Looking for a financial adviser? Here are a few suggestions to get you started
One of the top reasons SMSF trustees provide for not seeking financial advice is that they are not sure how to find a financial adviser they can trust.
In the past, many SMSF trustees sought the advice of their accountants when it came to retirement planning and investing the capital in their SMSF. Accountants used to be able to provide much of this advice because an “accountants exemption” existed. This exemption allowed accountants to give financial advice regarding your SMSF’s assets and strategy. This might have included asset allocation guidance and advice about when to commence a pension.
Now, unless an accountant is licenced to provide financial advice, they are restricted to providing factual information about your SMSF. This means advice regarding the commencement of a pension or contribution strategies around retirement must be provided by a licensed financial adviser.
The 2020 Vanguard Investment trends SMSF Report highlighted three key areas where SMSF trustees are looking for help:
- Investment Strategy Reviews
- Investing for Regular Income
- Pension Strategies
The right financial adviser is well placed to help with all of the above advice areas. But the question remains, how are you able to find an adviser that is right for you?
Like choosing any service provider, a logical way is to seek a referral from a friend or a colleague. If your friend feels they have received value and service from their adviser they might be happy to assist with a referral. This is always the easiest way to begin a conversation.
It also pays to be cautious and check that the financial adviser you have been referred to has a licence to provide the financial advice you are seeking and is registered with ASIC. You can do this by looking at the Financial Advice Register, which is published on the government’s Money Smart website.
If you are struggling to find a trusted referral from a friend you can also find an adviser in your area using a couple of other online resources.
The Financial Planners Association allows you to search for members of their association in your local areas.
The Association of Financial Advisers provides a member directory through Your Best Interests.
Adviser Ratings also allows you to search for advisers in your local area. This is a privately owned site which includes client reviews of their adviser’s service offering which may provide useful insights and help you think through the sorts of questions you might look to ask your prospective adviser.
Once you have identified a couple of advisers who you are interested in meeting, it’s helpful to take a closer look at their value proposition by reviewing their website. From here you can probably also request an initial phone call with your preferred adviser. This will allow you to ask some high level questions about their business, their area of expertise, what their typical client uses their services for and how they price their advice. Most financial advisers will have specific areas of expertise given the complexities that exist in the advice landscape. There are advisers who specialise in Aged Care, Centrelink, Personal Insurances, Investment Management and Retirement Strategies. It is therefore important that you are able to articulate what is it you are looking for help with so that you are well placed to find an adviser with the skills necessary to assist you.
After speaking to a number of advisers you should be prepared to meet with at least one face to face. This will take an investment of time for both you and the adviser as you will need to be prepared to share details around you plans for the future, values and current assets, liabilities and cashflow in order for the adviser to gather enough information to ascertain if they are well placed to provide advice.
For most of us, our superannuation assets represent a large and valuable proportion of our wealth. For this reason, due diligence is key to engaging the right advice provider to meet your needs.
Partner & Principal Adviser
Minchin Moore Private Wealth Advisers
Cathryn has over 20 years’ experience in financial services and is an accredited Executive Coach.
In 2015, Cathryn established her own financial advice practice which she merged with Minchin Moore Private Wealth in 2019. She is now a Partner and key decision maker in that practice.
Before moving into financial advice, Cathryn worked in corporate finance and institutional sales roles at a global investment bank and large trading bank.
Cathryn has been a finalist in the AFA Rising Star Awards and sat on ASICs Financial Advisers Consultative Committee. In 2019 she was also named by Financial Standard as one of Australia’s top 50, most influential advisers.