FAQ

Do I need advice?

Most people need advice during periods of change. IE when thinking of moving house, changing jobs, getting married,starting a family, retiring, getting divorced, when coming into money, going into business, leaving a business, bringing on new business partners. Ask Steve what needs to be considered when these events occur.

Do you deal with all investments?

No. We only recommend products that are on our Approved Product List. This is governed by Advocate Advisory AFSL 405576 and changes from time to time. The list is broad and includes industry super funds and most life insurance products as well as many other investments. We purchase Research on investment products and this is a key requirement for entry onto our Approved Product List. That is except for industry super funds which currently do not have independent research available to us.

Are you a member of any professional bodies?

Yes. Steve is a member of the Association of Financial Advisers and also a member of SPAA holding Specialist SMSF Adviser status. Steve resigned from the Financial Planning Association recently based on value for money ie no perceived benefit.

10. Do I need a minimum amount to invest?

Question:
Do I need a minimum amount to invest?

Answer:
No, there is no minimum amount to invest.

Investment products will have limits and often this is around $2,000.   Parcels of shares listed on the ASX have a $500 minimum limit.

As advice is not always about product or investment at all, it comes down to how important the answer/outcome is and whether you are getting value for the cost of the advice.   There is no point in spending $2200 on advice that only gives a small benefit of less that that over time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. What does advice cost?

Question:
What does advice cost?

Answer:

Our first meeting is free – This allows each party to decide at no cost, whether to proceed to the next step.  We know it can be daunting to talk to a stranger about your situation and with no real industry standard around cost, it can be a minefield.

All fees and charges will be fully discussed and agreed with you before we proceed with any recommendations.  It is unlikely to be less than $660 and a typical full advice plan will be in the region of $2500 – 5500 depending upon complexity.  An SMSF will have disbursements as would a Trust or Company establishment.   We tailor the advice and that of course means a tailored price.  Complexity or wider scope means more time and more strategies which means a higher cost.

Given that we don’t do hourly rate (rewards the slow and is an open cheque book!) you at least know the price before the advice is drawn up.

We find that prospective clients like to be in control of price and content/scope and having the discussion at the first or second meeting gives them peace of mind.

8. Do you accept commission?

Question:
Do you accept commission?

Answer:

We don’t accept commission on investment products. We are fee for value and this will be discussed with you and disclosed in the Statement of Advice.

With regard to life insurance income protection TPD and Trauma insurance, we do accept commissions or in agreement with you, rebate the commission and charge a fee instead. It is always transparent.  Generally, a nil commission product is around 25% lower cost than a full commission product.  Again, all stated clearly in the written advice.

 

7. Is there a code of conduct?

Question:
Is there a code of conduct?

Answer:

Yes, we adhere to the AFA Code of Professional Practice and the SMSF Association rules of conduct.

These include three enforceable components: Code of Ethics; Practice Standards; and Rules of Professional Conduct;

 

6. Is advice always in writing?

Question:
Is advice always in writing?

Answer:

If we provide you with personal financial planning advice, we will confirm our recommendations in writing so that you can make an informed decision about the appropriateness and suitability of our advice.

Our recommendations can be documented in a Statement of Advice (SoA). A Record of Advice (RoA) may be used to record our advice to you where we have provided you with subsequent advice and your personal circumstances have not changed.

5. Am I locked into a long term contract?

Question:
Am I locked into a long term contract?

Answer:

No, we do not lock our clients into our service agreements as it is unfair to you.  We do have some guidance within our agreements which is fair to us as a business.

We offer 12mth Service Agreements with a two year renewable term whereby we state the services that you will receive over the year and you agree to pay the fee for that service package.  Every two years, you will be invited to renew the agreement.   Should you decide to stop, we ask for 3mths notice so that we can tidy things up for you and then the relationship finishes unless we agree upon a different approach.

Although some investment products are for fixed terms, such as term deposits and life long annuities, you are able to move to a different adviser at any time.

4. What if Im not happy with the advice?

Question:
What if I’m not happy with the advice?

Answer:

If at any time should you have any questions or concerns about our advice or our service we encourage you to contact us directly and we will try to resolve the issue immediately.

If we cannot respond to your feedback or effectively resolve your issues within three (3) business days or if you don’t feel comfortable talking to us about your issues you should contact Advocate Advisory directly on 1300 040978 and speak with Mr Stephen Heald .

If Advocate Advisory don’t provide you with a satisfactory response, you have the right to refer your concerns to the Financial Ombudsmen Service Limited (FOS). FOS can be contacted at GPO Box 3, Melbourne Vic 3001 or by phone on 1300 78 08 08.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) also has a free call Information line on 1300 300 630 which you may use to make a complaint and obtain more information about your rights.

3. Are you regulated by government?

Question:
Are you regulated by government?

Answer:

Yes. All financial planners should be authorised under an Australian Financial Services License which is governed by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

We are also members of the Association of Financial Advisers and SMSF Association each of which have rules of professional conduct.

The Corporations Act, Tax Act and Superannuation(Supervision) Act also have provisions governing our behaviour and authorisations.

 

2. Are you fee for service?

Question:
Are you fee for service?

Answer:

Yes, we do charge a fee for service and this varies depending on the level of service you require.  We do not like hourly rate as it rewards the slow and you have no idea what you are going to be charged…not something I would agree to in your shoes.

So a fixed price for the scoped areas of advice is how we operate.  Should you wish to extend the scope, then we will offer a fixed price for that extension.  As the bulk of the work is done at the beginning, the initial advice can be significant in price.  We do feel that it represents good value as you are able, in the main, to see how you are better off in peace of mind, financially or in reducing the negatives.

All fees are discussed with you prior to providing any advice. You may choose to pay our fees directly or have our professional costs paid to us by the product provider or from the products we’ve recommended to you. This will be discussed with you and disclosed in the Statement of Advice.

A Service Agreement is encouraged in order to deliver fixed services for a fixed price.  That way, we are each accountable.  These are 12mth agreements and you have an option to renew that agreement.

1. What is Financial Planning?

Question:
What is Financial Planning?

Answer:

Financial Planning is the process of developing strategies to help you manage your financial situation so you can protect and build wealth, enjoy life and achieve financial security.

Some people may think that financial planners only give advice on investments. This is not true. The role of a qualified professional financial planner is to look at all aspects of your lifestyle, goals and requirements and develop a financial strategy suitable for you.  Often we are more counsellors than advisers!

Any change being contemplated around job, relationship, estate issues, major expense, debt, children or business should trigger a chat with your financial adviser.   If you have the right relationship, it will be an easy discussion and decision.  Many of the changes mean little or no change to your strategies whilst others may mean stopping and starting a new one.  Business succession is a classic event which will trigger major changes.

A lifestyle questionnaire is available on request which may lead you to think about some important areas of your life which need to be maintained, no matter what.  This can often lead to a desire to make it happen which is where we come in.  As our initial appointment is free of charge or obligation, and can be done on Skype, why not have a chat about your concerns today?