How should you choose your financial planner?

Posted on January 8, 2018 by ATB Chartered Accountants

When it comes to meeting your financial goals, how well your investments perform is out of your control – but who manages those investments is. A good financial planner will help you grow your wealth portfolio and meet your financial goals. But, it is important that you choose the right planner for you.

Skill level and expertise

First and foremost, it is important that your financial planner has the correct qualifications to be advising you. One way to do so is by having a look at the ASIC financial advisers registerHere, you will also be able to find if said financial advisor has ever been banned or disqualified from practice.

This registration compliments existing skills and qualifications that your financial planner may have. These additional qualifications will allow you to determine the quality of advice you will be provided with in managing your money. For example, At ATB, our accountants are fully qualified financial planners, in addition to holding accounting degrees and CPA qualifications. As qualified accountants, we are able to advise on tax planning and the opportunities this might create for investments.

First meeting

Once you have put together a list of potential financial planners, it is time to meet with them. In the first meeting, it is important that you have a discussion about your own goals and objectives in wealth creation. At the end of the day, the plan developed needs to be what you want. And assessing your risk profile is an important aspect of this.

In all investments, there is a certain level of risk you will face. But, there are investments which are riskier than others. As an example, international stocks are a riskier investment than fixed interest. If you are someone who is quite conservative and wants to minimise risk involved in wealth creation, you’ll probably want to avoid these. It is crucial your financial planner understands and meets these values of yours. If you have a planner who is pushing you to invest your money in areas you’re not comfortable with, the relationship isn’t going to work for you.

In the first meeting, you should ask the financial planner the difficult questions – what is your investment approach? How do you charge for your services, and how much?

While you might find it uncomfortable initially, you’ll be able to determine the planner’s attitudes towards investments. A financial planner should tell you that the market will fluctuate, and it won’t be perfect all the time. If your financial planner recommends only focusing on one type of asset, any market fluctuation could be detrimental. Since this is the case, we recommend that your investment portfolio is balanced.

Pricing

Generally, pricing for financial services are set as a fixed price, or commissions on investments. Commission pricing can influence the advice given to you by financial planners. As a result, commissions were banned on new investments and superannuation products from 1 July 2013, but still remain on other products, such as life insurance. For a fixed-price advisor, a suitability rule is followed where only investments that suit the client are made.

At ATB, what you see is what you get. We operate using fixed pricing for our financial services. We do not provide advice on specific products, so you can be satisfied that our advice is always neutral. This ensures that our clients can be confident that we have their best interest at heart. We help you protect your assets.

If you’re ready to think more strategically about your future, talk to us about your financial goals, we’re happy to help.