Working with a financial adviser
Keep an eye on your financial plan
Your relationship with a financial adviser can be an ongoing
commitment or a one-off encounter. Whichever relationship you
choose, it's important to stay actively engaged with the financial
advice to see whether it's working for you.
Reviewing your financial
Review your Statement
of Advice (SOA) at least once a year to ensure it's still right
for you. Consider whether there have been any changes in your life
that might affect your current strategy or attitude to risk.
See goals and risk tolerance for
more information about assessing your investment goals.
Contact your adviser if you think you need to change something
in your plan. If you've agreed to ongoing advice, this service
should be included in your ongoing advice fee.
If you don't have an ongoing advice agreement, you will have to
pay for the adviser's time and for them to implement any new
advice. See financial advice costs to learn
more about paying for financial advice.
Making the most of ongoing
To make the most of ongoing advice it's important to regularly
review your financial plan with your adviser to see if it's still
appropriate for you. If you have given your adviser an authority
over a deposit account, such as a cash management account, you will
need to review your investments a lot more frequently. See setting up a cash management
What you should do
Don't adopt a 'set and forget' attitude. At a minimum, you
should visit your adviser once a year for a review of your current
Between reviews, it's important that you keep your adviser
updated about any changes in your circumstances so they can adjust
your plan to keep it relevant to you.
Also use the yearly review as an opportunity to think about
whether you're getting value for your ongoing advice fee. See ongoing fees for
financial advice for more information.
What your adviser should do
Between reviews, your adviser should keep you updated about any
changes to the economy, legislation or markets that impact the
advice and products they've recommended for you.
If there are any changes to your current plan, your adviser
should give you a record of their new advice either at the end of
the meeting, or shortly after.
Check you are getting the ongoing advice you pay for
ASIC has found some advisers charging for ongoing advice that
they have not provided. If you are paying ongoing advice fees, make
sure you are getting the services you paid for. If you have
paid fees for services you haven't received, lodge a complaint
through the bank or licensee's internal dispute resolution system
as you may be entitled to a refund and
compensation. See ASIC's media release for more
If you are paying ongoing advice fees for services you don't
need, you can ask for the fees to be switched off.
Setting up a cash management
Cash management accounts are typically
used to hold surplus funds and allow your investments to be actively managed. If your adviser has recommended that
you open a cash management account or any kind of deposit account,
or helped you open this type of account, they may also have asked
you for an authority to view and/or make transactions on your
If you have given your adviser an authority on your cash account
(also known as a 'third party authority'), make sure you understand
exactly what type of authority they have and the risks associated
Types of adviser third party authorities
The authority your adviser has over a deposit or cash management
account can be classified by the amount of access you give
- View access - your adviser can see the account
transactions but cannot operate the account.
- Withdrawal access - your adviser can make
transactions, including withdrawals, on the account.
- Complete access - your adviser can do all the
things that you can do with the account, including changing contact
details, changing or adding authorised signatories or closing the
The risks of giving your adviser third party authority
By giving your adviser access to your account (which may be
referred to as an 'adviser-operated account') you are placing a lot
of trust in them. You risk having your money invested in products
or schemes that may not be in your best interests, and it is easier
for your adviser to commit fraud. While the risk of fraud may be
remote, it could have serious consequences if it does occur.
See ASIC's media release on action we have taken
against a former stockbroker for dishonestly using clients'
Ask your adviser why they have suggested a particular level of
authority, what it will allow them to do, and what other options
are available. Don't give your adviser a level of access that you
are not comfortable with.
You can limit your risks by:
- Understanding the extent of the authority you have given your
adviser and the risks involved
- Getting all account details, including any authorities you have
provided, in writing
- Checking whether you will be notified each time your adviser
makes a transaction on your account
- Making sure all correspondence relating to the account comes to
you, even if your adviser also receives the information
- Checking the account transactions regularly and talking to your
bank if something doesn't look right.
Saying no to ongoing
Your financial affairs might be quite simple. If you have enough
time and know-how, you may not need to pay an adviser for ongoing
It's up to you whether you want or need ongoing service from
your adviser. You still have the option of getting advice in the
future if your circumstances change.
See 'ending your relationship with an adviser' below for things
you should think about before you go it alone.
Ending your relationship with
If you decide you no longer want ongoing financial advice, there
are some things you should consider.
Some financial products, master trusts for example,
can only be accessed through a financial adviser, so if you decide
to end your relationship with them you may also have to leave the
products they recommended, or get a new adviser.
If you leave or switch advisers you will have to consider:
- Selling and buying costs
- Changes to any government assistance you're receiving
- Being out of the market (which could be an advantage or
disadvantage depending on timing)
- Income and capital gains tax
If you decide to switch advisers or leave an investment product,
you need to be satisfied that it is worth the cost of doing
Sometimes all you'll need from an adviser is
initial advice. At other times it can be useful to have access to
their expertise on an ongoing basis. The important thing is that
you decide how much involvement you want an adviser to have and
know how much you are paying for it.
Last updated: 06 Mar 2018