How do you know if you have a good financial adviser? What should you look for? I may not be the right person to answer these questions, because I’m sat on the other side of the fence, but, using over 30 years of experience, I can tell you what works best.
Qualifications? I don’t think you should worry too much about these. To be authorised, all advisers have to achieve a minimum standard of competency. When you fly, you probably don’t give much thought to the pilot’s qualifications and you’re putting your life into their hands! Look for specialist qualifications only if you need help in a specialised area. In my experience most people don’t need specialist advice every day, so don’t pay for it!
The two most important factors are how you pay for advice and who is the adviser representing?
It doesn’t matter how qualified the adviser is, if you are not certain exactly how much you are paying for advice, don’t proceed. It may seem painful initially but I strongly believe that the adviser should be paid according to how much time they spend working with you and not on how much you invest.
Who does the adviser represent? Their fiduciary status. Do they represent you, and are therefore paid by you, or do they represent an investment company, with their job basically to sell products? What type of adviser would you prefer?
Personality is an essential part of the adviser/client relationship but don’t forget it is not the adviser’s personality that will get you high marks on ScoreMy, it is the quality and the results of their advice.
Ultimately, the basis of a good client/adviser relationship comes down to the ‘3 cs’; clarity, commitment and chemistry.
Clarity. The client must be clear in what they want to achieve. Often, clients may not initially be clear on what they want or need; but they may feel that they need a pension, or simply ‘want a better return on their investments. A good financial planner should be able to assist a client to see the bigger picture and help the client be clear in understanding what they need to focus on to achieve their desired lifestyle
Commitment. A financial planner, and their support team, should be committed to helping their clients achieve their lifestyle. Clients should also have this commitment because, if not, they are unlikely to achieve their objectives which will mean they have wasted their money when paying their adviser. Nobody wants that, least of all a good financial planner.
Chemistry. Getting back to personalities. Financial planning can require sharing very personal information. You need to feel completely at ease with your planner during what can often be very long-term relationships (I have worked with some of my clients for over 25 years and I am pleased that some of these are now quite close friends).
If you would like to talk to a truly independent financial planner please get in touch on 01661 860438 or email David at firstname.lastname@example.org
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