How to choose a financial adviser

Top Stories

How to choose a financial adviser

The professional you end up choosing should not only help you create, maximise and safeguard your wealth, they should also be something of a trusted financial mentor over the long-term.

By David Hughes

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sun 25 Oct 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 25 Oct 2015, 9:18 AM

It's widely accepted that the devising, implementing and then managing of a robust, bespoke plan with an independent financial adviser (IFA) is the most effective way for most people to achieve their long-term financial goals.
Yet selecting the right professional to help you reach long-term, sustainable financial security is often not as easy as it sounds. But it is vitally important that you are meticulous in choosing the right one for you, as your finances are too important for you and your family to get wrong.
The professional you end up choosing should not only help you create, maximise and safeguard your wealth, they should also be something of a trusted financial mentor over the long-term.
Yes, it does sound tricky searching for all these characteristics in what at the beginning is likely to be someone you don't know or know of only through referrals from friends, family or colleagues. However, by asking seven questions, you can avoid many of the most common avoidable pitfalls.
1. Is the company the IFA works for authorised to give the financial advice you seek?
There are several regulatory bodies in the UAE, such as the Insurance Authority and the Securities & Commodities Authority, overseeing different areas of financial services. The company you are considering should be authorised to give advice in the appropriate area for you and be regulated by the relevant authority to which that the institution reports.
2. Does the company have a global footprint?
Expats typically have more transient lifestyles than their counterparts in their countries of origin. For example, most expats in the UAE do not expect to live here for the rest of their lives. As such, it is advisable to work with a company that has a global presence to make sure you receive continuity of service should you ever relocate. It would also be recommended to check that the IFA's company has physical offices, rather than just a call centre, and is licensed in countries you may move onto.
3. Does the IFA have cross border expertise?
Living outside your own country, you can typically use your expat status to your financial advantage. With this in mind, you should make sure that your adviser has cross border experience and a suite of products and services from which expats can benefit.
4. Do you have more than one option for the financial advice given?
An IFA should be able to offer a range of product services and investment options. Ask them to show you several different options to give you peace of mind when agreeing to the advice.
5. How long has your company been in operation?
Ideally you should choose a company that has been operating in the marketplace for more than five years. This will provide a more accurate, longer-term gauge of the firm's quality of advice, service and compliance history.
6. What is the total value of your company's assets under management?
Assets under management that total in excess of $5 billion would suggest some degree of critical mass in the industry, a significant share of the market, longevity in the industry and a robust organisational structure.
7. Does your potential IFA offer full disclosure?
All negotiations should be upfront and transparent from the start. Any agreements you enter into should disclose how charges are made, how much will be charged, service expectations and levels of protection.
The writer is a divisional manager for Gulf region at deVere Group. Views expressed by him are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.

More news from