10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Adviser


  1. What, specifically, are the services I will receive?
    • Do they offer a comprehensive financial planning service including some form of lifetime cashflow forcasting?
    • What is the process for reviews and how frequent are they?
    • Who will carry out the reviews and how will the advice be delivered (eg. face to face/written report/etc.?)
  2. What qualifications & professional memberships do you hold?
    • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is the preferred qualification of many leading financial planning professionals. There mandatory qualifications for well established jurisdictions but your financial planner should be above this standard ideally with CFP
    • What professional memberships do you hold?
  3. What is your previous experience?
    • How long have they been in financial services?
    • Who were their previous employers?
  4. Is your business able to offer independent advice?
    • If not, what are the restrictions on your advice? Do you haver to offer a certain product or company?
  5. What does your typical client look like?
    • Can they give you examples of existing clients who are in a similar situation to you?
    • Are you able to obtain references?
  6. Do you have a clear investment process?
    • Is this documented & can you obtain a copy? 
    • Does it look at all risks? is it based on liquid ETF's or commission paying funds?
  7. What will I pay?
    • How are fees calculated (eg. time-cost/fixed fee/percentage of assets invested)?
    • Does the fee structure incentivise the sale of a product (eg. only apply if you buy something), or are you paying for truly unbiased advice?
    • Do you take fees from funds i.e. Darwin, Mansion etc
  8. How are you remunerated?
    • Does the business receive any other form of income, other than from your fees (eg. commission on previous products)?
    • Is the adviser a business owner/partner, employee or self-employed?
    • Are you comfortable that they are rewarded by delivering value to you, rather than by other incentives (eg. sales targets)?
  9. What makes you different?
    • What is the business’ unique selling point and is this what you are looking for?
  10. And finally (a question for yourself): Can I work with this person?
    • Do they explain things in terms you can understand?
    • Are they genuinely interested in your objectives and concerns, or just ‘going through the motions’?
    • Would you trust them to look after you widow/widower/dependants?
    • Could you become professional friends?