There is a vast amount of work that goes into creating a tailored financial plan.
A large amount of work and expertise is deployed when deciding on the right investments to meet a client’s financial goals.
Responsible financial advisers, work closely with their client’s in a proactive manner.
Read our latest blog to understand what to expect at different stages from a relationship with an independent financial adviser.
Before reading on here is a quick break down of the role of a financial adviser:
- Financial advisers have a range of responsibilities to their clients. The role of a financial adviser covers way more than simply understanding what you have to invest and selecting funds and assets classes to apportion your money to.
- There can be a substantial difference between a financial adviser and an independent financial adviser.
- Experienced financial advisers use their knowledge, experience and expertise to research and recommend tailored financial plans that aim to achieve your financial goals
- These plans aren’t limited to investments. They will also cover savings such as ISAs, financial budgeting, insurance, personal / business protection policies and tax strategies (estate planning and IHT to name a couple)
- Responsible financial advisers manage client relationships effectively. This isn’t a plug-and play service where they invest your money once, sit back and send you a report once a year. A good adviser will check in with their clients on a regular agreed basis to reevaluate their ongoing financial situation, future goals and plan accordingly.
The many roles of a financial adviser
An effective, responsible adviser is your financial planning partner.
Let’s say you want to retire at 55, buy a house in the sun and have an income until your pass on.
You may have a history of dementia in your family, and are concerned about how the costs of care will impact your estate and children’s inheritance. This is where a financial adviser comes in.
To accomplish your goals, you will need a skilled, professional financial adviser with the right experience, licences and accreditations to help make these plans a reality. This is where a financial adviser highlights their true value.
The list of scenarios can be endless.
By working together, and sharing your financial goals, you and your financial adviser will cover many topics including, but not limited to:
- A review of your current investments against your financial goals and plans
- The amount of money you should save and invest
- The different types of insurances and protections you should have in place. This includes. policies such as life insurance, critical illness cover and key person cover (for business owners)
- Estate and inheritance tax planning.
The role of a financial adviser is also an educator.
Depending on your current level of expertise and understanding of financial matters, some of the adviser’s tasks will be to help you understand what’s involved in meeting your future financial goals.
When working with you, the education process may include help with certain financial topics. At the start of your relationship, those areas could be budgeting, saving and the various investments available to you.
If you are already further into your investment journey, but are looking to develop your financial plans, your financial adviser can assist you in understanding complex investment, insurance, and tax matters.
The first step in the financial advisory process is getting to grips with your current financial situation.
You can’t properly plan for your financial future without knowing where you currently stand today.
A good financial adviser will work to a plan and a process.
At Better Wealth Management, we have a 6-stage process we take our clients through.
Initially, this will help your financial adviser understand your current situation and make sure you don’t overlook or omit any relevant information.
Additionally, by following this process it ensures each client ends up with a tailored financial plan, bespoke to their needs and long term goals.
We call it, your journey with us. Our process is as follows:
This is a free face to face meeting to discuss:
- Your current financial situation – assets, income
- Financial goals and objectives
- Plans for retirement
- Your estate
Your financial adviser works with you to get a complete overview of your current assets, liabilities, income, and expenses.
During this stage, you will also indicate and discuss any current investments, pensions, other income sources, desired retirement age and any long-term financial obligations.
Your financial adviser will seek to understand your tolerance to risk and risk capacity. Some people have a low tolerance for risk but your plans and timeframes may suggest you need a higher degree of risk in your investment portfolio.
A complete understanding of risk helps your financial planner when it’s time to determine your allocation of investment assets. At this stage you can let the financial planner know your investment preferences.
How we will work together
Either during, or just after the discovery meeting phase, you will receive a full understanding of how you and your financial advisor will work together.
This can include how your financial planner will communicate with you over the course of each year and during the lifetime of your relationship.
How they will report on the financial performance of your investments, make further recommendations and support you through your financial journey.
