Could it be time to change your financial adviser?

Having an experienced and switched-on financial planner on your side is useful when it comes to making important decisions about your investments and retirement. Sure, you could make all those decisions yourself, but a financial adviser can provide you with counsel that comes from years of analysing market trends and individual investments.

But sometimes things don’t work out so well. And if your money isn’t working for you, it may not be simply a function of a downturn in the market. You may need a new financial adviser.

Problem is, the relationship between a financial adviser and his or her clients is a close one, and if you’ve decided to change your own financial adviser, you may be facing down the most awkward social interaction since you broke up with your high school sweetheart. But don’t fret. If you approach the problem calmly and rationally, there’s no reason it has to be too painful. Here are a few tips to consider.

First, determine whether you really do need a new financial adviser. The fact that you’re considering it at all may signal there’s an issue.  That can mean a natural downturn in your portfolio’s value, or it can mean something much more frustrating. Look for big surprises in your portfolio, like a substantial unanticipated change in your net worth. Any lengthy lack of communication from your current financial adviser can also signal that you need a new one.

If you decide to make a change, find a new financial adviser before leaving your current one. Even if your financial planner isn’t meeting your expectations, don’t drop them until you’ve researched your other options. Find a few options and set up some meetings, and take your portfolio along. Once you’ve chosen your new adviser, you’ll likely be much more confident when it comes to sitting down to actually talking with your soon-to-be-ex-adviser.

Remember that changing financial advisers doesn’t necessarily mean moving your investments. If you have a fee based financial adviser, you may only be changing because the fees are too high. But your investments are still viable – you just need to transfer control of them to a new financial adviser.

Have the talk. It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid: Just call your adviser and tell him or her you’re going in a different direction. And if the problem is lack of communication, you may not even need to talk to him or her directly.

Get your documents back. Make sure you get any records or relevant documentation back, including all photocopies – your new Financial Adviser can help you here.

Don’t make any hasty decisions. Make it a point to hold off on any major investment decisions until you’re no longer angry or frustrated by the whole process. This is another good reason to find a new adviser before leaving the old one.

At AGL Wealth Management we recently conducted a survey in which we asked the ‘12 questions you should be asking your Financial Adviser’ to determine if they are the right fit for you:

Questions

AGL Wealth Management Ltd

Can you assure me that you are not restricted in your advice offering or tied to any product providers? Yes – we are completely independent of all product providers and offer advice from the whole of the market. We are also directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and not tied to any Network
Have your financial advisers been in the financial services industry long? Yes – all our financial advisers have at least a minimum of 10 years’ experience in financial services, with our Senior Team having over 20 years
Do you offer advice to different types of clients? Yes – our service proposition caters for High Net Worth Individuals, Senior Professionals, Business Owners and Affluent Retirees
Can I pay for your services in different ways? Yes – fees can be deducted as a % of assets held, as a fixed fee, per hour or in some cases as commission – it is your choice how we get paid
Can you assure me that you will have time to manage my financial aims and objectives? Yes – our advisers would never have more than 60 clients within their individual portfolios, which means that we can deliver a high quality service
Will my financial goals be regularly reviewed? Yes – we meet our wealth management clients at least 4 times per year, ensuring that we can consistently keep our clients’ financial goals on track
Can I contact someone if you are not available? Yes – you will have a dedicated Wealth Services Executive appointed to you to handle general enquiries and access to other team advisers if need be
Do you use technology to help me understand my financial planning better? Yes – all our clients can view their assets online through a single secured portal and we use financial forecasting software to provide faster, better and more accurate outcomes for all our clients
Do you regularly review the product providers and investment managers you use? Yes – we use global independent research companies to profile functions that we outsource. We then request that providers/managers complete annual questionnaires from which we select a panel of them based on an range of criteria which is then reviewed quarterly at our investment oversight committee for performance, risk, charges and service
Do you provide access to any other specialist advice services? Yes – we believe in providing holistic advice, whether that be financial, tax, legal, business or consulting – we have a Preferred Partners Programme that can deliver positive outcomes for all our clients
Can you tell me how many advisers have left your firm in the last 5 years? Yes – no advisers have left AGL since we established the firm in 2009
Can you provide references? Yes – we would be delighted to provide references from clients, professional connections and also professional bodies we are partners with

If you existing Financial Adviser is unable to answer these questions to your satisfaction, then maybe your New Year’s Resolution should be to change your Financial Adviser! For more information on how we can assist you on your financial journey, please call us at our Glasgow Office – 0141 314 3765 or Edinburgh Office – 0131 240 3830.