Since Ancient Roman times, the wealthy hired financial advisers to manage their wealth. This trend has yet to change in present times. Now however, with rapidly increasing options to choose from; picking a good financial adviser and more importantly the right one for you has become the real challenge.
Never take this decision lightly.
Choosing the wrong financial adviser for you could negatively impact your wealth growth, potentially changing your whole retirement outlook or wealth objectives in the long term.
Therefore we'll discuss three of the most important steps to take before choosing your financial adviser.
1. Are they right for you?
The most important criteria when choosing a good financial adviser is ensuring that they are the right one for you.
One of the most common mistakes investors make is choosing a financial adviser based on a family or close friend referral. In this scenario you have not considered whether the financial adviser truly aligns with you!
Simply because the financial adviser worked well for your close friend does not mean they are guaranteed to work well for you. Naturally you should ask your friends and family for their reviews, if you are choosing the same financial adviser.
But when you make the final decision - this needs to be all about you.
To check whether the financial adviser is right for you, start by asking yourself.
- What's the core reason you want to change your financial adviser? I.e. What problem are you trying to solve?
- Have you been unhappy with your performance, or did something specific disappoint you in your previous financial adviser?
- Then what type of relationship you would like with your new financial adviser?
Finally consider your financial goals: do you have specific expectations for your financial adviser? For instance, are you only focused on high returns, or do you care more about the breadth of service they can provide?
Now hopefully you'll have a clear understanding of:
- Why you are changing
- What type of financial adviser you want
- And the financial goal driving this
2. What value are you getting?
When you find a financial adviser that you think matches well, you must always consider what value you will gain from them specifically.
Compare their services, investment policies, benchmarks etc. with many others. If you see several financial advisers offering the same cookie cutter portfolio options - stay away. Remember, never be sold a service, you must be the buyer.
Even if you have specific financial goals now, make sure that you compare the breadth of services the financial adviser’s firm provides. This is the long-term value in the relationship.
In twenty or thirty years, it is very likely your wealth goals will have shifted as your wealth grew – you want your financial adviser to be able to accommodate for this.
You should also question what your value is to the financial adviser.
What type of clients do they usually take on? You want to be close to their ideal client as it means you fall perfectly into their expertise. However you do not want to be below their minimum thresholds as you may find yourself de-prioritised.
Lastly, don’t focus on price, focus on value. What exactly will you receive for what you pay and how are the costs taken?
Is the financial adviser being completely transparent with you – if not this may remove trust from the relationship. Cheaper is not always better, and if performance is most important to you, it may be worth the higher price.
3. Have you done your due diligence?
Due diligence is all about taking the time to do your homework. It may take a lot of effort but it is worth it in the long run.
Search for reviews on the financial adviser, third party verifications online, and even ask around for genuine experiences. Have they won any awards that showcase how good they are? Are they skilled or just lucky? Make sure you ask the right questions.
Often if it’s too good to be true it usually is; some financial advisers are better at marketing than managing, make sure you are not misled.
Equally if you keep seeing a certain financial adviser advertising everywhere, ask yourself why. Most successful adviser do not need to advertise themselves, the good ones attract clients from their reputation.
Ultimately choosing a financial adviser is an extremely important decision. You must always keep in mind that this is a long-term relationship you want to build. Thus you must pick someone that you believe will be there for you throughout the years.
If you are interested in researching this topic further, start with this great infographic by Raconteur on ‘How to Pick a Wealth Manager in 2020.’
VouchedFor, the site where people review financial advisers, has also recently released its 2020 Guide to the UK’s Top-Rated Financial Advisers. They also have a very useful blog (click here) which identifies questions you should be asking when selecting your adviser.
Moreover, many advisers will be happy to offer an initial free consultation, which gives you a chance to ensure you are happy to have a continuing relationship. And most are set up to offer advice remotely – via video or telephone call – during the coronavirus pandemic.
How ARQ can help you
ARQ rose against a background of hearing consistent stories of malpractice in the Wealth Management Industry. The industry was being painted with the same brush and the distinguished, higher achieving firm's reputations were being tarnished by those firms that were not looking after their clients in an ethical manner. We have created a service that rewards both the most successful wealth management firms and their clients, aligning their interests.
We do this by simply empowering clients with an investment performance analytics tool that can monitor investments and benchmark performance in a single app. Our key advantage is its independence, together with its transparency, simplicity and intelligence.
ARQ resides as a bond between clients and their financial advisers, leveraging technology to better their interactions. The landscape in wealth management is rapidly changing with clients demanding a digital solution.
Welcome to the "New Normal".