Five things to look for in and Adviser
Following from my previous blog, once you have decided there is merit in seeking professional advice, consider some key points when selecting your adviser:
1 – Qualifications: What study has your adviser undertaken to ensure that they have sufficient knowledge to be advising you in the areas that they claim to be able to help you? An Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning (ADFS) should be a minimum. Also look for the Certified Financial Planner mark (CFP) the top qualification in the profession and the hardest mark to maintain. These advisers are considered the cream of the profession.
2 – Experience: Having the certificate is important, but how much real world experience does the adviser have? Either the adviser or the collective experience within in the firm should be substantial enough for you to have confidence in the advice and its relevance to your situation.
3 – Reputation: Utilise media, web based and traditional as well as word of mouth and personal referrals to build a picture of the adviser and their business.
4 – Detail: How much effort does the adviser put in to finding out about you? The best advice is tailored to your situation and helping you achieve your goals. It should be about strategy not simply product. The best advisers should have an engagement process that provides ample opportunity to build a relationship and really understand what it is you want to achieve. The more details gathered at the start of the process the more appropriate the advice that is ultimately recommended.
5 – Availability: It’s your money and your future. Is your adviser readily available for you to ask questions and to talk things through? Do they approach you for a regular review or do you feel like you are chasing them for appointments? If you currently have an adviser, when the crisis hit were they on the front foot, working through any problems with you or did they simply go missing? Do they provide enough opportunity for you to get the information that you want from them or the education that you feel you need.
You are an expert in your field, give serious consideration to engaging an expert in the field of financial planning, it unlikely to be enough to rely on friends, relatives or information on the internet. Any fees paid to an adviser should come back to you many times over as the adviser helps you lead the lifestyle that you want.
Don’t be afraid to interview your potential adviser, you are employing them after all. Consider their level of qualifications and experience and, where possible, try and speak to existing clients. The most appropriate adviser for you is unlikely to be one that simply tells you what you want to hear; they should provide you with the opportunity and the tools to develop a level of understanding that means you are making informed decisions relating to your finances and how best to achieve your goals.