It’s important to know whether you are receiving legitimate financial advice, or if you’ve just had a conversation with somebody about finances because these are two very different things. You may have a chat with someone about buying a property, or setting up a self-managed super fund, or making super contributions, or even investing in shares, but are they qualified to give you financial advice? And are they doing it in a channel that gives you consumer protection?
Financial Advisers are registered on the Financial Adviser’s Register (FAR) that is open to the public. Here you can see if someone is a current Financial Adviser, who they are licenced through and what different areas they can advise you on. You can also see their qualifications, which by 2026 all Advisers must have an approved degree equivalent or higher education to be able to provide advice.
Accountants specialise in different areas of finance and have their own register, however, they may not be ‘Financial Advisers.’ Some aspects of financial advice and taxation advice do overlap, and it helps to have an Adviser that will liaise with your Accountant and other business professionals to ensure the best possible outcomes for you.
As a retail client, after you have contacted a Financial Adviser, they will step you through a process of gathering everything that they need about your financial situation and needs, and then outline how they would propose to provide you advice. You will then receive a Financial Services Guide (FSG) which is a compliance requirement that will outline who your Adviser is, what areas of advice they can provide and the costs you would expect to incur. This is just a rough guide at that point in time, but it also outlines who you could speak to if you ever had a complaint because there are regulatory bodies that are there for the consumer’s protection so that if you receive what you feel is bad advice you can make a complaint.
The next step in the advice process is engaging the Adviser’s services. Here you will receive an Agreement that outlines a set of services for your specific needs and the expected fees. If you agree to this, a document called a Statement of Advice is then produced that outlines all the pros and cons of any products and strategies recommended. If you have not received the above, it is unlikely to be legitimate financial advice (as a retail client).
If you have received holistic advice, the next step is for the Adviser and their team to implement the recommendations, once approved by the client of course. Following this, there will likely be regular review meetings to ensure you are on track and make any adjustments that are needed to the original recommendations following your different life events and changes over time.
Teneale Laister (CFP® Professional, AFP®, BCom[Fin,FP,Mgt](Hons), ADFS[FP]) is a representative of Alman Partners Pty Ltd, Australian Financial Services Licence No: 222107.
Note: This material is provided for information only. No account has been taken of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person or entity. Accordingly, to the extent that this material may constitute general financial product advice, investors should, before acting on the advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to the investor’s objectives, financial situation and needs. This is not an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities or other financial products, nor a solicitation for deposits or other business, whether directly or indirectly.