Selecting a Financial Planner
Consulting an experienced financial planner enables you to actively plan for your future, rather than leaving it to chance. But, how do you find yourself a financial planner who is qualified to meet your needs?
Finding the right financial planner for you requires a bit of homework on your part. It is your right (and responsibility) to ensure the financial planner has the background, expertise and methods of operation that suits your needs.
To help you find a professional, ethical and experienced financial planner you can work through the following steps.
- Ask friends, family or work colleagues for a referral – a recommendation from one of these is a step in the right direction. However, don’t stop here. Everyone’s financial situation is unique. Therefore, what may work for another person may not necessarily work for you.
- Make a list of two or three financial planners. For example, your short list can be obtained from referrals, the Financial Planning Association (FPA), or even the Yellow Pages.
- The financial planner should be a member of a professional body, such as the FPA.
- The financial planner must have an Financial Service Guide (FSG). This guide outlines what services are offered, the costs involved and whether or not commissions are paid. If a financial planner says they do not have an FSG - cross them off your list.
- It is essential to understand how the financial planner will be paid and what services will be provided. Financial planners can receive benefits for their financial advice in a number of ways, including:
- charging fees for the work done (fee for service);
- receive commission (or brokerage) from the financial institution;
- charging a scale of fees based on total funds your invest; or
- a combination of fees and commissions.
- The financial planner must provide a written plan, Statement of Advice (SOA), showing all investment fees and commissions and the total cost to you. If they don’t, cross them off your list.
- The financial planner (or their organisation) must have professional indemnity insurance. This helps you receive compensation if we are negligent. If the answer is no, cross them off your list.
- Is the financial planner registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)? They must be a financial planner or an authorised representative of a Australian Financial Services Licensee. Again, If the answer is no, cross them off your list.
- When you visit a financial planner don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember, whilst a financial planner can certainly steer you in the right direction, only you can take full responsibility for your finances.
- Your financial plan, SOA, is the key to your future financial security and should be regularly reviewed and updated, to accommodate for change. Ensure your financial planner offers ongoing and long-term service.
Selecting a financial planner is a decision for the longer term and one that should not be left to chance. Remember it’s your financial future so ensure you are comfortable with the financial planner you select.
The Regulating Bodies
The financial planning industry and financial planners are guided by a number of bodies.
Australian Securities and Investments Commission
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is a government body that regulates the financial industry through its policy statements and strives to reduce fraud and unfair practices in the financial industry.
Phone: 1300 300 630 (cost of a local call)
Why Choose Sound Life?
Sound Life Financial Services meets all the necessary criteria.
Our financial planners:
- observe a strict and comprehensive code of professional conduct;
- undergo rigorous accreditation processes and extensive ongoing professional development;
- have access to over 400 financial products sourced from over 40 fund managers and life companies. The financial planners of Sound Life Financial Services can offer a range of insurance, investment, superannuation and retirement income stream products. Sound Life maintains an Approved Product List (APL), containing a list of financial products that have been researched by a number of external research houses.
- are kept up-to-date with changes and new developments in the financial services industry;
- provide advice in a written financial plan;
- provide a choice of payment options; and
- provide ongoing, long-term services to clients.
But, as importantly, our financial planners are committed to providing service excellence to clients, working with you towards achieving your future financial goals.