3 August 2021
All Australian financial advisers are required by law to act in your best interest but the better question to ask might be - how do you find someone who you’re comfortable working with and you feel is invested in you and your situation?
Working with a financial adviser means talking about your dreams, goals and aspirations. But for a successful advice relationship, it also means talking about any difficulties, your family situation and your health. These can be intimate and, at times, confronting conversations so you need to feel confident this person is going to look after you and help address your issues and concerns.
To give yourself the best chance of finding a financial adviser who you feel comfortable with and has your best interests at heart, here are four steps you can take before you begin a relationship with an adviser.
1. Look them up
All financial advisers are required to be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The Financial Advisers Register is a government tool you can use to look up registered Australian financial advisers and it will show you who they work for, what their qualifications are, if they are keeping up with compulsory professional development and if they have had any disciplinary actions taken against them.
Next, go to their business website and read about them. Their website should link to a Financial Services Guide and an Adviser Profile, which details who they are, what areas of advice they are authorised to provide, their fees, and where you can make a complaint if you need to. Every adviser has to be able to provide both the Financial Services Guide and Adviser Profile to you before they can give you advice.
Finally, Google their name and check out online reviews. Sites like Adviser Ratings provide consumer reviews about financial advisers and a simple Google search can help you see if they’ve written any articles, made a podcast or made comments in the media.
2. Ask for a referral
Asking your friends and family for a referral to someone they trust can be great way to get introduced to a financial adviser. However, it’s still important to conduct your due diligence and not assume you can trust them simply because your friend or family member does.
Take some time to question your friend or family member about why they trust their adviser and the sort of difference they’ve been able to make to their life. And remember - different strokes for different folks. There’s no use going to your friend’s adviser if you are just starting out your investing journey with $5,000 and their specialty is helping people with more than $500,000 to invest.
3. Have an introductory meeting
Most advisers will offer a free 15 minute to one-hour initial chat whether online or in person, so use that opportunity to pepper them with questions and figure out if they are the right person for you.
Ask them how they’re paid and if they regularly work with people in your situation. Find out the cost of working with them on your specific issues. Are they truly listening to your concerns about your finances or just trying to pigeonhole you into one of their pre-planned boxes?
4. Interview several financial advisers
Meet with several advisers before making a decision. Limiting yourself to meeting with just one adviser is like interviewing only one candidate for a job. Most advisers think it’s a really good idea for you to talk with several advisers before deciding who to go with so be honest with all of them about what you’re doing. If your gut tells you the adviser you’re talking with isn’t the right one for you, just let them know (either face to face or by email after the meeting).
Most financial advisers are regular people who love helping people with their finances. They rejoice when they see you reach your goals, they cry with you when a loved one passes away, and they do a little happy dance when you take the advice they know will help set you up for a positive future.
So, whether you’re thinking about your superannuation for the first time, you’re re-joining the workforce after having children, feel ready to invest to help prepare for retirement, or realise you have no idea if you’re insured properly, talking to a financial adviser is a decision that will continue to pay dividends as you progress through life. Go forth, do some research and boldly step towards a better financial life.
This article was originally published on 27 July 2021 for Stay-at-Home Mum