How to Select the Right Financial Advisor

 By: Kathryn Dawson
Searching for the right financial advisor can be quite a time consuming and an onerous task but it is really worth spending the time at the outset to find the best financial advisor for you. In general, people just don't have the time to sit at their computer and plan for the future all day, so this job is sometimes better left to be handled by someone else who is an expert in the field. They will generally be highly qualified, experienced and will spend their days keeping up to date, for example, with the latest views on investment management and the most recent legislation made by the government - which, in turn, could affect your tax planning, pension and other aspects about planning for your financial future.

When searching for the right person to help with your finances, a great place to start is to start by asking for recommendations from friends and family. Asking a friend or family member who plans their finances could be a great way to meet a quality individual to help you with your independent financial planning. A work colleague or relative may already know a great chartered financial planner - and perhaps might have had many years of being advised about their investment management and long term financial plans by a specialist. Ask them about the strengths and weaknesses of their recommendation. Are they specialists in the full range of services that you need? The home counties have some great advisors that can be used for their services, so there might be no need to look for a top advisor in a nearby, big city.

After getting some referrals from friends or family, it's time to put a shortlist of candidates together for research purposes. For your choice in financial advisor to be a positive one, all the objectives and capabilities of both parties need to be laid out and explained up front. It is always a shame when a working relationship looks like it is going to work out and then some misunderstanding happens a few months down the road. All disagreements should be taken care of right away so no one's time is wasted and everyone can be working towards a productive relationship. During the interview period, it is also important to be clear about your personal objectives, which will then be incorporated into your financial plans. Do talk to your financial planner about your short term and long term goals. A good advisor will then discuss in what areas they can help you. Although someone else is being hired to help you with your financial planning, your input should still be factored into the equation. The first meeting will also be beneficial to the planner because they will be able to see if they are a suitable fit for the job.

There are a lot of different questions that can be asked during the research process, and many of them will be beneficial to both the financial advisor and the person seeking advice, not just one of the two parties. If you are asking the questions, you should first seek some information about the general background and credentials of the prospective financial planner. Such as do they provide independent financial planning, their qualifications, their fee structure and are they a chartered financial planner? Home Counties will be able to offer you some great options to choose from, but it may not be a bad idea to check out the financial specialists in other local areas. Location is key for some people, so if you like to be close to the people you work with, you will need to factor that into your decision making process. After reviewing the qualities and abilities of the financial planner, the last thing to talk about is cost and fees. Try and get an estimate from each planner so that you are clear upfront about what the charges will be. Compare them and ensure that you are getting good value and the cost of your investments is not going to be excessive. As long as the research is done beforehand and all of the prospective advisors are thoroughly checked out, it is likely that the right decision will end up being made.
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