The role of advisers in guiding investors

The role of advisers in guiding investors

Rik Arendsen

In recent months, financial advisers have been in the spotlight as a result of some poor advice provided by a few bad advisers. This made me think about how my clients see me and what my role is as I provide them with advice.

The answer is – my role varies. It depends on the client, and I think clients fall broadly into 3 categories. The best way to explain it to use the analogy of a car:

The Driver/Co-Driver

This investor may have a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF), have good knowledge of investments, and be quite confident running their portfolio. However, occasionally they come into new territory and they need a navigator to guide them through some tricky streets. Or they may also need to get their “car” serviced – from a super perspective this means provision of technical and legislative expertise to ensure the client is running their fund according to the law.

The Back Seat Passenger

Most of our clients fit into this category. They own the car, and have set the destination but they are happy sitting in the back seat while we do the driving and navigating. They love their car and the journey we are going on, but they prefer the back seat where they can enjoy the view, knowing that a trusted, experienced driver will take them safely to their destination.

The Taxi Ride

Clients like this may just use our service because they need to get from A to B. They may need some one-off strategic advice, or perhaps need to set up a new super fund. They expect their visit with us to be short, but professional.

Regardless of the type of client and their specific needs, our clients all agree that our role is to deliver:

  • Education: Demystifying investment jargon and translating it into “people-speak”.
  • Service: Removing complexity, solving problems and doing the grunt work
  • Expertise: On super rules, the right funds, the best shares, or best strategies
  • Experience: What to do when the market is falling, or how to claim your disability insurance.

Of course the best advisers put their client’s interests first, take the time and effort to understand their client’s needs and goals and consistently check in and review these , and lastly and deliver optimal solutions with integrity and honesty.


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