Tips for choosing a financial planner

Financial planners and advisers help you to manage your existing investments as well as to implement strategies to increase your wealth. Choosing the right person to be responsible for your financial plans is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. 

Following these three tips may help you to select a financial adviser who is right for your needs and goals.

1. Search the Financial Advisers Register
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) Financial Advisers Register contains details of all individual financial advisers who are authorised to provide personal financial advice. 

The register provides important information on financial adviser, such as:

  • how long the adviser has been providing financial advice
  • the adviser’s employment history
  • the adviser’s qualifications and training
  • what type of advice the adviser can give
  • whether there has been any disciplinary action against the adviser.

Visit Moneysmart.gov.au to search the Financial Advisers Register.

2. Obtain a copy of the Financial Services Guide
A financial adviser is obligated to provide you with a copy of their Financial Services Guide prior to giving you any financial advice. The Financial Services Guide contains:

  • the adviser’s contact details
  • details of the type of services the adviser can provide
  • who the adviser acts for when providing advice
  • how the adviser will charge for their services and whether they will receive any payments for such services
  • any associations or relationships the financial adviser may have with financial product providers (which could influence which advice they provide to you)
  • information on what you can do if you have a complaint about your adviser.

 

3. Understand what services the financial adviser will provide
The types of services financial planners and advisers provide vary between advisers.  For example, an adviser may not be able to provide you with advice on products that are not on their ‘approved products list’ (a list of financial products that the adviser will consider when recommending investments to you).  The products that are on the approved products list are different for each financial advisory firm. 

In addition, a financial adviser may provide one-off advice or on-going advice.  If it is one-off advice, the financial adviser will not review your investments on a periodic basis to check whether the initial advice they gave to you continues to be appropriate. This is particularly important if your personal circumstances have changed since you received that advice (e.g. you have a new job or have separated or divorced). 

Doing your research before choosing a financial planner or adviser will go a long way to securing your financial future, and to ensure that you avoid time-consuming and costly disputes associated with bad financial advice.  If you have concerns about the financial advice you have received from your financial planner or adviser, contact Slater and Gordon on 1800 555 777 to speak to one of its experienced lawyers about your options.

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