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ASIC’s tips for choosing a financial adviser

ASIC offers the following tips to help people choose a financial adviser: • Deal only with professional financial advisers and planners who hold an Australian financial services licence (AFSL), which is provided by ASIC. You can check this for free on ASIC’s consumer website, FIDO (www.fido.gov.au). • Think about your financial situation and what financial goals you want to achieve. This will help you work out whether you need financial advice, and if so, what you want advice about. • If you decide you need professional advice, talk to family, friends or work colleagues to see if they can recommend anyone to you. • Speak to a few financial advisers from different firms before deciding who to get advice from. Ask each one to send you their financial services guide, which they must produce by law. Check if the services offered suit your needs. • Ask about the financial adviser’s experience and qualifications. If you have a particular financial goal, then it makes sense to choose a financial adviser with expertise in your particular area. • Always ask about what the advice will cost. Expect to pay for professional advice. Some financial planners operate on a flat-fee basis, whilst many others receive commissions if you invest in particular financial products. This has the potential to create a conflict of interest between what’s good for you and what’s good for the financial planner. Good financial planners will always put your interests first. • Find out whether there are any restrictions on the financial products that the financial adviser can recommend. Some advisers are limited to financial products issued by the organisation they work for, or their parent company. Unless you’ve decided that you especially want one of those financial products, this won’t necessarily suit your needs. Even if the product is suitable, there may be other less expensive alternatives that are just as good or even better.

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