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Choosing the right financial adviser


Everyone has different financial goals at different points in their lives. The advice of a professionally qualified financial adviser can help you to achieve your financial goals. But how do you know if your financial adviser is giving you sound advice and how do you find an adviser right for you?

What does a financial adviser do?

A financial adviser (or financial planner) gives you personalised advice on how to achieve your financial goals, whatever they may be, or to advise you on investments or insurance that meet your personal needs.

A financial adviser is different from a stockbroker, who buys and sells stocks for clients, and an accountant, who usually performs a wide range of tasks including (but not limited to) managing financial records.

Do I need a financial adviser?

There are many reasons why you may want to seek advice from a financial adviser. These can include:

  • You’re starting a business
  • You’ve recently married or become a parent
  • You’ve unexpectedly come into money (for example, through an inheritance)
  • You’re making a large purchase
  • You need advice in planning for your financial future for any other reason
  • You feel like you know what you’re doing but would still like a professional opinion.

How do I find the right financial adviser?

- Write down your goals Get clear about what you want and what your financial adviser can help with. Do you want to save? Invest? Buy a house?

- Ask around Listen to recommendations from friends, family and colleagues. Try to find a name that is recognised and respected in your local community.

- Do your research Read more blogs on the topic than this one. Study up on the most important things to look for when choosing the right financial adviser and make sure you know what your highest priorities are.

- Use an official source for publically listed financial advisers: This will let you know whether the financial adviser is qualified to provide the advice you need: Financial Advisers Register

- Check the financial advisers register for banned and disqualified advisers: The 'Banned and disqualified' search provides information about people and organisations that ASIC has disqualified or banned.

- Make sure the financial adviser is a certified financial planner (CFP): This means they’re licensed and have passed a test administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Studies, etc. For more information visit https://www.cfp.net

- Read the adviser’s financial services guide (FSG): You should be able to find this on their website. Otherwise ask them for a copy.

ASIC’s role in banning Financial Advisers for negligent behaviour

Recently ASIC banned a Bundaberg Financial Adviser from providing financial services for four years. ASIC found that Mr Goudie failed to comply with financial services laws including the requirement to comply with the best interests duty and to prioritise his clients’ interests.

Michael Lalji Shine Lawyers’ National Manager of Commercial Disputes said cases of financial advisers providing bad advice or breaching their obligations to clients was not unusual or isolated. Cases of financial advisers not prioritising clients’ interests was highlighted in the Royal Commission into Banking and Financial Services and more cases like this have come to light since the release of the Commission’s report.

Contact Shine Lawyers

Michael Lalji is urging anyone who has been given advice and feels they have suffered a loss because of it to contact Shine Lawyers as soon as possible. We have a team of professional negligence experts who can help. Contact us today and let’s right wrong.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: October 14, 2019.

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