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5 Major Things to Keep in Mind to pick a Financial Advisor

Mutual Fund Industry | December 09
If you are getting ready to set your financial goals for the next year, make sure that appointing a good financial advisor is included in your list. A financial advisor is an expert at managing your finances. Financial advisors take stock of your financial situation and use their expertise to offer you appropriate solutions. They also help you to craft a customized investment plan that works for your unique requirements.

When do you need a financial advisor?

It is a common myth that financial advisors are only for those who make big-ticket investments. The truth is that finances are a slippery slope, irrespective of the quantum of your investment. It is also important to remember that not all aspects of your finances need professional advice. However, if you are overwhelmed about a particular financial decision such as purchasing a house or saving for retirement, or are juggling with your financial goals and unable to make a decision, it is time to appoint a financial advisor. 

Having said that, one should realize that appointing a financial advisor requires a cost-benefit analysis so that the investment you make by appointing one doesn’t go waste. Let us take a look at the five key considerations you should be mindful of before you pick a financial advisor. 

Understand your financial needs: When it comes to investment decisions, there is no cookie-cutter approach. Every individual and their financial needs are unique. Financial advisors have a wide variety of expertise, experience, and capabilities. Every financial advisor may not be compatible to your needs. Therefore, it is important for you to identify and prioritize your goals for which you are seeking professional advice.

Decide on the type of advisor you are looking for: There are two popular types of financial advisors in India at present. Those who work on a fee-only model and those work on a fee-based model. In the case of fee-only advisors, the charges are for the advice given, whereas in case of fee-based advisors, an additional commission is also earned by the advisor in case you purchase a financial product based on the investment advice.  Do your research to find out what type of advisor would work for you.

Ensure that the advisor has a fiduciary responsibility towards you: It is better to choose a SEBI registered investment adviser. The SEBI regulations for registration of such investment advisers mandate that they have a fiduciary responsibility towards their clients. A registered adviser has to put the client`s interest above everything, including their own interests. Distributors or agents who provide investment advice do not have any fiduciary obligations.

Ask the right questions: When it comes to choosing a financial advisor, communication is key. Make sure to ask your potential advisor about their experience, charges, approach to investment decisions, and documentation for their historical returns. 

Do a background check: There is no substitute for doing thorough diligence on the advisor you are considering. Given the plethora of information available about the financial advisors in the public domain, it has become easier for consumers to assess the credibility of a financial advisor. If nothing else, perform a Google search on the professionals you are considering and pay attention to the results that show up. 

Conclusion

Trusting someone else to manage your hard-earned money is a big decision. Do not rush yourself in choosing a financial advisor. Be mindful of the steps above because it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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