by Andrew Dines
Director & Chartered Financial Planner
Have you heard of the term ‘overchoice’ or ‘choice overload’? It’s when people have a difficult time making a decision because they’re faced with many options. The term was first introduced by Alvin Toffler in his 1970 book, Future Shock.
Anyone looking for a financial adviser can be forgiven for suffering from this; and there are many people looking for advice at the moment.
The year has got off to a turbulent start, financially speaking. Inflation stood at 5.1% (in the past decade it has rarely topped 2%), and is expected to go even higher, perhaps hitting 7% in April. After that it may come down again, but only to around 3%.
Good financial advice is always advisable, but in this climate, you could say it’s almost essential, because inflation has the potential to eat into the spending power of our money – they don’t call it ‘the silent bank robber’ for nothing!
But how do you best go about choosing the right adviser?
Here are eight things to look out for that define a good, client-focused financial adviser.
1. Good communication
Fear of being made to feel silly is one of the principal reasons many people shy away from seeking financial advice. A good adviser will offer clear, jargon-free explanations that you can easily understand.
A good financial adviser will demonstrate that they are qualified to the highest level. ‘Chartered’ is the gold standard in financial advice. At AAB, we are immensely proud that all four of our advisers are Chartered Financial Planners and we are a Chartered Financial Planning Firm.
3. Clients first
A good adviser has a client-led focus, and builds solutions to problems and situations, rather than pitching products to you that bring them the highest commission. In short, a good adviser should be focused on you, where you are, and where you want to be. They shouldn’t simply focus on the numbers.
Independent advisers have the freedom to take a whole-of-market approach to investments, looking at all available providers to find the product that is just right for you. The opposite – a ‘tied adviser’ – is one who is limited to selling the products of one or a small group of companies.
5. Clear charging structure
No one likes nasty surprises, especially when it comes to hidden or unexpected costs. A good adviser should clearly state what their charging structure is and stick to it. At AAB Wealth, we have a consistent, fair, clear and open charging structure. We’ll never seek to charge you for additional consultations. You can speak to us at any time, no matter what the issue because we’re here for you in the long term, helping you to realise your financial goals, and following through to make sure everything stays on track.
6. Stability as a business
Rapid growth is another sign of a good advice company. AAB Wealth began as a department of our larger sibling company AAB. Headquartered in Aberdeen, AAB is a tech-enabled business critical services group providing audit and accounting, tax, payroll and HR, outsourcing and advisory solutions globally. As a group, AAB has a team of over 450 operating from offices in London, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Here in AAB Wealth we have grown to a team of 20, with our team operating and supporting clients across these locations.
7. Giving back
A good financial adviser supports the community around them, because that community provides their business and their livelihood. The Anderson Anderson & Brown Charitable Initiative is our platform for investing in the wider community. It actively seeks partnership with charities, inviting applications for grant funding, and has donated over £150,000 to local charities and good causes in our communities to date. We also have annual volunteering days (pandemic allowing).
A happy client will sing your praises from the rooftops, an unhappy client won’t. This means a good financial adviser will be able to show the value of their work through their client’s own stories of working with them. You can see a range of stories from our own happy clients on our website.
If you’re looking for a financial adviser keep these points in mind. And if your current adviser doesn’t offer these services and advantages, could it be time to shop around? Staying with an adviser who doesn’t feel as if they have your best interests at heart could cost you in the long term.