In this video, members of the Profession of Independent Financial Advisers provide some insights into how to find a financial adviser that is right for you, and how to make the most of the financial advice process.
How can you find a financial adviser that is right for you?
Neil Salkow, Roskow Independent Advisory
So there’s a lot of resources to find advisers – SuperGuide website, PIFA website and asking friends and family who have got good advice, not just who have seen an adviser, but who’ve really got outcomes, successful outcomes from the advice.
So that’s a starting point as to how to maybe go about finding them. From there I would say do your research. So do your research on the individual that you’re seeing, on the company that you’re seeing. Understand that the services being offered are truly the services you need, rather than… Advice is not homogenous, it’s not one size fits all.
So my view is try and find a firm that will tailor their services to you or understand what services you may need, and then only get those services if you only need a limited number of services.
Joe Stephan, Stephan Independent Advisory
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Well, I think it comes back to, I think consumers really, and clients really want to know, families really want to know how do I select the appropriate adviser for me?
I think what you want to do is find an adviser that feels comfortable in your gut, a person that you really resonate with, that the approach that they’re taking with you is slow, and patient, and deliberate. That they’re illustrating value and being transparent about the costs of the advice really early.
And then they’re telling you that you should go and have a second opinion, that you should go and interview as many advisers as you want. And that there is a feeling of a lack of sales pressure that is going on. Because their process is not sales-centric, it’s value-centric. You will feel that if that is truly the case.
Naomi Horobin, Clover Financial Group
If you think you might get something out of some advice, just pick up the phone, call an adviser, have a chat to them, they will be able to talk to you about… get an idea of what you need help with, and whether they’re the right person to help you. And if they’re not the right person, point you in the direction of where you can get the sort of help that you need right now.
It’s really about having a conversation where we get to know you so that we can work out where you want to go, and what we can do to help you get there.
Daniel McGregor, Wealth Train
Different businesses are doing it different ways. I still like to offer people a first free appointment because most people haven’t had advice. It’s a daunting process, feeling that they’re going to come in and talk about money. It’s not something most people are comfortable with. They don’t know the process because they haven’t gone through it before.
So I’d encourage everyone to just reach out and engage with a financial adviser, have a conversation, and see if there’s something they can do to help, and start with an independent one.
Matthew Ross, Roskow Independent Advisory
Something else to think about. Go and ask your friends and family and your peers and other people who they’re trusting. Because I think that’s one of the hardest things for consumers to find someone they can trust.
And independence is just a ticket to the game. So then you got to, once you find someone that you feel like you might be able to trust, you’ve got to have that personal connection. So often we’ll encourage people to go and see two or three advisers.
It’s an important decision to make because you’re going to get very personal with them. You’ve got to be able to trust them. You’ve got to have that connection. So, yes, take action sooner, but ask others who they’re comfortable with. Ask your peers who they’re comfortable working with because there’s a good chance you’re going to connect with them too, because there’s a connection there. So money’s maybe something we don’t talk a lot about. And you don’t necessarily need to talk about money, but you can talk about who’s helping you with money, who’s helping you with your decisions and why.
Phil Thompson, Rise Financial
The first thing I would say for people is, get some advice because in my opinion, the future of advice are two things that advisers can really help people with.
The first one is one-off appointments, ad hoc information, understanding when it’s needed. I call it a financial checkup in my business where I sit down and help people understand what they’ve got, articulate their goals, let’s map out the future. And I do that with people every two or three years. So it’s something they can come in for, just a checkup, let’s understand what’s going on.
The second part is where you need an adviser to take on some responsibility for investments for you as well. So there’s a different relationship there. It comes at a higher cost, so there is an ongoing fee for that, but we’ve got to make sure it’s a worthwhile arrangement for those clients.
How can people make the most of the financial advice process?
Peter Humble, Rise Wealth
To engage in this process people need to be wanting to listen, they need to want to learn. Our process is designed around knowledge and education. And it’s not until people appreciate how much they don’t know, or appreciate that there are questions that need answers that then motivate them to seek advice, but also to pay for it.
Matthew Ross, Roskow Independent Advisory
To make the most of the process go in with an open mind and give the information. So in my mind, a great adviser asks good questions, great questions, deep questions, honest questions and hard questions. So find someone that’s got the guts to ask some really personal questions.
And once they do that, give them the information, trust them, see what they do with that information, but really buy into it. If you hold back on the information, then you’re almost holding back on the value you get out of the process. It’s first of all, you need to find someone good questions, but then engage in it.
