People approaching retirement or facing redundancy are no doubt being confronted with some important financial decisions. Some have the confidence and know how to research and choose the most appropriate course of action and/or products themselves, often with the assistance from information services such as NICRI. However, due to government funding cuts, many services available to consumers such as NICRI, will no longer be available – therefore they may need to seek professional advice.
When seeking financial advice, it is important to obtain information from reliable sources – such as advice from a financial planner who holds a current Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence or is an authorised representative of an organisation that holds a current AFS licence.
Financial planners can specialise in different areas and operate from different types of organisations. This can be from large financial institutions, such as major banks and insurance companies, to smaller boutique firms. They can vary in price, as well as the products and strategies they recommend. It is important that you outline clearly what you would like to achieve regarding your financial situation and what you expect from using their expertise and services.
So how do you go about finding a planner? Apart from searching the internet or using planners that family or friends recommend, you could contact various financial planning industry bodies, such as the Financial Planning Association (FPA), the Association of Financial Advisers and the Independent Financial Advisers Association of Australia. Contact details or online searches can be found by visiting their respective websites.
Members of the FPA must be licensed and adhere to a number of professional standards as per their ‘Code of Professional Practice’. Financial Planners are obliged to maintain certain educational and training standards approved by the corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
As a further safeguard, check with ASIC to ensure that the relevant planner holds a current AFS licence, or investigate whether anything you are considering is or has been banned or disqualified due to licence breaches. NICRI suggests that you talk to two or three planners before making your preferred selection.
If you require further information on retirement investments and investing in retirement, please contact NICRI toll free on 1800 020110 or email [email protected]. NICRI’s information leaflets are also available on our website at www.nicri.org.au ©.