Finding the right financial planner

23 April 2019

financial planner

Anyone following the Financial Services Royal Commission will have learnt that financial planners aren’t all as squeaky clean as we think they might be. That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of reputable, honest financial planners out there – the trick is just finding the right one for you.

If you’re looking to invest your money, a good financial planner can certainly help – but how do you actually find a good one?

Look before you leap

There are plenty of ‘experts’ out there who will tell you they are the right person to help take care of your money. But, before you sit down with any of them make sure you’re covering the basics first.

ASIC’s MoneySmart website has a Financial Advisers register. Head online and make sure the person or business you’re looking at are actually legally authorised to give advice. If their name isn’t on the list, keep walking.

Make sure you also get a copy of the planner’s Financial Services Guide (usually just called the FSG). You’ll find it on their website. This guide shows you the type of advice they are able to give. It will also list any restrictions or conflicts that might influence their advice.

Be prepared

Before meeting with a planner, make sure you collate a list of your assets, liabilities, insurance and superannuation. Be prepared to ask questions – this is important. Make sure you know how they charge for their services, and who is responsible for any advice. You also want to know what experience the planner has with helping people who are in a similar position to you.

Read the fine print

Apart from the FSG, there are two other important documents you need to know about.

If your planner recommends an investment product, you should be provided with a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). The PDF will help you decide if the investment is right for you. If any financial advice that is given to you should be contained in a written Statement of Advice (SOA). If you find that it’s a long document full of jargon, ask your planner to explain it to you in plain English so you understand it.

Finally, take some consideration time before you commit. If you aren’t comfortable with the planner or the advice they have given, it never hurts to get a second opinion.

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