A recent survey carried out by the ASIC revealed that 41% of Australians intend to seek personal financial advice in the near future, while 27% of Australians have received financial advice in the past 12 months.

However, the survey also revealed that an astounding 49% of respondents didn’t feel like financial advisors were working in their best interests, while a further 19% said they did not trust financial advisors at all.

This begs the question, how do you find a financial advisor you can trust? In this blog, we’ll attempt to answer that question by sharing four tips you can use to find a financial advisor that works for you.

Think about the type of advice you need

Not all financial advice is equal. Some advisors specialise in managing equity investments, while others only provide general financial advice, so you need to start by thinking about the type of advice you are looking for before selecting an advisor.

Areas to think about include your available equity, age, income, the financial objectives you are trying to achieve and your work status. Answers to these questions can help you choose an advisor with the right experience.

Choose an advisor who specialises in the area you need help

Once you have established the type of services you need, it’s time to start narrowing down advisors. Generally speaking, financial advisors fall into one of two categories. They either provide general financial advice or personal financial advice.

General financial advice does not take into account your personal situation or financial goals, while personal financial advice is tailored to your specific circumstances. It goes without saying that personalised financial advice provides greater benefits, but it comes at a higher cost.

So think carefully about your current financial situation and the type of support you need to achieve your financial goals. Then select an advisor with the right mix of services, skills and expertise to achieve your aims.

A good personal advisor should be able to provide the following services:

  • Single-issue advice – Provide support for specific financial issues such as how much should you contribute to your super, or how to best manage an inheritance.
  • Comprehensive advice – The advisor will develop strategies to manage your financial affairs including investments, super contributions, insurance and retirement planning.
  • Ongoing advice – The advisor provides ongoing management of your estate by regularly adjusting strategies to take advantage of tax and income changes.

You can check what services a financial advisor provides by viewing their Financial Services Guide, which should be displayed on their website. This should also provide information about their fee structure along with their AFS licence number.

Check they are qualified

Once you have narrowed down your choice of advisors, you should make sure they are properly licensed and qualified. All financial advisors practising in Australia need to hold a valid Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence.

This provides information about the services they are licensed to provide and proves they are both qualified and have experience in the assets they are managing. You can check to see if your chosen advisor has registered on the MoneySmart website.

Arrange a meeting

The final stage is to arrange a meeting with a shortlist of chosen providers. Most financial advisors do not charge for the first meeting, so you should be able to sit down with your shortlisted advisors to compare what they offer without incurring a charge.

During this initial meeting you should ask about:

  • How do they get paid? – Do they charge a fee or is their income dependent on kickbacks from service providers?
  • What are their qualifications? – Do they hold the right qualifications to provide the type of advice you need?
  • How will the relationship work? – Who will manage your account and how and when will they communicate with you?
  • What is their investment philosophy? – Some advisors advocate socially responsible investing while others specialise in high-risk assets. It is important to choose an advisor with the same investment philosophy as you.
  • How do they deal with complaints – All reputable financial advisors should have a written complaints procedure that dictates how they manage complaints.

Need professional financial advice?

At Ironbark Wealth Advisors, we provide a range of solutions to help manage your financial affairs. Our options include retirement planning, super fund contributions, insurance, stockbroking services, wealth management, estate planning and more.

As a reputable financial services firm, we also offer free consultations for your initial meeting, so you can sit down with us to make sure we are the right fit for you to achieve your financial goals without incurring a charge.

So if you need professional, impartial financial advice, get in touch with us today by completing the contact form here. Alternatively, give us a call on (02) 6884 4680 to arrange a complimentary meeting.

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