Choosing an independent financial adviser in Melbourne

23423234While you can find financial planners and advisers at your local bank branch easily, do you know the quality of the advice you are receiving? Perhaps not, as you are the one seeking their expert advice! But there are considerations you can make when selecting a wealth management adviser. For one, are they independent from financial product manufacturers? Choosing an independent financial adviser in Melbourne may seem like a choice that is hard to back at first. But if you understand how financial consultants have operated from the early beginnings of the profession, you may reconsider your perception.

Why choose an independent financial adviser?

Financial advisers have had a history of operating as extensions of a financial product manufacture’s sales force. And while the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have various policies to mitigate biased behaviour, it is inherent for financial planners of a particular bank brand, for instance, to only offer products from the range they have created or from affiliated brands. Hence, dealing with an independent financial adviser in Melbourne will allow you to consider a wider range of financial products from a variety of suppliers and manufacturers.

Checking the registration of an independent financial adviser

Other than being independent of commission schemes from financial product manufacturers, you can also consider whether a potential wealth management consultant is registered with relevant industry bodies. For independent financial advisers in Melbourne, you can check the Independent Financial Advisers Association of Australia’s (IFAAA) database. You can also look at other professional bodies such as the Financial Planning Association and the Association of Financial Advisers, and ASIC’s registry as well.

Obtain a financial services guide (FSG)

Compliant financial advisers will have a financial services guide (FSG) available to you on request which outlines what services they offer, how they charge and their additional benefits they may receive, ownership of the company the adviser works for, links to product providers and their licence number.

Check the adviser’s qualifications and experience

An adviser who goes beyond the minimal requirements to practice financial planning is more likely to go the extra mile in providing articulate advice for you as well. A consultant’s willingness to keep him or herself updated with ongoing professional development and membership with an industry association membership are also indicators of their service. Also ask a potential financial adviser about their typical clients in Melbourne and see whether they have the capacity and expertise to work with similar circumstances with yours. This also means questioning what financial products the consultant has experience with in Melbourne and see if it is what you are interested in as well.

Investing time into choosing an independent financial adviser is not a wasted effort, as it can greatly impact your financial planning and strategy in the future. So be diligent, do your research and be prepared to ask your potential  financial adviser lots of questions.