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How to find a trustworthy adviser

With all this talk about Storm Financial’s collapse and the government likely to change the rules for how financial planners will be paid, I have a simple question — how do I find a trustworthy adviser?

Finding a great financial adviser is a challenge and homework has to be done, questions have to be asked and seeking referrals is really important.

I would avoid internal bank advisers as they tend to only recommend their bank’s products — you want a wide range of choice of products and advice options to be on the table. You can check out the Financial Planning Association’s website, ask friends, family members, accountants you might know or even your lawyer but don’t just take their word.

Once you prepare a short list of advisers, test them out using the following:

• Ask them about their qualifications and experience.
• Ask them if they are independent.
• Ask them if they are a Certified Financial Planner.
• Ask them how they charge.
• Ask if they accept commissions as payment.
• Ask if they are fee for service.

• Ask if they can tell you in total what the whole exercise will cost you.

• Ask to see their Financial Services Guide.

• Make sure they want to create a plan for you and not just flog you products.

• Make sure you will get your advice in writing.

ASIC’s FIDO website will give you some good questions to ask and issues to check.

On the FPA website and the names you might get there, remember that just because an adviser is a member of the FPA, it’s no guarantee that they are good or honest. You will have to check them out. Make sure you know all of your charges — both payments to the adviser and anyone else who provides services or products, such as fund managers. You should get a good plan for around $4000 depending on your complications. If you have simple issues it could be cheaper but if you are a lot of work, the charges will rise. 

Looking for transparent and affordable financial advice? Book a complimentary first appointment with Switzer Financial Services today. 

Published on: Monday, November 30, 2009

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