Finding the right Advisor!

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Finding the right Advisor!

Finding qualified, independent financial advice should not be difficult. So we provide you with this guide to try assist you in your pursuit for a qualified, independent financial advisor.

In order to avoind costly misstakes before you looking for a financial advisor, it is important that you understand some basics about the financial services industry just so there are no surprises. 

Let’s say you selected a financial advisor to develop a comprehensive financial plan only to find out the Advisor focus solely on the investments and disregarded other aspects of your financial life. Even worse, you could be pushed into several investment products that are inappropriate for your needs.

Based on this scenario, would you have considered engaging the advisor to begin with? Probably not. Unfortunately, if you don’t prepare appropriately, you may find yourself in this exact situation.

In order to avoid costly misstakes, it is perhaps worth considering educating yourself about the following aspects of working with a financial advisor:

• Credentials


• Compensation models


• Disciplinary issues


• Elements of financial planning


 

Victory Favours Preparation

 

CREDENTIALS

There are many professional designations in the financial planning industry, not all of them truly indicate a professional’s ability to do thorough broad based financial planning. All of those fancy letters after a planner’s name may be significant, or they may just be a way of making the advisor sound more competent than he or she really is.

COMPENSATION MODELS

Be sure that you understand the various ways in which a financial professional can be compensated. How compensation is received may affect the advice you receive, if that planner faces hidden conflicts of interest. The three most common models of compensation are:

Fee-Only Compensation – This model minimizes conflicts of interest. A Fee-Only financial advisor charges the client directly for his or her advice and/or ongoing management. No other financial reward is provided by any institution—which means that the advisor does not receive commissions on the actions they take on the clients’ behalf. Compensation is based on an hourly rate, a percent of assets managed, a flat fee, or a retainer.

Fee-Based Compensation (fee and commission) – This form is often confused with Fee- Only, but it’s not the same. Fee-based advisors charge clients a fee for the advice delivered, but they also sometimes receive payments for products they sell or recommend. In some cases, commissions are credited towards the fee, giving the appearance of a lower-priced option, but any outside compensation lessens the advisor’s ability to keep the client’s best interests first and foremost.

Commissions – An advisor who is compensated through commissions is primarily a salesperson. A client working with a commissioned sales person must always ask himself: Is this advice truly in my best interest, or is it the most profitable product for the advisor? Unfortunately, often the answer is the latter. In fact, a commissioned advisor usually is required to put the best interests of his employer ahead of the best interests of his client.

 

DISCIPLINARY ISSUES

You don’t want to work with a dishonest advisor, regardless of the advisor’s form of compensation. Although there are no fool-proof ways of ensuring the advisor is honest, one way to get started is to Contact your Country’s Financial Services Authority, to hear if they have setup a service to monitor advisor. Here ad Cranberger we also provider users the ability to rate and provide feedback on the advisors they deal with.

 

ELEMENTS OF FINANCIAL PLANNING

You will need to be careful on your quest. Just because someone calls himself/herself a financial planner does not mean he/she is a financial planner. Sometimes, the term “financial planner” is used by people to build false trust among consumers in an effort to sell financial products. A person who has passed the Series 7 examination or who has a law degree is not necessarily a financial planner. True financial planning requires understanding all facets of personal finance—and developing the ability to use hat knowledge through practical, hands-on experience with real clients.

As you approach potential advisors, keep in mind that a true financial planner should be able to help you address – among other things:

 

•   Estate Planning

•   Investments

•   Education Funding

•   Insurance and Risk Management

•   Retirement Planning

•   Senior Issues (including health insurance and long-term care)

 

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