By: Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa
I would like to know how one makes sure that you land up with a reliable financial consultant.
And how can one protect oneself from making large deposits to such an advisor to only later wake up with no money and no advisor?
Choosing the right professional is an important aspect of long term financial wellbeing. In the same way you often end up choosing your medical doctor based on their bedside manner, your choice of planner is often a personal choice. Because you are likely to be sharing confidential and often personal details about your life, they need to be someone you feel comfortable with and worthy of your trust.
That being said; there has to a qualitative decision based on their credentials. This is where the role of the Financial Planning Institute as a professional body becomes incredibly meaningful to a consumer.
Members of the Financial Planning Institute that carry the CFP® professional designation possess the ethics, education, experience and qualifications of the highest standard. Each and every member complies and is held accountable to a strict code of ethics which places the client first.
To become CFP® professional, studies on a Postgraduate level, specifically in the discipline of Financial Planning, needs to be obtained along with a written board exam and three years practical experience in client advice. These requirements meet the international standards expected from a CFP® designee and assure clients of robust and professional advice.
Remember, members of the FPI do so voluntarily and demonstrate the desire to operate and advise on a level far above regulatory norms.
Another important aspect to always check on is whether the advisor/planner/consultant/broker you intend working with is registered with the Financial Services Board (FSB).
The Financial Services Board is a unique independent institution established by statute to oversee the South African Non-Banking Financial Services Industry in the public interest. The FSB is committed to promote and maintain a sound financial investment environment in South Africa. The same is true for any financial product or solution you are advised to invest in.
Go to http://www.fsb.co.za. Click on "FAIS" on the top right hand corner of the page. Then under the "Searches" heading, click "Search for Financial Services Providers".
All companies conducting business in Financial Services are known as Financial Services Providers and should each have their own unique FSP number. They should be able to produce their licence and number upon request.
Lastly, common sense needs to always prevail and the old adage of "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" should always be applied. Most ponzi schemes, scams and the like have a common trait that offers stellar returns for no risk. As soon as you see this, warning bells should go off.
As a guide, a full equity portfolio should, over time, provide returns of 14 percent to 16 percent. Any returns marketed over and above this must carry a hefty "price tag" in the way of risk.
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