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How do I choose a financial adviser?

Having already thought about your financial needs it is important to ask the right questions of a potential financial adviser to make sure they suit your individual requirements and to build a good rapport. Here are a few questions you could explore:

 

  1. Ask about the financial adviser’s own background, qualifications and career
    It’s good to understand a financial adviser’s history. Australia has a regulated financial planning industry, so you should expect high standards from your financial adviser.

  2. How do they keep informed about market or regulatory developments?
    Financial advisers should constantly up-skill with seminars on important changes; ask about the last course your potential financial adviser attended, so you can get a sense of how up-to-date they are. Then ask how they intend to keep you informed of changes to the markets and your investments.

  3. What are their areas of specialisation and what kinds of clients do they mostly see?
    Before you ask this question, make sure you are armed with an idea of what your own financial goals are. If their answer to this question isn’t in line with the kind of financial advice you need, it may not be a good fit.

  4. How will I know what services they will provide and the costs involved?
    It’s important not to be surprised by hidden charges. All financial advisers should be very clear about the costs of using their services. You can also refer to their Financial Services Guide (FSG) which will have all this information available to you. Financial advisers are required by law to supply this document to you.

  5. Who owns the business they work for and any associated businesses?
    If it is an independent financial adviser, rather than a financial adviser who is part of a large financial organisation, get a history of the company they work for. A company with a long history of advising can offer a feeling of trust but make sure they are licensed by ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission).