At Andep Investment Consultancy, we find that the majority of our clients only require “general” financial advice. These meetings involve your adviser clarifying factual information in respect of taxation, superannuation and financial products and they will also discuss the pros and cons of different strategies but in a general sense. General advice can help to identify and narrow down your options, but no recommendations are give for your personal situation. General advice contrasts with “personal” advice, which involves consideration of your personal objectives and financial situation. Personal advice will involve very specific recommendations being made to you for financial products and strategies for you to implement. The law dictates that a formal document, called a Statement of Advice, must be prepared as part of providing personal advice and as such it can be more time intensive to prepare and thus more expensive.
We find that most clients who seek out advice wish to retain control of their own financial affairs but would like to be more educated on certain matters and have a professional guide them in the right direction. Given the right information they are happy to make their own informed decisions regarding their finances and do not need an adviser to take over the management of their investments or provide specific recommendations. Other advisers will often arrange for their clients’ investments and superannuation to be held on investment platforms (often known as Wrap accounts) that are “adviser directed”, meaning the client can usually view their investments but cannot make changes to their own account. This has the effect of somewhat tying the client to that adviser, as the adviser must execute even very simple tasks, when in actuality the client is likely capable of managing their own accounts. We almost never recommend such products and like our clients, where possible, to retain complete control of their own finances. We prefer to educate our clients on relevant matters to empower them to manage their own affairs rather than relying entirely on an adviser. Sometimes we simply act as a sounding board for ideas a client already has and we will discuss the pros and cons of those ideas and possible alternatives the client has not considered.
We offer one-off advice for both general and personal advice needs. We do not lock clients into an ongoing service arrangement where annual fees are charged regardless of the level of service provided that year. Some clients will require advice multiple times in a single year whereas others require it every few years or some only once in their lifetime- perhaps at a key stage such as retirement or receipt of an inheritance. Throughout your life you may require accounting or legal advice but you don’t generally pay these professionals an annual fee each year just in case you may require their advice. Most advice needed is on an ad-hoc basis and we ready and willing to see clients, at their discretion, as often or as infrequent as they desire.