Ideally, our financial adviser isn’t just a salesperson whom we approach just to buy insurance or investment products from.
All financial advisers are not the same, and each of them would have their own level of professional knowledge, perspectives on money, personal life experiences, and personality – all of which can affect how much you’re willing to share with them and the quality and clarity of advice you’ll receive.
Like making friends or looking for a good business partner, finding the right financial adviser for you can be challenging. In this article, we offer some tips to help you choose the most suitable adviser for yourself.
#1 Identify What Are Your Goals And Needs
Different people have different needs and goals in life, which affects the amount and type of insurance cover you may need. A product might be good for someone, but not appropriate for you. Thus, it is important to first reflect and identify your needs and requirements in this area.
Do you need a financial adviser with expertise in a specific area, such as debt management, estate planning, tax advisory, or retirement planning? By identifying your needs and goals, you can narrow down your potential shortlist.
#2 Get Recommendations From People You Know And Trust
After identifying your goals, you can start asking around for recommendations.
While you can ask your family, friends or even colleagues for contacts, it would be beneficial if you get recommendations you personally know and trust, and who shares a similar outlook, financial outlook, or even risk profile as you.
#3 Look For Any Red Flags Online
This is a good time to check if they are registered in the Monetary Authority of Singapore Register of Financial Representatives, what services they are licensed to advise on, and whether have ever faced professional disciplinary action.
Beyond the official MAS registry, some financial advisers have LinkedIn pages or blogs, which can give you a better idea of their approach to financial advisory.
#4 Set Aside Time For An Appointment
Once you have decided on your choice, you can then contact them to set up an appointment with them. This would be a good opportunity to get acquainted with the adviser and determine if he/she is a right fit for your needs.
Take the opportunity to ask what approaches they will be using when they meet and evaluate new clients, and get them to explain the concept to you. By understanding the approaches they take when handling clients, you will have an idea if they will take on a fiduciary role and put your interests first.
Some advisers charge a flat fee or hourly rate for their services. Others get commissions from the different products they offer to you. A few may charge a percentage of the assets under their management, or get compensated by a combination of these methods. Understand and be comfortable with the compensation arrangement.
Also, observe their mannerisms and look out for any red flags, such as pushing a particular product to you without evaluating your background and needs.
#5 Follow Your Gut Feelings
Besides following fiduciary standards and putting your interests at heart, a good financial adviser should be able to build a rapport with you. An adviser should be someone who makes you feel comfortable to share your aspirations, concerns and financial information over a long time.
Therefore, your gut feelings are also important when choosing an adviser.
Just like a matrimonial arrangement, getting a right financial advisor that suits you requires legwork, diligence, and (perhaps) affinity. But the efforts will be worthwhile, we promise.
If you have any questions related to insurance, feel free to post them on the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group, which fosters honest and transparent insurance-related discussion in Singapore.