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Choosing a Financial Advisor – Tips On What To Research

It is important to answer this question first: Does one need a financial advisor in Newcastle in order to organise and plan finances?

The answer is the same as for these questions: Does one need a doctor to manage her health? … or Does one need an architect to build a house?

Well, we can always DIY. However, as bright, well-informed, and handy as we may be, it is always wise to consult with professionals. Especially when we are considering important things, like building a house, taking care of health, or your finances. Working with a pro will save time and money so that you can focus on what really matters.

Financial advice is beneficial both to businesses as well as to individuals.

Who can help me with my financial planning? How do I find a finance broker?

Having concluded that it is wise to use a financial adviser we come to the following questions: Are there any such around? How to choose one?

Sure there are. Here are a few tips, which will help you find the best financial support in town:

1.   Determine what sort of financial advice you need.

Financial advisers specialise in different things (just comes to show that they may not be as easy as they may seem). Some specialise in financial planning. These help people or businesses organise their finances to meet long-term goals – opening a new office, tuition of the kids, or retirement.

Others are finance brokers. These will help you arrange for a loan, suggest appropriate insurance cover, and prepare all the paperwork to mortgage your house. Then some focus on bookkeeping, accounting, and tax advice. These will keep your records in order, prepare all financial reports and provide taxation advice. Consider your needs and then move to the next tip.

2.   International, national or local

There are some financial adviser-giants with offices across the globe. Some call them “The big 4” – KPMG, PWC, Deloitte, and E&Y. These are great if you are a superstar, have an international business, or are a public company.

Some are national and focus only on Australia. They will have their HO in Sydney or Melbourne. Most of the leading national financial advisers will be associated with banks (like “Morgan Stanley Wealth Management” or “Macquarie Private Bank”). While these may be great for large corporations, there is a catch with their bias. If you work with a financial adviser from a bank, you will most likely have only the option of using the financial services of this financial institution.

If you have a small business or are seeking financial advice or bookkeeping as an individual it is best to find a local non-bank financial adviser – say a financial advisor or financial planner in Newcastle. They will be more able to know you, understand your needs, and without bias fish around for the best financial options for you.

3.   Can anybody give financial advice?

Technically – yes, they can. You cannot stop people from providing their views on anything – cricket, surfing, and yes …, finance. Is everybody competent to render financial advice? Definitely not. So how do we find the right financial advisor? How would we know if she is competent enough?

Fortunately, there is a government entity that helps. When you seek expert financial advice, you have to find a professional financial advisor. To facilitate ozzies, the ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission) takes care of just that. It licenses persons or companies which will provide financial advice. The license ascertains that the person holding it is competent to deliver financial advice (it protects us in this way).

4.   Check the credentials

Actually, almost all forms of financial advisors need to have the respective certification. This usually comes in three or four-letter abbreviations. Depending on the financial support you need you may examine the credentials of your financial adviser. Certification may be received abroad, however, it is reasonable to have a locally accepted one.

The ASIC is the body responsible for most of these and is also where one can explore the Financial Adviser Register. An AFS (Australian Financial Services) license is a reasonable starting point. This is a certification for competence to render financial advice.

ChFC stands for Chartered Financial Consultant is a more general certification. Financial planners should have FPA (Financial Planning Association of Australia) certification – CFP (Certified Financial Planner). Bookkeepers and accountants will have a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) certificate. Investment advisers may have a CIMA (Certified Investment Management Analyst).

Should you be needing more retirement-focused advice, you may opt for a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor or CRPC. The various credentials suggest extended specialised tuition, specific exams, and adherence to high professional standards as well as yearly professional upgrades. All of these are nice to have in your financial adviser.

Ask a friend

Surely you have many friends and relatives. Consider the ones, who are doing relatively well financially. Ask them if they have a financial adviser. If they do, inquire about details. If they are satisfied with the service, you may be the next client of the financial adviser.

Find one

If there are no references from friends and relatives, you will have to do the hard work yourself. Google “financial advisor in Charlestown Australia” if you live in Charlestown and you will have a list of these (you may use the “O” version of “advisor”, as Google is yet not privy of the difference).

Another way is to visit the Financial Services Register (which we mentioned above). Within the Register, you may search by postal code in order to find your local financial adviser. Entering the code will generate all financial advisers in your area. Should they be more than one – meet with all, compare conditions, and choose the best one for your particular case.

Yet another source of information on professional financial advisers is their association – AFA (The Association of Financial Advisers). Ask them for a reference on an adviser in your area.

Whichever way you search, you will find one. Now meet and discuss future collaboration. You are now on your way to financial success.


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