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How to prepare for your first meeting with a financial adviser

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Having a discussion with your financial adviser, whether it is the first one or subsequent frequent engagements, should not make you nervous. It should, however, be something that you take very seriously and take ownership of. 

Mickey Gambale, CEO of INN8, an independent investment platform from the Stanlib group, says that there is always homework to do before meeting with a financial adviser.

“You need to truly understand what it is that you want for yourself, what your aspirations are and what you can cope with from a risk perspective. Then you need to be open and transparent with your financial adviser, otherwise they won’t be able to help you plan for your financial future,” he says.

Here are some things to take into consideration for that all-important talk.

Check the credentials 

When you own a BMW or a Mercedes-Benz and you have to take it in for a service, you make sure that the service provider is either accredited or authorised by the manufacturer to work on your vehicle.

For that same reason, when looking for someone to walk alongside you on the road to financial wealth and independence, you should make sure you find a qualified and registered financial adviser.

Get recommendations from friends and mentors that you trust on who they have partnered with. Make sure the practice that you approach is registered with the Financial Services Conduct Authority  (FSCA) and has an FSP number. You can check whether they are in good standing with the authority. The adviser should show you their Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS) accreditation.

If the adviser is registered with the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI) they will hold the CFP® designation, an indication that they are kept up-to-date through continuous professional development.

There is no such thing as a stupid question

You are allowed to pose any and all questions of your doctor when it is your physical health that is at stake. In the same manner you should be allowed to ask any and all questions of your adviser, as it is your financial wealth that is at stake. 

Don’t be intimidated by the jargon, either. If terms like sinking funds, endowments, asset swaps, LISPs swirl around a conversation about offshore investments, for example, and you are not 100% clear about what this means for you, stop your adviser and take your time to understand what is being talked about*.

“Choose an adviser that has some experience and speaks authoritatively to any kind of issues may arise, whether this is offshore or family legacy planning,” says Michael Summerton, head of proposition and marketing at INN8.

Understand and compare the solutions

Before you choose a financial adviser, you need to understand your appetite for variety as well. Some advisers are tied to a particular financial institution. With this comes the assurance and security that comes with larger, established and experienced financial services providers, but it could limit you in terms of choice.

An independent financial adviser would most likely be able to offer you various solutions from different service providers, increasing the range available, but, as a trade-off, lacking the backing of one specific financial institution.

Building a sustainable and trusting relationship with a financial adviser takes some real thought, preparation and transparency from both parties, says Gambale.

“Ultimately financial advice is as much about getting the investment right as it is about life coaching,” he says.

* INN8 has compiled a white paper to help you understand the world of offshore investments. The paper goes into the detail of the advantages as well as risks that could be associated with the options at your disposal. Access it here.

This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by INN8.