How to Find an Australian Financial Services (AFS) Licensed Financial Adviser
There's no mistaking the importance of research in the process of finding a financial adviser. Knowledge and experience are the two key important qualities to look for, since this person will be handling your finances and investments. Hiring a financial adviser who is authorised by an AFS licence will ensure that your financial adviser follows the appropriate guidelines as set out by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).
Where to Look for an AFS Licensed Financial Adviser
There are several things to consider in the process of finding a reputable, AFS licensed financial adviser.
1. Approach Professional Associations
One way to start looking for a reputable financial adviser is by checking out some of the professional associations where financial advisers are members to those associations. Two of the most known professional association is the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA).
These professional associations not only have to adhere to the financial laws and regulation but also set a standard for strict code of conduct for their members which should add to your confidence in choosing a suitable financial adviser. These professional associations have facilities to help you find a financial adviser in your area. You may also check if a financial adviser has been terminated, suspended or expelled from the association as a result of disciplinary action.
2. Obtain a Financial Services Guide
Once you have done your research and have a list of potential advisers, look to see if you can obtain a copy of the Financial Services Guide (FSG) which can be available through their websites, if not then feel free to ask for copies of their financial services guides by contacting them. This can be a good opportunity to ask any questions and have your first impression about the financial adviser.
The FSG should provide you with information about the financial adviser, including the services they offer, their charges, contact details and they could also have links to some of their product providers.
3. Assess the Advisor's Experience & Qualifications
Depending on the services you require, you need to ensure that your financial adviser holds the appropriate qualifications and experience.
Crucial Consideration: Be Sure to Hire Only Licensed Advisers
During your research, be sure to find out whether the adviser holds an AFS Licence or whether he or she is an authorised representative or an employee, of an AFS Licence.
ASIC Connect has Professional Registers where you can verify AFSL licence holders by conducting a search by the name of the organization. Authorised representatives of AFSL can also be searched to verify that they are registered appointed representatives.
It is important that you seek financial advisers that hold an AFSL or is an authorised representative of an AFSL because you may be provided with inappropriate advice or offered unsuitable products as the financial adviser may not be competent to provide you with the financial services you are after.