How do you find an adviser?

There are a few ways to find an adviser who suits you:

Do your research

If someone recommends a financial adviser to you, check if they’re registered for the required Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) using the Financial Advisers register on the moneysmart.gov.au webpage. This register also shows the services the adviser can provide, and more information about them.

It may take a bit of research to find the right financial adviser for you. You need to trust and feel comfortable with them, as well as being sure that they hold an AFSL licence and that they act professionally and appropriately.

What will it cost?

Canstar says that the cost to set up a financial plan is around $3,300 (based on 2020 data). Money Magazine says that between $4,000 and $12,000 is a reasonable expectation for creation of a plan, depending on how complex your situation is. There may then be ongoing fees each year too.

Typically, your first meeting with an adviser is free. It’s to get to know you and discuss what you’re looking for. You will also get an idea of whether they are a good fit for you.

Your financial adviser must tell you upfront about fees and costs. Their schedule of fees is usually included in their Financial Services Guide (FSG) (which they also need to give you).

They must let you know of any cost before they start doing that work for you. For example, you need to know the cost of preparing a financial plan before they prepare the plan.

There are a range of fees they may charge for their work, including the cost of preparing a Statement of Advice (SOA), cost of implementing your financial plan, review fees, an hourly charge, ongoing service costs, and a fixed fee for service.

You may also be charged percentage fees (eg. you will pay a percentage on your assets that they are dealing with), depending on the investment(s) that your assets are in.

Commissions

Your financial adviser isn’t allowed to charge commissions on super or investments. They may charge a commission on any life insurance you purchase through them.

Make sure you check that the fees they charge are what you’ve agreed. If your adviser has included anything you aren’t sure about, check with them. If you aren’t happy with their response, you can lodge a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

Paying for advice from super

You may be able to pay for the advice from your superannuation account. Please speak to us if you wish to do this. There is a form that you and your adviser will need to complete, which is available on our website.

How complex is financial advice?

Depending on what you want advice on, you may receive single-issue advice or comprehensive advice.

  • Single-issue advice is where your adviser will provide you with advice on a single topic. This could be something like choosing the right investment option in super, or making sure you have the right Death and Total and Permanent Disablement insurance cover. Our Helpline provides single-issue advice on these topics at no cost to members.
  • Comprehensive advice is where the financial adviser will prepare a plan covering a number of your financial goals. It could include superannuation, investment, insurance, estate planning and more.

Before you meet with your adviser, think about what you want their help with. It could be retirement planning, making the most of where you have now, investment choice in your super, building wealth, life insurance, estate planning or more. Being clear about this with will help you get the most out of your relationship with them.

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