Once you have chosen a financial adviser you would like to work with, it’s nice to know what to expect at your meetings with them. If you are still yet to choose a financial adviser, please refer to our guide, How to Find a Financial Adviser.

What happens at a first meeting?

Before you meet, your adviser will typically ask for financial information, such as assets, debts, income and expenses. They will ask your age, marital status and employment status. You will also complete a risk questionnaire to discover how much risk you can cope with.

Once your adviser has this knowledge, they will talk through your goals with you and what you’d like them to help you with. You can then agree on the scope of advice they’ll provide, costs and how often they’ll be in touch with you.

When you have agreed that your adviser will prepare advice for you, they will go away and produce a Statement of Advice (SOA). This is a large and detailed legislated document that must contain:

  • Your current situation (an accurate record of assets, debts, income, expenses, age, marital status, etc)
  • Your financial goals
  • The risk you are comfortable with in pursuit of your goals
  • The scope of the advice
  • How their recommendations and any recommended products meet your personal situation, goals, risk tolerance, and timeline
  • How any recommended products will be managed
  • The pros and cons of taking their advice
  • All the fees you will pay, when you will pay them and who you will pay them to.
  • How to end your relationship with your financial adviser.

What happens at your next meeting?

When you meet with your financial adviser the next time, they will go through the SOA with you and make sure you understand what they are recommending for you.

If you aren’t sure what they are recommending, ask questions. Don’t sign the document to proceed until you are comfortable with the recommendations. You may wish to bring someone else to the meeting with you and/or you may wish to take the document away with you to think about.

At this time, you may choose to:

  • Proceed with all of the recommendations
  • Proceed with some of the recommendations
  • Proceed with none of them

If you aren’t sure

You must understand any permissions and authority you are giving your financial adviser. If you aren’t sure, ask questions until you understand. The Government’s Moneysmart website recommends that you never sign a blank document and do not give your financial adviser a power of attorney. You can read other tips on how to protect your money when working with a financial adviser on the MoneySmart website

What happens after a meeting?

You will receive a copy of the SOA for your records.

Once you have signed to commence some or all of the plan, your financial adviser will start putting the plan in place in line with the timeframes they have included in the SOA.

Will you meet again?

Depending on the advice that they have given, your financial adviser may contact you periodically to arrange to meet with you again and ensure your plan is still appropriate for you. This is the case where you have agreed to pay ongoing service fees.

Alternatively, they may email or post you periodic updates so you can see how things are tracking for you.

If it’s a single-issue that you discussed with them, there may be no need for ongoing contact with them and, instead, you can reach out to them again only when you need help with another issue in the future.

What if you aren’t happy?

If there is any aspect of the process that you aren’t happy with, speak to your financial adviser in the first instance.

They may have a manager or the business they are in may have a practice supervisor you can speak with.

If you aren’t happy with the response you receive from your adviser or their business/manager, you can lodge a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). They have details on how to contact them and the complaints process on their website.

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