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Make sure your money’s flowing in the right direction with tips from the moneymag.com.au team
Whether you’re setting up a new business, refinancing your assets or even moving into retirement, it often pays to speak to a financial professional. However, confiding in financial planners isn’t always a secure option. Here are some ways to ensure the planner you do settle on gives you everything you’ve signed up for.
Don’t let your planner move you from a low-fee, solidly performing superannuation fund into a self-managed fund that has no APRA governance.
Never go into an SMSF (self-managed super fund) unless you understand it and can run the investments and administration.
Don’t trust qualifications listed on websites. These can easily be fudged.
Be wary of any extravagant schmoozing by a financial planner, such as expensive restaurants meals or invitations to boxes at sports events.
Don’t let your planner or anyone at their firm have the authority to sign your investment and banking documents.
Don’t allow them to transfer funds between accounts because they can move money to their own accounts.
Always be vigilant about your financial planner’s actions because the more you trust them, the more vulnerable you are to being deceived.
Always get a copy of all your documents and correspondence. Don’t let the planner keep all the information.
Make sure you can view your investments in real time. Super funds typically give you live updates on the value of your investments. Shares and other listed investments can be viewed online, but unlisted property is valued only once or twice a year. Don’t put up with waiting for statements for listed investments that only come out every six months.
WORST CASE SCENARIO!
So what happens if you miss the steps above and things do go wrong? The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) offers these tips:
Always check that a financial adviser is authorised to provide advice before engaging them.
Check the Financial Advisers Register and the government’s Moneysmart website (moneysmart.gov.au), for tips on choosing a financial adviser.
If you are unhappy with any aspect of the service you receive, try to resolve it with the adviser. Then you should make a complaint through the adviser’s internal dispute resolution system. Their financial services guide will tell you how to do this.
You should receive an acknowledgement from the adviser’s dispute resolution system within 14 days. They have 45 days to provide a final response.
If you’re unhappy with the response, you can contact an external dispute resolution scheme. The business must tell you which scheme it belongs to. You can also complain to the adviser’s industry association and/or professional body. This information will also be in the Financial Advisers Register. Alternatively, you can lodge a complaint with ASIC. For more money tips, visit moneymag.com.au