Not everyone that comes to see me needs a financial advisor. In fact, the most common piece of advice I give is about offset accounts. It’s basic financial literacy rather than specific financial advice but it helps people understand what they’ve already got available to them in their suite of banking products. In most cases, people don’t need to change banks or purchase a new product at all.
Once I’ve done this a client might not need to come back and see me for a while – it really depends on their stage in life. They can always come back a few years down the track for a further conversation about what’s working for them, and at that point we can figure out a plan for the next few years of their life.
This is because my role is to assess a client’s needs and provide reliable advice. Part of this is also educating them about their finances and how it works.
In my first meeting with a client I establish what their needs are. I do this by getting an understanding of what they’re looking to achieve, what’s important to them and where they’re at. This is when I can work out whether I’m the best advisor for their needs, or whether there is a member of our team who would be better suited. There are people in our team who specialise in aged care, which is a complex area and requires in-depth knowledge, for example. Another area might be UK pensions – I could research this area, but there are specialists in the team who would be better suited to answering client questions. The most important thing is to align a client’s needs with the skill set of their advisor.
A lot of my clients are executives, they’re specialists, they’re company directors or they run their own businesses and they’re time-poor. And they’re looking for someone who can help and provide advice that may not result in a financial product. It might be a long-term relationship – it might be help around estate planning, or someone just to organise and facilitate some of the areas in their financial life.
People don’t always need my help when they come to see me. Sometimes they just require some peace of mind, or someone to say ‘continue doing what you’re doing’. Often it’s something as simple as budgeting or a quick session on a whiteboard helping them understand the landscape.
In the past, this industry has been criticised for being product-focused rather than seeing advice as the solution. For me, the number one rule is to be trusted professional and to give advice where it is needed, even if that is just explaining how an offset account works.
Clint McNally is an Executive Advisor at Viridian Advisory
This post and some supporting materials may be regarded as general advice. That is, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. Accordingly, you should consider the appropriateness of any general advice we may have given you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. Where the information relates to a particular financial product, you should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase that financial product.
The material in this post is correct and complete as of the data it was posted. Viridian is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to, or reliance on any information contained within this site.