We often get asked what to look for in a financial advisor, so we’ve done the legwork for you and created a list of the top eight questions to ask.
We like to think of professional financial advice as an investment in your financial wellbeing. And like with any investment, it’s important to define your goal, set a timeframe and aim for growth.
As professionals in the personal finance industry, our reputation rests on every interaction we have with you. Any professional financial advisor should be committed to being clear and upfront about any costs and risks you may encounter, as well as your potential outcomes.
So, before you meet with a financial advisor, consider asking the following 8 questions.
1. What experience do you have providing financial advice to people in my position?
This question is designed for you to learn about the advisor’s experience, their approach, and their understanding of your current financial situation, goals and future plans. You can also ask about your advisor’s qualifications and past performance, including if they hold an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence or is an authorised representative. You can check their qualifications on the Financial Advisers Register.
“Right from the start, state your expectations clearly and the level of service agreement you expect.”
2. How do you engage and communicate with clients?
It’s important that you understand how the advisor works and keeps you updated. Some professionals are sole operators, some work in teams and some have associate advisors. Ongoing relationships with advisors often last many years, and traverse through significant life events such as birth, death, marriage, divorce, illness and career transition. So, it’s in your best interests to establish a clear and candid communication style. Right from the start, state your expectations clearly and the level of service agreement you expect.
3. What happens if you leave/resign?
There will always be change in the workplace. The reality is that your trusted professionals are likely to move on at some stage; whether through promotion, new opportunities or a change in lifestyle and direction. We know this can cause some concern, especially when you’ve built up a strong relationship with your advisor. Speak to the advisor about what happens to your file if they were to resign or leave, and know this ahead of time, so you can plan for it.
4. Why did you become a financial advisor?
If you’re about to start a long-term professional relationship with an advisor, you want to know what’s really important to them. What’s their purpose and values? What motivates them? Understanding why do they do what they do can help you decide if they are the right fit, and start building trust and confidence for the journey ahead.
5. What is your investment philosophy?
Choosing the right investments for clients is one of the most critical, and satisfying, parts of an advisor’s job. Different professionals have their own investment approach, or there may be a committee or advisory group making decisions. Ask the professional how they keep up with the latest products and trends; how the advice is considered from every angle, and how is their strategy customised for your personal situation.
6. What is the difference between upfront and ongoing advice
Financial advice fees vary depending on the financial advisor and the type of advice you want. Once you have an idea of the costs, you can decide whether paying for financial advice is right for you. Fees can be fixed and percentage based and options may include a one-off advice fee, an upfront once-only fee, and ongoing annual fees. You must be provided with a copy of the advisor’s Financial Services Guide (FSG) which explains fees, the services they offer and how they deal with complaints.
7. What are your fees and how are you compensated?
As professionals in the personal finance industry, our reputation rests on every interaction we have with our clients. An advisor should be committed to being transparent and upfront about any costs and risks you may encounter, as well as your potential outcomes. The professional you partner with should explain their fee structure clearly and fully. This includes disclosing any commissions paid from selling financial service products.
8. How will you keep me on track with my goals?
A switched-on financial advisor will also equip you with useful resources to help you manage your financial life and keep you on track to achieving your goals. Ask the financial advisor what their support looks like from a practical sense, such as tools to help with budgeting and cashflow, or insights through articles and events.
Want to talk to Tribeca about how we can help you live your Good Life? We’re ready to speak to you today. Call us on 1300 388 285.