let’s say you’ve decided that you need some financial advice. How on earth do you decide which of the many financial advice firms to approach? To start with, when you make an initial telephone call, you should get an idea of how they operate and the kind of client experience that you can expect.
I WOULD SUGGEST THAT THE FOLLOWING THREE ATTRIBUTES ARE “MUST HAVES;:
To have a service proposition that leads on the financial planning, not the sale of products. Is the adviser a genuine financial planner or a product salesperson in disguise?
The financial plan should always come before any investment advice. The investments are simply there to make the financial plan work. An investment portfolio without a financial plan is like selling you petrol when you don’t own a car.
The use of specialist financial planning, cashflow forecasting software to create your financial plan.
A surprising number of advisers don’t use any planning software at all. I don’t know how I would do my job without it. It means I can model various scenarios for my clients to show them whether they are on track to do what they want to do with their lives.
The benefit of the technology is to be able to make something that’s very complex extremely simple to understand, with the use of pictures and graphics rather than endless numbers.
I can show my clients the future impact of financial decisions made today and help them strike the right balance between spending now and spending later.
Above all, it’s an interactive process rather than a dull presentation.
An investment process that avoids active fund managers and any kind of tactical switching.
Don’t get me started on this one. There is no evidence that there is any reliable, repeatable way of beating the market by selecting the ‘winning’ fund managers. Even worse, tactically shifting between markets is overwhelmingly likely to damage your wealth. If an adviser claims to be able to do either of these, run for the hills. All of the above is the technical stuff and, once you’ve established that the firm ticks those boxes (and a lot of them won’t), it’s time to arrange a meeting. . Most advisers will meet once without any charge. This is where your gut feeling is probably the best guide. Do you feel comfortable with the adviser? Are they listening to you – properly listening – or do they just talk at you? Does it feel like it’s all about the money, or are they interested in you as a person person and what you want out of life? You’ll know within about five minutes whether it’s right or not.