Choosing a financial or wealth planner can feel overwhelming and for good reason – you generally give them access to all of your financial information and may even allow them control over some of your accounts. It’s a relationship in which you are asked to invest a huge amount of trust. So how do you go about choosing one? After all, qualifications and credentials are only one element.
It’s important to ask a prospective financial planner about their values. Are they a large company with offices all over the UK, or are they a family-run or independent business? This can tell you a lot about the kind of service you might expect. For example, is it most important to you that you can contact the organisation 24 hours a day, or is a local, face-to-face approach your priority?
After you’ve inquired about their values, consider what demographic makes up the majority of their clients. If they tend to work with single people in senior management roles, but you own a family-run small to medium business, you might want to look elsewhere. Again, if they work primarily with those in retirement, whilst you are looking for help planning your child’s university fees, they may not be the best fit for you. Look for a planner with expertise in your particular field – someone who works with people like you every day.
Conflict of interest
Many financial or wealth planners earn a commission from selling products or from siphoning your money into specific investment pots. This presents a serious conflict of interest that should never be overlooked. However, a fiduciary is not linked to other financial services in a way that benefits them; they act solely in your best interest. Check with any potential financial advisor that their advice is independent and ask for a copy of their code of conduct.
Whilst price is important, it shouldn’t always be a deal-breaker. A great financial planner won’t be cheap, but they also won’t charge extortionate rates. Fair pricing is important, as is fee transparency. Some advisors charge a fee based on the total value of assets under their management, whilst others charge a flat-rate fee. A trustworthy financial planner will be upfront about costs and will make you feel comfortable asking in-depth questions regarding their fee structure.
When choosing a financial or wealth planner, remember that it’s a relationship that will have a long term impact on your money. Do not rush your decision. It’s important that you feel comfortable with – and confident in – your advisor, that they understand your risk tolerance level, have similar investment objectives and services that match your needs. A good financial or wealth planner will be as careful in choosing their clients as you are in choosing them!
Are you looking for lifetime wealth planning? At Wells Gibson we make it easier for client families to visualise and achieve the life that’s important to them. We put your life at the centre of our conversations and will design and create a wealth plan that meets your expectations. Schedule a free exploration call with us today.