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Ten Tips for a Better Relationship with your Financial Advisor

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You have done the research, understood the fee structures and finally hired a financial advisor. What now? For most of us, a good relationship with our financial advisor is a top priority.

To have the best relationship possible with your financial advisor, here are ten simple tips for you:

1) Be up front about what you expect of your advisor. If your expectations are unreasonable, it is the advisor’s responsibility to make sure that things are adjusted.

2) It is your right to respectfully disagree with your advisor and not take their advice, but if you find that this disagreement is very common, then there is a poor fit.

3) Judge your advisor based on their actions and not those of your previous advisors or “the industry.” It can weaken your relationship with your advisor and hurt communication if they always feel beaten up for someone else’s behaviour.

4) You have a right to know how you are doing. If you are not being given that information or are unsure, don’t be afraid to ask.

5) Measure your adviser fairly. This means basing it on trust over time, seeing them do what they say they will do, and comparing their performance against a reasonable benchmark. For investments, remember that the TSX is an aggressive equity index overweighted in metals, energy and financial services; even among stocks, it is not the appropriate benchmark for the conservative investor.

Tips for Communicating with your Financial Advisor

6) You should call or e-mail your advisor on occasion. This keeps the line of communication open, and keeps your advisor aware that you are interested in your finances.

7 ) Respect your advisor’s time. While you can ask questions and ask for reviews, a reasonable advisor can’t devote too much time to any one client without it negatively affecting other clients.

8) While it is always your money, and you have the right to fire an advisor who isn’t doing a good job – try not to hold your business up as a threat. It simply adds stress to the relationship that isn’t helpful to you as a client.

9) If your advisor is doing a good job, say thank you. If you are really happy and feel comfortable doing so, send referrals.

10) Be honest with your advisor about whether you are happy or unhappy with their service, and provide specifics about why you feel that way. This gives you the best opportunity to improve the relationship and results.

Like any relationship, the one you have with your advisor is a two-way street. Some of the most successful people out there get to that point because they have good advisors, and because they themselves are good clients.  You  can learn more about a good client-advisor relationship from this comprehensive Wharton Business School research report on The Financial Advisor-Client Relationship.

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