Amir Salehi, Planning Wealth Independent Advisory
We start from the starting point, which is, what is really important to them and what are those goals that they want to achieve, and that they need planning for, and then where they are. So when we know where they are, when we know what are those goals that they want to achieve and what’s really important to them. So what is really important to them is more than money. So goals change. Their values, what is really important to them doesn’t change.
So when we know all that, how to get there becomes much easier. Sometimes even clients can work it out themselves or with their accountant they can do it. But getting that one picture, one pager sort of a roadmap is the best way to start.
Dennis Maddern, Maddern Financial Advisers
Well I think the key thing is really what are your goals? Is to help them clarify their goals. The rest of the stuff, name, rank and serial number is pretty much straightforward. How much have you got in super? Do you have income protection? How much you’re paying in tax. I think they’re basic sort of questions.
But the big thing are the goals. Where do you want your children to go to school? How much money do you want to have in retirement? Do you want to build wealth through bricks and mortar, or do you prefer shares? Or whatever it may be. Or do you want to just plan to eat vanilla slices in France and travel on a regular basis?
Whatever the issue is, we’re here to help you as to your unique needs. So because we’re independent, we have no product to push, we have no agenda to push. It’s really all about you.
Susannah Kulincevic, Brocktons Independent Advisory
Mostly what I find is that people, when they come to me for advice, is that they’ve got some idea of how things like superannuation can work, how there are certain rules about superannuation, but they’re not quite sure how those rules work. And more importantly, how those rules apply to them individually, or as a couple.
There are strategies that they would like to implement on their own, and they get to a point and they realize it’s too difficult, it’s too much, or it’s just beyond my understanding. And so that’s when they come to me for advice. I think at that point I’m talking to clients who have, roughly, they know what they want, and roughly they are on their way there, but they just need someone to give them a bit of clarity and a bit of direction.
Peter Humble, Rise Wealth
The idea that people can do this well and by themselves, there’s a small number of people. They’re very skilled and quite capable of putting together, and implementing, and executing, and then reviewing their own financial affairs. But quite honestly, I don’t believe that’s cost effective necessarily for those people. And the vast majority of people find the complexity of strategy, and product, just a confusing maze, a bit of a mess.
And then they need help, they want help to sort through it all. We’re not talking about comparing apples and oranges. We’re comparing a banana and a motorbike in lots of ways. Should I commute money out of my superannuation to pay out the remaining mortgage?
That’s not a process of comparing financial products that’s actually comparing different strategies all together. So, yeah, it’s a banana versus a motorbike versus a swimming pool. That’s what’s comparing financial strategies is really like.
But the ability to do that from a completely objective basis; I’ve got absolutely nothing to gain. I don’t work for anybody else. I’m not here to sell you products. We’re just here to spend time together perhaps 10 or 15 hours over the next couple of months working through the questions that you seek answers to.
Rick Horvat, Horvat Financial Advisers
For us, we really try to hone in on why someone wants to do something. So it’s really trying to, again, break down why they believe they want to achieve something or do something. What’s really driving them to that outcome?
An example might be a client coming in saying, “I want to buy an investment property.” Well you don’t… Why? What’s the investment property? It typically, and without putting words into people’s mouths, it’s about having enough capital at the end of the day to substitute and generate an income from that, that substitutes a wage when they decide to have the option of stopping to work. As you mentioned before; retirement. But we have to try and get that out of the person and out of the client. And so, if someone’s looking at go seeing a financial adviser, it’s really trying to understand what they’re trying to achieve and why they’re trying to achieve it.
Amir Salehi, Planning Wealth Independent Advisory
I think clients normally think of a return too much, a historical return, or how much return do I get? And they put too much emphasis in that area, I think. But what is really valuable to them and what we see as value to clients is stopping them from doing simple mistakes. And so that is the real advice, to keep them on track to their goals and making sure that they don’t make decisions based on their emotions.
Philip Harvey, Construct Wealth
One way that I can say this to emphasize how valuable financial advices is, is to say, I really wish when I was 30 I had seen a financial adviser. I think a financial adviser can obviously help map out all of the really big decisions, but they’re probably not the ones that will really impact your retirement planning in the end. It’s actually all of the small decisions that you’ve made along the way where, if you had have had someone sitting beside you saying, “Actually, don’t do this, or don’t do that.” Or conversely, “Yes, do this or that.” There to guide you to make the better decisions.
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