Professional financial advice can significantly improve your financial wellbeing. Finding the right financial planner however is no easy task, so it’s important you know what to look for. Here are six tips to help you in your search:
- A license to provide financial advice
Always look for a financial planner who works for a firm that holds an Australian Financial Services (AFS) License issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). You can also verify the financial planner is authorised to provide financial advice by checking ASIC’s Financial Adviser hosted on the MoneySmart website.
- Professional membership
Look for a financial planner who is a member of a professional body, such as the FPA. Members of the FPA must meet stricter criteria and higher standards than currently required by law.
Make sure your financial planner is properly qualified and trained to provide you with financial advice. Look for a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional, the highest designation in financial planning.
Ask your financial planner how much experience they have in providing financial advice. Perhaps they specialise in a certain area of financial planning, or a certain type of client. The more you can find out, the better.
Your financial planner should be open to questions about their previous experience, truthful about their level of qualification and the work they offer, and clearly explain the charges to you before you decide to go ahead. At your first meeting, ask to see a copy of their Financial Services Guide (FSG) to verify everything they have told you.
Your financial planner is going to know more about you than your accountant or doctor, as he or she will have details of your finances, medical history and family situation. It is therefore essential to establish rapport early on in your first meeting. If you don’t feel the financial planner is the right fit for you, keep looking.
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Written by Dante De Gori CFP®, CEO of the Financial Planning Association of Australia