Five things you should ask your new financial advisor

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No matter what we are buying, most of us want value for money. Be it new clothes, electronics or takeaway on a Friday night, we’re generally happy to pay as long as we see value in our purchase.  The same is true when it comes to financial advice; and, given that a good financial advisor helps us find financial peace of mind today and plan our retirement for the future, dealing with the ‘right’ one can be worth the fees many times over.

But how do you know if the advisor you’re talking to is the right one for you?

The following are a few questions to help you in your search for a financial advisor.

1. What are your qualifications, and how do these qualifications benefit me?

In an industry where titles are a plenty, recognising an advisers’ qualifications can help you narrow your search. Financial advisers or planners have many different accreditations, don’t be alarmed if you cannot immediately recognise these - note them down and do some research later. Understanding what these qualifications mean can help you determine if the adviser is suitably qualified to assist you. 

2. What services are you able to provide to clients?

It is common practice for advisors to ask you what services you require, this helps them tailor product recommendations to your specific needs. However, there are times where asking them about the types of services they are qualified or able to provide can help you decide on whether they’re the right advisor for you. 

Understanding the types of services the advisor is able to offer will help you determine whether or not the advisor is able to develop a strategy for you or if they’re simply going to recommend products to suit your immediate short-term needs.

3. What is the profile of your ‘typical’ client?

It makes sense to use a financial planner who is used to working with clients with a similar financial profile to you. Often, advisors will be able to draw on their tried and proven experience to help with your financial needs or concerns.

4. How do you get paid?  

Conflicts of interest can be a concern in many industries. No one wants to feel like they’re being taken advantage of.  Asking how an adviser is paid is a great way to help determine if conflicts of interest are present. It is not only sound business practice but a legal requirement that the adviser discloses exactly how they are paid to any new and/or existing client.

5. Are you able to refer me to anyone who can help me with other services?

When talking to the adviser or planner, ask them whom they would recommend to help you with other related services, for example, accountancy or legal services. Generally speaking, professionals will happily refer you to a colleague but only if they are confident in their colleagues’ ability to deliver great and complimentary services. 

For more on what to ask your financial advisor check out this article.