The Seven Faces of Valued Advice

What is the value of great advice?

For advisers who have perceived their value to clients as the ability to deliver positive returns year after year or be accurate forecasters of markets, they will be finding it hard to enunciate their value proposition in this complex age we live in.

But there is another group who understand that the value they bring is not dependent on the state of markets. Indeed, their value can be even more evident when markets are down and fear is running high.

The best of these advisers play multiple and nuanced roles with their clients, depending on the stage of the relationship, and are amply rewarded for the manifest skills they bring to the table.

While some may quibble over the exact characterisation, broadly these functions break down to seven important roles that evolve over time:

The Expert: Now, more than ever, investors need advisers who can provide client-centred expertise in assessing the state of their finances and developing risk-aware strategies to help them meet their goals.

The Fiduciary: As a professional fiduciary, advisers can be trusted to put their clients’ best interests first.

The Educator: Getting clients beyond the fear-and-flight phase often is just a matter of teaching them about risk and return, the power of diversification, the importance of asset allocation and the virtue of discipline.

The Architect: Once these lessons are understood, the adviser becomes an architect, helping clients to build a long-term wealth management strategy that lines up with their deepest held values around money.

The Coach: Even when the strategy is in place, doubts and fears will inevitably arise. The noise of the media may also influence new ideas in the client’s mind. The great adviser continues to provide coaching to assist people to continue to make smart financial decisions while reinforcing first principles and keeping the client on track.

The Guardian: Beyond these early experiences is a long-term role for the adviser as a kind of lighthouse keeper or guardian, scanning the horizon for issues that may affect the client and keeping them informed.

The Friend: Generally, the relationship between adviser and client is a long-term one. A great adviser will generally care for their client’s overall wellbeing not just their money.

These are the seven faces of great advice and, when properly applied, become a testimony to the fact that the value of a great financial adviser extends well beyond the writing of a simple financial plan.

Stephen Lowry (CFP Professional, DFP, FAIM, AIF) 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.