Finding the right financial planner for your needs.

Obtaining quality professional financial advice is a crucial part of achieving your financial and life goals. And with many big decisions – like where to invest, and which products are right for your needs – it is vital to have a professional on call that you can trust to give you top quality advice.

Stanleur says choosing a financial planner means “shopping around and asking the right questions until you find one who can offer you a personal, holistic overview of where you are and where you need to be to achieve your wealth creation goals”.

Here are some of the questions you need to ask when choosing a financial planner:

  1. What qualifications do they have? It is crucial that your financial adviser should have an industry-acknowledged qualification such as the internationally recognised Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) qualification. You should also check whether he or she is licensed with the Financial Services Board (FSB) as a financial services provider or the representative of a provider. This can easily be done online visiting the FSB’s site.
  2. What does their track record look like? Do some research on your future financial planner. Ask them about their background and experience. Also ask for references so that you can verify their professional reputation.
  3. Does s/he meet your requirements? Draw up a list of non-negotiables prior to your first meeting with a potential planner. If you are predominantly looking for advice on certain products such as investments, medical aid cover or estate planning, check if your prospective financial planner specialises in that field and if they have specialists in their practice or company to assist with complex cases.
  4. Is their value proposition clear? What is your financial planner offering to do for you and is it clear how you will pay for it? You are likely to get more value from a financial planner who takes a holistic view of your finances to ensure that your current financial position and your long-term wealth goals align. Ask what other services they can offer you, as well as which financial services provider they present.
  5. How professional are they? You can gauge a financial planner’s professionalism by looking at the set-up of his or her financial planning practice. It’s not the opulence of the office that’s important – it’s the functionality: Is it close to you? Is there a secretary you can leave a message with? Is the planner’s advice backed by a reputable financial services company?
  6. Is their method of communication working for you? Your financial planner needs to operate in a way that suits your lifestyle. If you prefer a digital approach, then choose a planner with digital communication capabilities. Discuss his or her availability, turnaround times and the frequency at which you would like to be updated about your progress towards reaching your financial goals.