It is a very sad fact the Royal Commission into Australia’s financial services sector continues to reveal how customers’ lives have been devastated by financial advice provided by our not-so-loveable big banks.
A large problem is what we call the vertical integration ‘challenge’, whereby advisers may recommend, or preference, their own organisations’ products to clients. It is similar togoing to a Doctor for advice knowing that the pharmaceutical company owns the practice. There is a conflict of interest that may stop you from obtaining the best product and information for your own individual circumstance.
In the hearings,we’ve heard of customers being charged by AMP for financial advice they never actually received, not to mention customers losing their family home after taking advice from Westpac.
It's depressing stuffbut, we’re bringing some much-needed good news.
There are a small, but growing, number of financial planners who provide genuine advice, and genuinely charge fee- for-service so that you know what you are paying for is genuine, non-conflicted advice.
There are enough of these independent, fee-for-service financial planners to confidently say that the leadership of the industry is wrong. It’s time to continue to pushthe movement where the focus is solely on genuine advice and, putting customers first.

So, what are our top tips to protect yourself when investing?
• Ensure your adviser is licensed to provide advice (check with ASIC) and has the appropriate qualifications to do so. For example, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) has gone well beyond the current minimum standards required to provide advice. Do your research, and be aware.
• Ask who owns the business, and for full disclosure of any relationships the adviser has with other financial institutions. This will put you in a better position when understanding why you are being advised to invest in a certain product. It’s then up to you to make the right choice for your circumstances.
• Ask how much the advice will cost and how the adviser charges for it – Is it a one-off fee?Is the fee ongoing? Or will the fee be time, asset or commission based? Be sure that when you do receive the advice, all the fees are clearly stated (Note that annual Fee Disclosure Statements must be provided to all retail clients who are receiving ongoing advice).
• Find out if they have an investment philosophy, what investment products they can recommend, and how the investments are monitored. This will provide you with a direct insight into their experience, and if there is a pattern in the products they are offering.
• Above all, read the advice, make sure you understand it and, ask for clarification on any parts you don’t. It’s your (and your family’s) future you’re dealing with. Don’t risk it!
We are working with Partners in Planning whofocus on tailoring strategies to clients’ overall financial needs, rather than focusing on a particular product type.
Why not speak to us,or the team at Partners In Planning, regarding your own investments?
Partners In Planning are privately owned, not tied to any financial institution, do not accept investment or superannuation commissions, and always put your interests first.

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This article is published by Paul sharing information regarding Financial Planner Melbourne.