Choosing a Financial Adviser

It is most likely that at some stage in your life you will need to decide whether you are going to accumulate, invest and manage your money yourself or seek the advice and assistance of a professional financial adviser.

Article by Trevor Gibson, Trilogy Funds’ National Adviser Services Manager

How to choose an adviser is the one question that I have been continually asked over my 25 years’ experience in various financial services roles including financial adviser, investment research manager and National Adviser Services Manager. It was also a topic I wrote about in my book, Mastering your Money.

Investing for your future is not a one off task. It is important to ensure that you are investing in the most appropriate manner and your funds invested are spread across a series of investments applicable to your specific needs and requirements.

The reason that many people attempt to undertake tasks themselves is because they feel they can save the cost of hiring a professional or perhaps do better themselves, however there is often a cost if you don’t proceed with professional advice. You may save significant money in the longer term by using a professional who provides you with information on how to achieve your goals quicker or avoid future financial difficulties. The cost of the advice should be defined up front, so you know exactly what the fees and charges will be for the services provided.

Financial advisers can assist with establishing a savings strategy, planning a long-term investment objective, budgeting, insurance, superannuation, and general investment and portfolio development. Some suitably qualified financial advisers can also assist with tax planning, taxation returns, wills and estate planning.

As with the selection of any professional service provider, the decision you make is very important. Speak to several different financial advisers to develop an understanding of the services they can provide. Some key questions you could ask include:

  • How long have you been a financial adviser and what are your qualifications?
  • Are you a member of a professional association?
  • What type of financial planning license or authority to give financial planning advice do you hold?
  • What ongoing services do you provide?
  • What research do you provide to support the recommendations that you make?
  • What level of professional indemnity insurance do you have?
  • What is your method of remuneration and what fees do you charge?
  • Can you give me sample investment portfolios you have produced?
  • Do you operate under your own Australian Financial Securities License or are you licensed through a larger financial institution?
  • Are you covered by an independent complaints resolution scheme?

The Financial Planning Association of Australia and the Association of Financial Advisers also offer information on selecting an adviser. Take your time and talk to several advisers before making your decision. Your future financial prosperity is far too important to use the services of a financial adviser with whom you are not totally comfortable.

Please note that Trilogy Funds provides general information only and does not take into account any of your personal circumstances or seek to provide a personal recommendation to you. You are encouraged to seek expert advice before acting on any information contained in our resources.