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Protecting yourself from dodgy financial advice

Shine Lawyers | Jan Saddler

Written by:
Jan Saddler
Head of Class Actions

When it comes to the welfare of your retirement nest egg – few things are more important. After 20 years as a professional negligence lawyer, I’ve represented far too many hard-working Queensland seniors who’ve saved for decades only to lose some or all of their money because of inappropriate financial advice.

While I’ve been able to help many of these men and women recover the money they’ve lost, it’s important that Queensland seniors know how to protect themselves from falling victim to dubious financial advice.

Here are my top tips for ensuring your nest egg is protected when getting financial advice.

  1. Check your financial advisor’s qualifications – Ask them for details of their professional qualifications and make sure they are a member of the Financial Planning Association of Australia. They should also have a degree in Business or Finance from a university as well as formal qualifications in financial planning.
  2. Don’t be rushed – A good financial adviser will let you take time to make your decision and consider the advice that they have given you. If you feel that you are being talked into anything then tell the person you are dealing with that you do not wish to proceed.  Do not feel that you have to invest or follow their advice because you have spent time with them.
  3. Watch out for recommendations to borrow money – It is rarely appropriate for a retiree to borrow funds to invest. Be wary of any adviser who makes such a suggestion.
  4. If in doubt, don’t proceed – Remember it is your money you are entrusting to the adviser.  Only invest when you are completely confident and comfortable with the decision.

Seek independent legal advice

If you think you’ve been given bad advice, it’s important to act quickly as time limits do apply. You can lodge a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service or with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. If this doesn’t help or if you are in doubt, seek independent legal advice.

Written by Jan Saddler. Last modified: December 8, 2013.

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