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What should I expect from a financial planner?

It is expected for your advisor to ask numerous questions about your circumstances depending on your goals, both short-term and long-term, and motivations for seeking advice. You should also discuss how involved you want your advisor to be.  The Scope of Advice, an agreement between the advisor and yourself, should address your goals, objectives and needs and must be discussed with you prior to proceeding. Setting these guidelines clearly will help the advisor to determine the cost of their advice. While the initial meeting with an advisor may be free of charge, the costs after that vary depending on the complexity of the advice, frequency of advice and the types of financial products recommended.

After sufficient information is gathered through discussions and further research, the advisor will put together a written document called a Statement of Advice with detailed recommendations to help you achieve your goals. The statement of advice is not complimentary but the costs will be explained to you and provided in writing before you agree to proceed.

In the event that your advisor would recommend any products as part of their advice, they are required to provide you with the Product Disclosure Statement, which outlines the product’s features and charges. All advisors must only provide recommendations to products that are in your best interests and not theirs, a stipulation under the Best Interest Duty policy. It’s recommended that you review the product and strategy in detail and only agree to commit if you fully understand it.

Once you’ve put a financial plan in place, you are expected to review it annually and ensure that it is updated and meets your goals, which are likely to change over time.