How do you know when they’re ‘the one’?
16 Nov, 2023

Keith Naidoo, General Manager at Consult by Momentum


When looking for someone to manage you and your family’s financial affairs, finding the right person can be a difficult process. And say you find somebody, how do you know that they’re the right individual to partner with you on a lifelong journey, financially guiding you through all of your successes, tragedies, mistakes and milestones?


While deciding whether to have one or multiple advisers look after your financial portfolio, in both instances, you would want someone who really understands what your financial goals are and the outcomes you desire. This must be someone who has the relevant knowledge, expertise and experience in all aspects of financial planning.


Financial planning for you and your family is an emotional task. You might find yourself asking questions such as, Am I saving enough? Do I have enough life cover to ensure my family can maintain their current lifestyle if I am no longer around? Am I putting away enough for a comfortable retirement? And are the things I value protected against financial loss, such as my home, car or even my own life?


To be able to confidently answer the above, you must ensure that you partner with the right adviser, who will answer your questions and allay your fears and concerns.


Here are some things to consider, when looking for ‘the one’:


Understanding your personal priorities: Priority number one is to ensure that your prospective adviser understands your requirements, your needs and your financial goals. They will listen to you carefully, strive to deeply understand your dreams, challenges and unique life stage and circumstances, and will construct a tailor made plan aligned to these.


Personal compatibility: Compatibility, trust, character, and values of the adviser should be aligned to your values. This will ensure that the adviser is someone you trust and respect, and will have you and your family’s best interests at heart.


Qualifications: It is vital to ensure that the adviser is properly qualified in financial planning and investments.


Ensure that they have the correct FSCA approvals and licences. Their signature should list ‘Certified Financial Planner’ – if it doesn’t, ask them about it.


If the adviser is self-employed or owns their own brokerage, request a reference from some of their clients.


Where possible, consider an adviser who has strong backing from a well-known national brokerage or financial services provider – this will help to confirm their credibility, as these institutions tend to avoid the ‘fly by night’.


Experience: Ensure that the adviser has the relevant experience in financial planning and that this experience aligns with your specific goals and needs.


Specialisation: There are several different kinds of advisers in the industry. They could be generalists, investments-orientated, a fiduciary specialist, or specialise in short-term insurance or healthcare. Ensure that the person you select meets your specific requirements.


Their network: Ensure that the adviser has the right network and support. This might be in the form of admin staff, or they might be aligned with well-known product providers who can meet your specific demands. Also, ensure that you know where your adviser is investing your hard-earned funds. Ask for fund fact sheets and details of companies that they recommend. You don’t want your precious money invested in a Ponzi scheme or equivalent, which are unregulated.


Fees charged: The adviser should be transparent about their fees. Ask about their fee structure, and how they earn their money.  When it comes to investments, is their fee structure aligned to the general market fee? If they are more expensive, please ask them to justify why. Although it is not necessarily unjustified or unethical to charge more than market-related fees, ensure that the service they render is worth these fees.


Communication: Ensure that the adviser can simply translate complicated offerings. Ensure that they have a comfortable and professional style of communicating with you so that you understand where your money is going.


Accessibility: You don’t want to deal with an adviser who has very little time or no time at all for you. You entrust them with your money and your family’s livelihood; they need to be accessible, willing to meet regularly, and able to frequently review your life circumstances and adjust your portfolio accordingly, ensuring that you are on target to meet your financial goals.






@Keith Naidoo
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