involved in their plans. Others have strengths in other areas and rely on their adviser to present their options and explain the consequences of the choices they make, in a way that they can relate to. The skill of a great adviser is knowing who they are working with, what level of detail to go into and how to present information in a way that it is valued and understood. You should feel 100% supported by your adviser.

The outcome of working with an adviser should also generate feelings of confidence, clarity, excitement, relief…. An adviser should be able to help you understand your situation and what the future looks like.

 

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Here are also some tips on what to look for:

1. Is the adviser registered?

As we mentioned above, regulations are becoming tighter but it’s still important to check that you are meeting with a registered adviser to ensure you are in trusted hands. Check with ASIC financial advisers register.

2. What are their qualifications and memberships?

Has the adviser passed an independent test for qualification and client engagement? What form of experience or qualification do they bring to the table?

As of January 2019, legislation came into effect requiring all financial advisers to hold a relevant bachelor or higher degree, complete an exam and work a full year in training to meet basic requirements to practice. You can also view advisers’ memberships and qualifications via ASIC.

3. Check-in on what their client’s say

Good practice or adviser should be able to show you evidence of the work they have done with other clients. At  Invest Blue we have helped thousands of clients on their unique and special path to their best possible life. We like to celebrate the wins with our clients, and at times clients choose to share their stories to inspire others. You can read some of our latest client stories here. We also measure our client satisfaction throughout the year and then annually through the Beddoes Institute. We have industry-leading engagement measures and have done so consistently since we commenced formal measurement over 5 years ago.

4. Seek external validation

Bodies like the Beddoes Institute survey clients on behalf of practices each year and from that can benchmark performance across a number of measures. A further outcome of this process is the highly regarded “Most Trusted Adviser” designation. This takes into account years of experience, the number of clients served, client satisfaction and engagement as well as compliance records.

Invest Blue is proudly part of the Most Trusted Advisers Network. We currently have 13 of our Advisers with this distinction. Many of our Planners are also Certified Financial Planners (CFP) through the Financial Planning Association (FPA). You can read more about our Credentials here.

 

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Shop around

Treat finding an adviser the same as you would hiring new staff or babysitter, you want someone you can trust. Not all advisers are the same even if they have the exact same qualifications, some have different strengths or specialise in certain areas so settling for the first option is not always going to work out in your favour. You should shop around and have a meeting with a few advisers to find out who is the best match for you. Most financial firms and advisers offer complimentary initial consultations, so sit down face to face with them, and ask them all the same types of questions to get a scope of where their differences are.

 

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So how do you know if an adviser is right for you?

Once you’ve met with a few advisers and gone through our checklist above you’re going to have a pretty solid idea of what each adviser can offer you and who you feel most comfortable entrusting your financial plans with. Be clear on your goals and expectations to ensure you have something to measure at your next meeting. Progress meetings are a great opportunity to check back in and make sure you’re both happy with how the relationship is developing.

Our Advice Process

Invest Blue has a structured advice process for new clients, carried out through four onboarding meetings. These meetings allow us to see the complete picture of your finances and focus on the things most important to you. You can see our complete advice process here.

Invest Blue happily offer initial consultations so why not have a chat with one of our financial advisers to see if they’re the right adviser for you!

 

Financial Advice is only a phone call away. Set yourself on a path to financial freedom. Contact us or ask us a question today.

What you need to know

This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.


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