During the course of any relationship, personal or in business, life happens. Things change, goalposts get moved, plans need to be addressed. When certain things occur, you may need to re-assess your financial goals and objectives
Research & Analysis
After undergoing the first two stages, where we assess your current financial situation, immediate and long term plans, we enter the research and analysis phase.
We use market leading, financial software to research and analyse a number of factors.
This stage in the process enables us to
- Evaluate your current investments (if you have any)
- Ascertain if they are aligned to your long terms goals, which we will have evaluated during the discover meeting phase
- Search the whole of the investment market, and use our experience to build a picture of the asset classes and strategies best suited to your overall financial aims and goals
At the start of this guide, we mentioned there is a difference between a financial adviser and an independent financial adviser.
What’s the difference between a financial adviser and an independent financial adviser?
Independent financial advisers give you access to the whole of the financial market.
They aren’t limited to, or tied to a small basket of investments.
Therefore, by working with an independent financial adviser, you stand the best opportunity to meet your long term goals.
Your proposed financial plan
Having gone through the first few stages of the process, the next step is to formulate the proposed financial plan.
We understand making investments and agreeing on a long term plan is a big decision for our clients.
At this stage, we deliver the financial plan for review and set a time to run through it in detail.
As the client, it’s important to fully understand what your financial planner or adviser is recommending and why. As the experts, having gone through this process with you, the financial plan we recommend will be robust and uniquely tailored to your goals.
We fully appreciate there will be questions. After all it’s your money, and it’s important you fully understand how it’s being invested and why.
This is your opportunity to ask your financial adviser why they are making these recommendations, and how they are aligned to your financial goals.
A couple of examples are as follows:
Person A may be in their 50’s, focused on retirement. They may have already amassed enough net worth for retirement and are now focused on preserving capital for their children’s inheritance and income in retirement. Their portfolio in this case could be balanced across stocks, shares, investment and income based funds.
Person B may be in their early 30’s. They may have a couple of old pensions from previous employers. In this case, they may be prepared to be exposed to a higher degree of risk and their portfolio. Therefore Person B’s portfolio would be balanced differently to Person A’s. They would have a higher degree of their money invested in shares and funds in emerging markets, higher risk investments, property and more.
An experienced, ethical financial adviser will happily respond to questions and will be able to talk through their recommendations in detail and how their approach reflects your financial plans and goals.
Delivering the financial plan
Upon reviewing your financial recommendations, with your adviser and making any necessary adjustments, the next phase is to deliver the plan.
Upon agreement, your financial adviser will get to work, deploying your assets and money according to your financial plan and agreed goals.
Your financial adviser will set up an asset allocation, fully tailored to your risk tolerance and risk capacity.
Communication is key. Your financial adviser will keep you updated on their activity and once all relevant tasks are completed, your plan will be in place.
The ongoing relationship
Once your tailored investment plan is in place, you’ll receive regular updates at agreed intervals on the progress and performance of your financial plan.
Your financial adviser will:
- Set up regular meetings or calls to review your goals and progress and to answer any questions you have
- Provide reporting at regular, agreed intervals
- Offer ongoing assistance and recommendations around all aspects of your financial journey
The role of a financial adviser is more than just helping with investments. A relationship with a committed, customer-focused adviser is more than just sending you a quarterly email, containing some stats and loose commentary on the performance of your portfolio.
The job of a financial adviser is to assist you across all aspects of your financial life.
Further to regular, ongoing communication, it’s imperative to contact your financial adviser if and when you expect a significant change in your life that may have an impact on your current or future financial goals.
These changes could include:
- Getting married
- Having children or one of your children unexpectedly looking to go into higher education
- Buying or selling a home
- A change in your, your partners or significant other’s health
- Changing jobs, getting promoted or the possibility of being made redundant
What does a financial adviser do? Our conclusion.
As you will now understand, the role of a financial adviser is broad.
Quality financial advice relies on sticking to a process, understanding a client’s current situation, future goals and plans.
Ethical financial advisers, work with their clients to help realise their dreams. Research is conducted, questions get answered and transparency is a must.
Ongoing relationships are critical to the success of your partnership with your adviser.
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