What does a Financial Adviser actually do and how can I find an Adviser that I can trust?

By Matt Ireland, Evolution Financial Planning team

The financial advice industry has recently been the focus of much media attention and scrutiny, with the actions of some bad actors clouding the public’s perception of Financial Advisers. Thankfully, through new legislation and Adviser education requirements, things are changing.

The industry is finally moving on and growing into a profession that people can be proud of. Tougher education standards and the removal of commissions from financial products have changed the industry for the better, with Advisers now required to hold a university degree and complete a much higher level of study before they can practice. This will not only improve the quality of individual Advisers, but also the quality of the advice they provide. According to Adviser Ratings (a site used to review and rate Advisers) almost half of all Advisers will be exiting the profession over the next few years as a result of the tougher education standards. I’m including this statistic not to devalue the work that many great Advisers have been doing for years, but to highlight the encouraging changes taking place that will promote Financial Advisers who want to rebuild the industry into one that people can trust with their financial well-being.

There are several misconceptions surrounding who can benefit from seeking financial advice. Many people assume you only need to see an Adviser when you are retiring or facing financial difficulties. However people at every life stage can get a great deal of value from receiving professional advice. Advisers can assist you with a wide range of things including, but not limited to:

·         Reaching savings goals such as a deposit for your first home.

·         Investing in financial assets like shares and bonds to make the most out of your savings or inheritances.

·         Setting up budgets to help reduce debts.

·         Analysing and recommending the best super fund.

·         Figuring out how much insurance you need to protect your family and your assets.

·         Aged care advice for elderly parents or grandparents.

·         Buying and selling shares.

 

But how do I find a good Adviser and how much does it cost?

 

There are a number of ways to find local Financial Advisers including ASIC’s Financial Advisers register and the Adviser Ratings Website. Personal recommendations can be a great place to start as you may already have a connection with the Adviser or a common ground to start a relationship. Privacy is a primary concern in the financial advice industry so you can rest assured that your details are not discussed or dispersed elsewhere.

Financial advice should be provided on a fee for service basis, that is, you are charged for the time taken to complete your work, just like other professions. Good Advisers will be happy to hold an initial meeting for no fee to find out if there is anything they can help you with and you should always receive a quote before you are charged for anything.

If you decide to go ahead with advice it is important that you ask your Adviser about anything you are unsure of, and that all fees are disclosed to you in a clear and concise manner. Advisers should show you that they have compared all available options but if you are still unsure, get a second opinion!

Seeking advice does not have to be worrisome or confusing. Advisers are here to help, whether that help comes in the form of a comprehensive plan for your future, or simply a nod in the right direction. Now more than ever you will find Advisers that have undertaken extensive levels of study to ensure that the advice they provide is accurate and beneficial.

If you’d like to understand more about the advice process or you just want a second opinion on your financial strategy, the Advisers at Evolution are always happy to help. We offer obligation free consultations where you can discuss your goals, worries and queries in a confidential environment. If you’d like to organise a meeting call us on (02) 4903 1111.

Jane Hextell