Personal Finance

How To Choose The Right Financial Planner

2 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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Can working with a financial planner be a good investment for you?  People seek the guidance of a financial planner for various reasons – to help them maximise retirement funds, assess their current financial situation, create a management plan for a large inheritance or to plan for the financial future based on a recent major life event.
No matter how much or how little the amount of money you have, a financial planner may be able to help you.

Choosing a financial planner is much like selecting a financial best friend.  It takes time and research to cultivate that relationship over the long term.

In the end it’s your money, your goals and dreams and your risk.

The financial planner will be working with you to help you achieve your financial goals, give you advice, and manage your money.  The selection process will be a combination of gathering information and trusting your internal guidance.  Let’s look at some of the information you should be gathering.

Membership and Licence

  • Is the prospective financial planner a member of the Australian Financial Services (AFS)?  Does the planner hold an AFS Licence (AFSL)?  Does the planner belong to the Financial Planning Association (FPA)?  Is the planner a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®)?
  • The FPA is the leading professional community of financial planners in Australia.  Its members adhere to the FPA Code of Professional Practice and Code of Ethics.
  • Planners with the CFP® designation have received the highest available (worldwide) certification and are held to higher ethical standards as well standards for ongoing personal development.
  • Planners with an AFS license are authorized to provide financial product advice, and deal in financial product.


  • Ask each candidate about his or her qualifications, area of expertise, and experience.  Has the candidate worked with clients who have financial conditions and goals similar to yours?
  • Ask about the services provided by the planner and any organization with which the planner is affiliated.
  • Ask about fees. An initial consultation is usually available at no charge but if you were to engage the planner’s services, what types of fees would be incurred for each service? Each financial plan is customised to the client; it is not possible to initially state a given fee per service. The planner should be able to give you a price range for each service.
  • Ask yourself how you feel about working with each candidate you interview.  If your questions were not sufficiently answered, in terms easy enough for you to understand, move on to the next candidate.  If the candidate promises the moon or absolute guarantees, move on.
  • If you feel that a planner is not sufficiently interested in your business, move on until you feel that you have received the information and sense of “partnership” that makes you feel confident in your choice of planners.

Your Financial Plan

  • Your financial planner should be able to prepare a plan that summarises your financial position, lists your financial goals and how you will reach them.
  • The plan should include an explanation of investments chosen as elements of the overall strategy.
  • Finally, the plan should explain and disclose potential risks –how they can be addressed and overcome.


  •  There will be expectations of you, too.  Your financial planner expects that you will be upfront about your current financial situation and goals.  You should be a collaborative (not a passive) partner.  And, you are responsible for reviewing your plan on a regular basis.

Take Your Time

  • Choosing a financial planner may take time and a number of interviews before you decide on the person you wish to entrust with your financial planning future.  The investment in your time and effort will be worthwhile.  After all, you will be investing in a financial planning expert so you don’t have to be one yourself!

When choosing a financial planner, asking questions is important. The specialists at will answer your questions and help you sort out your financial planning needs.




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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