Friday, July 4, 2008

Which Advisor?

During the course of our lifetime we will, at some stage, need to consider whether it would be to our benefit to avail of the services of a Financial Advisor. The predicament we are faced with is, 'Who/Where do we get the advice from'?

The answer to these questions lies in your own level of understanding of the types of services that are on offer and how much research you are willing to undertake. Financial Advisors can offer you two distinct types of service. These are, an 'Advisory Service' and an 'Execution Only Service'.

The majority of business transacted by advisors is on an 'Advisory' basis. This is where you the client wants to be mentored and guided on what financial products or course of action would be most appropriate to their individual circumstances.

The client will need to decide whether the services of an Authorised Advisor, Multi-Agency Intermediary or Tied-Agent is best for them.

An Authorised Advisor can provide you with broad based financial advice on all the products in the market, that they are authorised to advise you on.

A Multi-Agency Intermediary can provide you with financial advice from the companies products that they hold a letter of appointment from.

A Tied-Agent can only advise you on the single group of products from the company that they are 'tied' to.

The debate continues as to which type of advisor is 'best', but most commentators lean towards the AA or MAI. The reality of the market however would indicate that there is a large volume of business still being conducted by Tied-Agents. These are mainly the people that you are referred to in your local bank or the direct sales forces of individual companies.

It is a good idea to get a strong recommendation from someone that you trust (stating why they have put forward the person).

You could also be up-front with two or three advisors and state that you are trying to decide on who to do business with. You could write or talk to them and ask them directly why you should do business with them. But, do have some general questions written down on what you hope to achieve from the 'interview' and ask for their Terms of Business before hand.

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