With opinion polls showing that trust in our politicians is at its lowest point since 1969, it is not surprising that we have also become less trusting of other public institutions. Long-term abuse of children by some religious institutions has been laid bare and politicians with a skewed view of their entitlements have been publicly embarrassed.
Are Our Business Worlds Still Trustworthy?
It does not end there, as our biggest banks have just been called on to remove unfair loan provisions that are costing people their homes and businesses, even though they have not defaulted on their payments. Is it any wonder then that people who need a financial advisor to help them manage their assets do not know whom they should trust?
Trust is Earned through Service to Clients
We understand these concerns, as they are the same ones that our clients have expressed to us many times. Our accounting firm, Charter Partners, has been providing our business clients with accounting, taxation, audit and other related services for many years. During this time, we have demonstrated our values of excellence, quality and service, and in the process, established a bond of trust between our clients and ourselves.
Personal Recommendations a Good Place to Start
As a result, many of our clients ask us the best way to find a financial advisor they can trust. ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission) has a few tips on their website, starting with word-of-mouth. Canvassing family, friends, work colleagues, your accountant or lawyer for their experiences and recommendations is a place to start building your short list.
Professional Memberships a Positive Sign
As in any industry, there are also professional associations that hold their members to a code of conduct, and provide regular training to keep them up to date with market and legislative changes. The Financial Planning Association and the Association of Financial Advisers are two such organisations mentioned on the ASIC website.
Don’t Take Anything for Granted – Check and Double Check
The ASIC website also has a public register of financial advisors. They suggest that you check this register for the history, qualifications and current employment status of all the names on your short list of financial advisors. They also recommend that you check the FSG (financial services guide) of those you are considering, to see if the services they offer are compatible with your financial goals. This guide also provides information about their charges, ownership and affiliations.
All this can be a lengthy process, and you may still not be entirely sure that you have made the right choice. We are not licensed to provide financial planning advice but our clients trust our industry knowledge enough to include our suggestions on their short lists.