How to choose a financial advisor
Crucial to your success, paramount to your failure
Above all else, your financial advisor needs to put your best interests first. When looking for this attribute, it is essential to look for advisors with independence.
Independent financial advisors are not tied to one financial institution or investment product. You might see safety in an advisor from a big bank, but they are not independent. In most cases, they are forced to recommend investments from that institution. No bank has the best-in-class fund in every asset, so you are often left with underperforming funds and over-exposed to one fund family.
Independence also means the advisor is not heavily incentivised, usually through commission, to recommend one product over another. Make sure that you know how your advisor is being paid and that they are making recommendations for the right reasons.
Make sure you understand everything
Your advisor must be able to explain everything to you with complete transparency. Their recommendations must be the result of what you want, not what they want. You need to be aware of all of the costs and commitments connected to what you are doing and these need to be presented to you, not dragged out of the advisor. If your advisor tries to commit you to something very restrictive or recommends strange investments that are not driven by the financial markets, then be aware.
Talk to an advisor
Style of advice
Make sure you have confidence in them
Initially, your advisor needs to give you confidence in their abilities by explaining and demonstrating to you that they are experienced and can deliver on what they say.
Once this stage has been reached all of the talking should be done by you. Lead your advisor down the trail where you want to go, rather than your advisor leading you down a path they want you to go. It is their job to help you achieve your goals.
You need to have trust in the advice you receive. Imagine trying to advise your doctor on their diagnosis after you have given them all of the information they need; this situation is no different. If you believe they have made a mistake then walk away and question what went wrong in the whole process.
Bad news travels fast
Make sure you do your research. If you read negative stories online proceed carefully. People usually only spread bad news. Good service makes you smile, you don’t necessarily write about it online.
The foundation of any successful relationship
You must trust the person and company you are working with. Decisions about your investments will be some of the most important in your life and this could be the start of a lifelong relationship.
Can we work together?
For the past 15 years I have helped expats in Asia successful save for their future. All of my client relationships started with a simple conversation about what they wanted to achieve. Get in contact with me today to start yours!