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Questions to ask a financial adviser in an introductory meeting.

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25 November 2022 Read time: 5 min

Getting ready for your first meeting (*ahem, interview) with a financial adviser? To make the most of your time together, it’s best to come prepared. So, here are the most important questions to ask a financial adviser in an introductory meeting.

Read on to see what you should discuss during your first meeting with your future financial planner.

Before your meeting,
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Getting ready to meet with a financial adviser?

Download the most important questions you should ask during an introductory meeting.

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What’s your background and experience?

 

There are many ways to ask this question, but they all boil down to one thing: is the adviser experienced and qualified enough to provide the advice you need?

That said, here are some things you should definitely cover:

  1. What’s your background in advice? How long have you been a registered Financial Adviser?

    • Cross check this answer on the Financial Advice Register (more on that below).
  2. What are your qualifications?

    • We recommend working with a Certified Financial Planner®. The CFP qualification is internationally recognised for having the highest education and ethical standards in financial advice. Holding this designation is also a good sign that your adviser values continued learning and development.
  3. What’s your Authorised Representative Number on the Financial Advice Register?

    • To call yourself a Financial Adviser or Financial Planner in Australia, there are a number of hoops you need to jump through. You can read all about those hoops here… but in short, an Adviser isn’t qualified to provide advice unless they’re listed on ASIC’s Financial Advice Register.
  4. When did you join your current practice and what attracted you to the company?

    • This should give you a good sense of your financial planner’s values, interests and passions. So, dig in.

 

What services do you provide and what’s your advice process?

 

  1. What services do you provide? Do you offer strategic advice? What does your advice cover?

    • Be attuned to whether the adviser speaks mostly about product advice (e.g. super, investing, insurance) or is speaking about your broader life / family / financial goals and strategy.
    • Looking for detailed strategy and truly integrated advice? Our Private Wealth team has a lot to offer.
  2. What’s the process for getting a financial plan done with you?

    • Typically, advisers follow a financial planning process that looks something like this. Make note of any differences you find.
  3. Do you work with any other professionals?

    • That is: accountants, lenders, insurance specialists, legal specialists, estate planners, business advisers, bookkeepers. Who’s in your adviser’s professional network?
    • Moreover, are these professionals referral partners or are they employed by the same firm?
    • In the event they’re referral partners, be sure to ask the adviser if they receive payment, gifts or commissions when referring you to others.
    • In contrast, if the adviser is working solo, it’s smart to suss out their contingency plans. Ask: What are your thoughts on succession? What happens to my plan if you’re no longer able to work with me?
    • Want access to multi-disciplinary support, without the conflicts? We believe #TrulyIntegrated advice makes all the difference. You can learn more about IATs here.
  4. How will our relationship work?

    • It’s good to discuss some hygiene matters at the outset. What’s the adviser’s access and availability like? Should you call, email or come in when you need a hand? Do they do in-person or video meetings… or both?
    • Further, when it comes to implementing their advice, will they help you? Some firms handle almost everything for you where others leave you to tasks like opening required accounts and completing forms. That’s all to say, it’s worth asking the question.
  5. What’s their expectation for future review services?

    • There really is very little point to doing a financial plan, unless you keep it up-to-date. This means you’ll need to review your plan from time to time. So be sure to discuss what review services involve.
    • Are reviews systemised and scheduled, or a little loose and ad-hoc? How often should you expect your reviews?

 

What’s your approach and philosophy?

 

  1. What does your typical client look like?

    • Dig into the age/stage/demographics/philosophy and advice needs of the adviser’s typical clients. This will help you gauge whether the adviser has experience working with people like you.
    • You may also have some specific advice needs or philosophical views. For example, if you’re looking for ethical investments, you need good support to do this well.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask the adviser why they think you’d work well together, and why their firm is best placed to serve you. This gives them an opportunity to make their best pitch.
    • As a bonus, it also gives you a sense of what assumptions they’re making about you during your introductory meeting.
  2. What is your advice philosophy?

  3. What’s the firm’s investment philosophy?

    • Want to invest ethically? Interested in ESG? Learn about Ethos.
  4. Tell me a bit about your Best Interests Duty?

    • Best Interest Duty (BID) obligations ensure the advice you receive meets your objectives, financial situation and needs. It also ensures financial advisers act in your best interests (including managing conflicts) when providing you advice.

 

What can I expect in the way of fees and charges?

 

  1. How much does your financial plan service cost?

    • Read more about what financial planning services typically cost, and what’s usually included in advice fees.
  2. What is not included in this charge? Are there other fees/charges I should expect?

    • Above and beyond the cost of your financial plan, it’s worth understanding what other fees you could reasonably expect. Are there portfolio management fees, platform fees, or premiums you should anticipate? What about fees for ongoing advice/review services?
  3. How do you get paid?

    • The answer to this question will help reveal who’s a fee-only adviser. It’ll also help you avoid those with conflicted remuneration sources.
    • In short, the best answer to this question is always: an annual salary.

 

How can you support my business?

 

Ahhh yes, the intersection of home and business. We know that the two are intrinsically interlinked. So if you also happen to run a business, it’s wise to drill down into these extra questions during your introductory meeting with a financial adviser.

  1. How do you / does your firm deal with the connected needs of my family and business?

    • Let the adviser know you’re aware that your household and business are linked. Then, delve into how the adviser can ensure both will thrive, simultaneously.
  2. Do you work with any other professionals?

    • If you’ve not covered this earlier – make sure you ask whether the adviser works with other professionals (e.g. accountants, lenders, insurance specialists, legal specialists, estate planners, business advisers, bookkeepers).
    • Also clarify whether these professionals are referral partners or employed by the same firm, and if they receive payment, gifts or commissions for referring you.
    • Want access to multi-disciplinary support, without the conflicts? Learn more about our IATs.

 

Wrap up questions.

 

  1. Where can I get your Financial Services Guide and Adviser Profile?

    • Advisers are legally required to provide you with a Financial Services Guide (FSG) before giving advice. This document outlines a ton of important information. It includes details about the adviser’s qualifications, fees and what sorts of advice they’re able to provide. Further, it also details their complaints process and what to do if you have any concerns during your engagement.
  2. Who can I speak to if I have any questions or concerns during our engagement?

  3. Do you have any current or former clients I could speak with?

    • We always recommend doing reference checks before engaging a financial adviser.
    • Click here for a list of the most important questions you should ask a referee.
  4. What can I expect from here?

In conclusion.

 

When it comes to picking your advice team, it’s worth remembering: it’s a relationship.

Your adviser will be putting their best foot forward. And like any first date, if you don’t click or they can’t be bothered to show up on time, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

For your first meeting, advisers will be happy to meet with you, at no cost. They’ll want to get to know you a bit. They’ll also discuss your needs, goals and expectations.

Likewise, this is your opportunity to get to know them and answer your lingering questions, before signing on the dotted line.

So, use your time wisely. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions and dive into the detail.

And, if you need a hand, contact our team. We’re always happy to help.

Picking a winner.

Speak to the team.