choosing-the-right-financial-planner-fortune

Personal Finance

Choosing Your Future Financial Planner

16 Oct , 2014  

Nikhil (Nik) Sreedhar
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Nikhil (Nik) Sreedhar

Founder at ProAdviser
Nikhil's dream job is to be an exotic car salesman. His favourite colour is orange and it shows as he is the 23 year old entrepreneur behind ProAdviser. You should follow him, he gets lonely.
Nikhil (Nik) Sreedhar
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An introductory meeting with a financial planner is all about questions.  The planner will ask you questions, and you should have a number of questions to ask the planner.  In fact, you will be interviewing the planner.

First Impressions

Your prospective financial planner will most likely be asking questions to gain insight as to the types of investments in which you might be interested, your funding resources, and the type of investor you might be – conservative, high-risk taker, or somewhere in between.

You will be asking questions about the planner’s experience, qualifications, training, and areas of financial planning expertise.  In addition to the “data” you gather, your first impression may include:

1) Comfort/discomfort – do I feel comfortable speaking with this planner?

2) Do they carefully and respectfully listen to me, or am I being cut off before I can complete a sentence or question?

3) Can they explain services to me clearly and describe how they can help me with my financial interests?

Core Questions

While it may seem daunting for you to be doing the questioning, gaining the right information about your planner is essential, as they will play a huge role in the future of your wealth and financial security. There is a core set of questions that every investor should ask prospective financial planner.

1) What types of clients do you specialise in?
Some planners have expertise in specific areas such as retirement planning, or estate and tax planning.

2) What services do you and/or your firm provide?
Some people are investment advisers whereas others do comprehensive planning.  Be clear on the types of planning services you need so that you and your prospective planner can match needs with qualifications.

3) What are your qualifications?
Choose a financial planner with the necessary qualifications and ideally a member of a professional body such as the Financial Planning Association (FPA).

4) How do you charge for your services/how much?
This information is often stated on the planner’s website but you should also discuss it during the interview.  Is there an initial planning fee, a percentage charged for assets under management?  Does the planner make a profit from selling a specific product to you?

The complexity of your financial situation and plan will determine the cost.  There may be an initial fee for needs assessment as well as fees for developing a financial plan, implementing recommendations, administration, and ongoing service fees.

A financial planner is responsible for ensuring that you understand the fees involved, and approve the fees before they are incurred.

5) Who will I work with, and how often? 
Some planners typically meet with their clients once a year but may use a team approach in which another colleague will periodically be in touch.

6) How long have you been a financial adviser?
When it comes to managing your life savings, look for someone with at least four years’ experience as a financial adviser.

7) Please explain a concept to me.
This may not be the typical request, but how clearly a financial planner is able to explain a financial concept to you can make all the difference in how well your future partnership works.  You shouldn’t be continually confused by “financial speak”.

Summary

The interview is an opportunity for the financial planner to describe services and investment potential to you in clear, easy-to-understand language.  You, the investor also have an obligation to describe (as clearly as possible) your financial planning objectives.

If you find that both of you are not rushing, but are carefully listening to each other, and explaining ideas and opportunities, you may have the makings of a good financial planning partnership.

If you need to find a great financial planner be sure to use ProAdviser. Depending on your requirements we put you in touch with 5 financial planners that all provide you with free consultations. Our service is completely free, how cool is that! Just click “Ask An Adviser” to get started!

 

 

 

By Nikhil Sreedhar
Nikhil - Profile PicNikhil is the CEO of ProAdviser. He is an experienced financial services professional with a particular interest investing in small businesses, shares and property.  ProAdviser is a specialist professional adviser marketplace that connects consumers to leading financial planners, broker, accountants and lawyers. It is completely automated, efficient and highly effective. To get started simply click on “Ask An Adviser”  

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