Choosing a expert financial planner can be a tricky process for both personal and financial reasons. Sometimes, it seems impossible to know whether a financial planner is vested in your interests first, or are putting their own or another’s needs before yours. That is why choosing an independent financial planner is the way to go in ensuring your requirements are being heard.
So what does it mean to be an independent financial planner ? Independents advisors practice without incentive and conflicts from providers and manufacturers of financial products. Of the practicing financial planners throughout Australia, 85 per cent of them are associated with a product manufacturer, meaning they are paid commission or asset fees.
For instance, while it may seem convenient to subscribe to a financial planner at your local bank branch, you can be sure that they will be pushing their financial products, or ones with associated finance brands. In a sense, financial planners practicing this way become an extended “sales force for financial product manufacturers” as described by the Australian Securities Commission (ASIC); or a “product pipeline”. These commissions and product affiliations have a risk of becoming conflicts of interests, and hence distort the quality of advice you may receive from them.
That is why for equitable financial advice in Melbourne – be it in retirement planning, self-managed superannuation, debt management or risk insurance – you should consult an independent financial planner. That way, you can ensure that the financial advice you receive is based on a wider selection of financial products – and that recommendations are tailored to your needs and your needs only.
In Melbourne, there are a number of financial planning and wealth management firms that operate independently from product manufacturers and retailers. If you are looking for individual wealth management consultants, there is a register for independents with the Independent Financial Advisers Association of Australia (IFAAA). However, there are also larger boutique financial advisory firms in Melbourne with a wealth of knowledge, experience and resources for all of the financial products available on the market. So do your homework and research and be prepared to ask a lot of questions when interviewing a potential wealth advisor.