Should I see a financial adviser?

Financial advisers are professional experts who can help you choose a super fund, understand your investment profile and tailor your insurance protection.

Financial planning is a range of professional services that spans helping you understand your superannuation savings and investment goals and showing you how you can build and protect your wealth. It can also help you set up the right financial structures and show you how to develop good financial habits to position you for the future.

Almost all super funds offer financial planning, which they deliver either in person using people known as financial advisers, or in print, online or over the phone.

For people who need superannuation advice they can help you by providing independent counsel on what investment choices you should make, whether you should use a low cost fund, a platform or when it is appropriate to set up a self-managed super fund (SMSF).

To help you achieve your superannuation goals your financial adviser will work in partnership with you to assess your financial situation, help you determine your objectives and formulate the best financial strategies.

The range of topics financial advisers provide advice on include:

  • wealth accumulation
  • asset allocation
  • investment strategies
  • investment selection
  • investment administration
  • superannuation
  • investment gearing
  • taxation planning
  • retirement planning
  • redundancy planning
  • social security
  • estate planning
  • salary packaging
  • insurance
  • mortgages
  • stock broking
Robo-adivce

Robo-advice is streamlined automated financial advice delivered online through a website or smart device app. Robo-advice usually covers how to identify your investment profile and design a simple asset allocation strategy. It may also cover allocating you into exchange traded funds with which the company that runs the robo-advice website has an association.

Financial advice and super funds

In this guide we have described how you can navigate all the factors to consider when choosing super funds, and questions you need to ask. We have also explained how you can access super funds, how you should compare them, and how to monitor your investment performance, insurance and fees.

While this information has been tailored for people who are comfortable doing their own research and making their own decisions and investment choices, not everyone is ready to do this by themselves. This  is why many fund members, including those who are highly experienced, will have a relationship with a financial adviser, even if it just to get a second opinion.

SelectAdviser

To find a financial adviser near you, visit www.selectadviser.com.au. This website is run by Rainmaker Information, the publisher of The Good Super Guide. It will help you find financial advisers in your area and it will display the adviser's professional profile, including their expertise and qualifications.

Key points

Financial advisers are professional experts who will design a financial plan for you.
They are experts in investments, super, insurance and managing your taxation.
www.selectadviser.com.au is a good website that will help you find a reputable financial adviser with the right qualifications.

Choosing the right financial adviser

When choosing a financial adviser, make sure you find one who has all the

necessary skills and qualifications, and who is part of a reputable advisory

organisation committed to serving their clients' long-term needs. When

considering which financial adviser to consult with, you should check:

  • Are they a member of a relevant professional association? Members must abide by its code of ethics and rules of professional conduct. Are they registered with the ASIC Financial Advice Register? Do they have an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL)? Are they an authorised representative of an AFS Licensee? If they aren't then they aren't allowed to recommend investment products and you should not trust them.

  • Their financial services guide (FSG), which is a like a product disclosure statement for financial advisers. While it is not compulsory for financial advisers to have this on their website, good ones will and the FSG will be easy to find and will contain all the information you need to understand who they represent, how they get paid, the services they provide and which companies they are associated with (this will help you spot any potential conflicts of interest).

  • If they are properly qualified, a financial adviser may be a:

    • - Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
    • - Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner (FChFP)
    • - Associate Chartered Financial Practitioner (AChFP)
    • - Chartered Life Practitioner (ChLP)
    • - holder of a Diploma in Financial Planning

      Alternatively, if an adviser is part of an accounting firm, they may be a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) or a Chartered Accountant (CA).

How does your financial adviser get paid?

A good financial adviser will explain to you how they are paid, which may be directly by you or via payments they receive from your super fund. If the adviser wants you to pay them directly, this is called fee for service.

Most financial advisers will charge you a fee based on how much you invest through them. These fees can be a few hundred dollars, up to 1% of your investments or several thousand dollars should you ask them to design a customised financial plan for you. Note that these costs are in addition to your regular super fund fees.

Financial services guide (FSG)

A financial services guide is a like a product disclosure statement for financial advisers. It describes who an adviser represents, how they get paid, the services they provide and which companies they are associated with. Good advisers will have their FSG on full display on the website.

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When comparing super funds and considering what is right for you, look for funds displaying the AAA Quality Assessment and Rainmaker SelectingSuper Award logos.

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