10 questions to ask your financial planner

Deciding who to appoint as your financial planner can be understandably difficult. Most people will admit to finding it challenging to understand the investment market. Those that are in the know will admit that it can be difficult to evaluate one adviser against another. Even trying to base a decision on an adviser’s track record is hard, you’ll soon learn past performance can be a lousy way to predict the future.

So we’re making this easier for you offering you the ten most important questions you should ask your next financial adviser. Of course we’re also offering answers to our own questions to provide ten reasons why you should talk to us.

  1. How do you charge for your services, and how much?

Our services are fee based. That ensures our advice is without bias and squarely based on your best interests.

Our initial meeting with you is at our cost, not yours. At this meeting we will discuss what you are expecting from our relationship, your needs, priorities and ambitions. We want to be sure we can help put you in a better financial position as result of our advice.

We will also always let you know the extent of our fees in advance, so no unexpected surprises. Our fees will vary from client to client depending on the scope of our advice, complexity and value we can add for you.

  1. What licenses, credentials or other qualifications do you have?

Mark Butters is a qualified FChFP (Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner). This is an internationally recognised qualification which requires continuing professional development to ensure the adviser continues to upgrade their skills and knowledge in a fast changing environment.  The FChFP requires extensive technical knowledge, assessment and ethics with a strong focus on professional conduct.

  1. What services do you provide?

Simply put, our goal is to help our clients build their wealth. We achieve this by paying close attention to our clients’ needs and then providing advice and developing short, medium and long term strategies tailored to their needs and aspirations.

As part of the financial plan we will develop for clients, we will aim to protect their wealth and income;

And ultimately attain financial security for their lifestyle. We also can help ensuree that suitable estate and succession plans are in place to benefit the people they care for.

We also have strategic alliances with many other professionals such as accountants, stock brokers, general insurance brokers and solicitors. Between us, we take a collaborative approach to fulfilling out clients’ needs.

  1. Can you advise me on my existing financial products?

Yes, we can provide advice on your current products which you may have invested in before meeting us.  We will ask you to provide us with the authority authority to find out the finer details so we can help you decide if those products are appropriate to your needs and plans.

Our clients frequently ask us to provide advice if their current product is appropriate or whether there are alternative products available that may better suit their plans.

  1. Can you offer a wide range of investment alternatives?

With over 430 funds, direct shares, property funds, term deposits, annuities and cash funds at our disposable, we have all the options available to tailor a plan to suit your specific needs.

If you don’t feel comfortable with financial markets and the volatility they sometimes display, we can offer options for guaranteed money for life.

We can even assist if you have a preference for ethical investing, investing only in companies that meet strict sustainable and ethically responsible standards.

  1. What types of clients do you specialise in?

We have clients from 18 years old to 96, although we believe the importance of seeking advice should not depend on age. Our clients’ circumstances include young workers, young families, baby boomers, retirees and all those who fall in between.

We have clients from a wide range of industries including medical professionals, accountants and finance professionals, engineers and IT, business owners and tradespeople.

Most importantly, our clients all have one thing in common; seeking to take the steps to financial freedom.

  1. What is your preferred approach to investment?

Our role is to tailor a plan to suit each individual client with careful regard to their risk profile and life circumstances.

Ultimately, any financial plan requires a trade-off between risk and reward. A higher risk profile will be more volatile, moving significantly with market conditions. Over the long term, riskier investments can be rewarded with better returns. Conversely, a lower risk strategy should produce more consistent and predictable returns year after year.

We take great care to explain the advantages and disadvantages of any particular investment ahead of time. Our aim is to implement financial plans which suit each client’s personal needs.

  1. How much contact do you have with your clients?

The amount of contact may depend on each client’s circumstances and personal preference.  We will discuss and agree on what we think is appropriate for your needs as part of our ongoing service and cost.

We seek to balance the need for regular contact and staying abreast of each client’s personal circumstance without unnecessary over-servicing.

  1. Will I be working with only you or with a team?

Again, this will depend on individual needs.

Mark has had the responsibility of steering clients through global conflict, investment booms and declining markets all the while ensuring they remain on track to meet their goals and lead the life they wish to create!

He is supported by our team of client service providers and administrative support to ensure we can always respond to your specific needs. In turn, our advisers keep our administration team abreast of outstanding requests and provide regular training to ensure they can respond appropriately to our clients’ needs.

Our advisers are available to respond to your requests and, if we are not immediately available, we will always get back to you within 24 hours.

  1. What makes you different from other financial planners?

We have over 300 households in South Australia which turn to Financial Advice Centre for their financial planning needs.

Our clients experience the value of ongoing financial advice, always knowing they have someone in their corner with knowledge and expertise help them take control of their finances.

The use of an advisor has allowed them to become aware of their options, take the emotion out of their money decision making and saving them time sorting out their own finances. After all, true freedom means having more time to spend with treasured family and friends.