A recent conversation in a social environment has inspired me to write this post. I was explaining what my business does, i.e., helping financial advisers with their marketing, when someone asked me, “How do I know if a Financial Adviser can be trusted, aren’t they a bit shonky?” Taking a deep breath, I explained how someone knows if they can trust a financial adviser or not. Some of the points I shared are below. Do you agree, disagree? Do you demonstrate these points in your marketing?
1. Think about what you want out of a financial adviser. Why are you seeking advice? Is it to reduce your debt? Prepare for retirement? Start investing for the future? By working out what you want from a financial adviser, you’ll be able to search on the Internet easier and ask for recommendations from others too. Not all financial advisers are the same. Some have a proven track record with a particular type of person, check out who their clients are and see if you relate to them.
2. Ask the financial adviser what their investment philosophy is. There is a lot of misconception out there that financial advisers are purely product sellers; they aren’t. Give the adviser the opportunity to explain what their philosophy is, that way you will be able to hear how switched on they are and what their opinions about the financial markets are.
3. Ask the financial adviser how they remain educated and abreast of all the changes. Ideally, you want to work with someone who is keen to continue their education, has the right qualifications and loves to keep on learning. At the end of the day, that’s what you are paying them for so that you don’t have to do it!
4. Ask for the proof. If the financial adviser says they have helped people like you, ask them for some testimonials from other clients or even to talk to one of their clients. Check them out online too. Enter their name into Google and see what comes up. Some people even go as far as checking with ASIC.
5. Ask the financial adviser about their process and when you would hear from them. Trust takes time to build so you want to make sure that you have the opportunity to ask questions, hear from them either online or offline.
6. Ask about the fees. If you can’t see anything about the fees from their website, ask them what they are. Financial advisers get paid in different ways; you want to make sure everything is transparent, and you totally understand.
7. Ask the financial adviser about the business. Most people will say that they chose their financial adviser because it ‘felt right.’ Ask them who owns the business, how many staff do they have, why was the business started, etc. Ask enough questions that you understand the business too.
All of these points gave the person who asked me the question food for thought. I wasn’t going to let the conversation stop until I knew that they knew financial advisers could be trusted! It’s an interesting question, though. How does your marketing show a potential client and business partner that you can be trusted?