Seeing a Financial Adviser? 10 Considerations

Seeing a Financial Adviser? 10 Considerations

My sister and her husband need Financial Advice.

Although we’ve discussed some broad themes and I’ve helped where I can, ultimately it was right for them to see an adviser at a different firm.

You see my sister lives a couple of hundred miles away and it just isn’t possible for me to provide the regular, face to face service they need.

Furthermore, receiving professional advice is dependent on being able to discuss with your adviser what is for most people, intimate money issues tied to deep-seated personal hopes and fears. 

“Receiving professional advice is dependent on being able to discuss with your adviser what is for most people, intimate money issues tied to deep-seated personal hopes and fears”.

Sometimes it’s better to take advice from someone completely impartial and this is the main reason why in most cases I no longer advise close family and friends. The transition from brother or friend to the advice-giving professional adviser is fraught with conflict and areas of grey.

So, I spoke to an adviser at another firm I know and respect, made an introduction and prepped my sister on what should be considered in order to get the best out the process. Doing this made me think it might be a good idea to put it down in writing for others to refer to in future.

And if you’re reading this because I’ve been recommended to you as a potential adviser, or if you’ve found yourself an adviser (hopefully through a good recommendation) and you are ready to see them soon, you might want to consider the following list to get in right frame of mind for the all-important first meeting.

The Ten Considerations

  1. Make sure the initial meeting is arranged at a time and place that will allow you to feel relaxed, ready to talk and without a significant time restriction. A busy coffee shop or open-plan office meeting during your only free 20 minutes of the day is not conducive to a private conversation or getting to know each other properly.
  2. Do go with your significant other if there is one. Regardless of who is the main income earner, asset holder or decision-maker, household goals are rarely managed individually. And if they are, they probably shouldn’t be. It’s massively important for both members of a relationship to play a part in, and be aware of, shared finances and plans. This is to avoid future disagreement, surprises, blame, controlling behaviour, or no knowledge of the finances should circumstances change in the event of unavailability, illness, death, separation or divorce.
  3. Think about and be able to articulate what you want from your advisory relationship before you go. Discuss this together including your key priorities and a picture of what a good outcome looks like for you. Priorities might not be as cliché as ‘saving for retirement’. They might instead include deeper issues such as ‘removing the fear of not having enough’ or ‘reducing the stress of self-managing finances’. Advisers want to know what’s really bugging you so that they can help.
  4. If you’ve previously had a poor investment or advisory experience, then please let us know what happened. Unpacking this early on will absolutely clear the path to improve your new advisory relationship, financial goals and overall expectations.
  5. For all the media talk of financial ‘salespeople’, my experience of highly recommended, well qualified, business-owning financial planners is a world away from this.  They may be hard to find but good advisers genuinely want to help you succeed and the advisers I know will bend over backwards to prove themselves. It does me absolutely no favours to do you a disservice. If you go to an adviser as a recommendation from an existing client (as most people do) the knock-on effect of negative feedback and bad publicity is business-killing for a business that in the main relies on word of mouth. I have a vested interest in helping you, as well as keeping the client who recommended me happy.
  6. Our service is strictly confidential and to get the full value you must be open and honest. Want to leave your employer and start a business? Tell me. Worried that your grown-up children aren’t responsible enough to inherit? Tell me. Scared that you don’t understand finance and think you’ll look stupid? Tell me. Have a history of spending extravagantly rather than saving? Tell me. A good adviser is a trusted confidant and someone with whom you can bounce ideas and thoughts off to reach a suitable solution. It may take a little time for us to earn that full trust from you, but that’s where the relationship should be heading from the outset.
  7. Please try to put aside any fear of being judged. After 20 years of providing financial advice, I guarantee I’ve seen whatever it is before, and so have most other advisers. Making judgements is really not what we spend our time on.
  8. Don’t expect immediate advice or a quick solution. It might appear to you as though there would be a quick solution but advisers regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have a duty to fully understand what is going on in your life before providing advice. Bad advisers write prescriptions as quickly as possible (through a sale). Good advisers see how thorough they can be in their diagnosis (planning).
  9. I’m here to listen and help you solve your stated priority. But you’ve sought professional advice for a reason. Good advisers aren’t order takers and some advice may go against what you think you need. As a highly qualified adviser, it’s my job to steer you clear of bad decisions. We’ll talk it through with you as best we can but sometimes, you’ll have to accept that not only are there things that you don’t know, but there are also things that you don’t know that you don’t know!
  10. As is customary with many professions, the initial meeting bears you no financial cost or obligation. You can feel comfortable in the knowledge that you will be given the time and space after the meeting to consider whether you would like to take matters further and we will write to you with a summary and quote of our costs should we be willing and able to help. However, the meeting is not ‘free’ and an initial meeting does cost us both something, namely time and opportunity cost.

There are of course other considerations, however, the main principle is that if you have planned to see an adviser, or are already working with one, be prepared to work together openly and collaboratively so that you can get the most value out of the relationship and services over time.

Follow me on Twitter @alexandreriley

Bunker Riley Ltd of 118 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7NW is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England No. 3361930
This site is intended for UK Consumers only.

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