How to find the best financial planner

There are possibly two lessons,

  • firstly never believe an ‘news’ other than from reputable websites which one types in the URL to go to (rather than clicking on a link) and
  • secondly, never take financial advice from anyone except those suitably qualified and independent to give such advice.

It is worth noting that even reputable news websites can even get things wrong from time to time.

These websites may be useful.


and suitably licensed.


Maybe and maybe not.

There are rogues and scoundrels who don’t know and don’t care about advising per the customers best interests, or any interests excepting a dollar in their own pockets, but remember that this government has declined to even require financial planners to advise in the best interests of clients. Thus what real value is their license excepting a demonstration they know when they are or are not diddling your dollars?


(I hear that you are cynical :slight_smile: )

A prerequisite for placing any requirements on someone who is giving financial advice is that they are licensed. That serves to identify the advisor (sort of) and provides a basis for establishing legal obligations on an adviser and enforcement of those obligations. Otherwise you can go to a cryptocurrency forum and take the advice of some random participant and you don’t know who they are and if the advice proves to be bad advice, there is no means of enforcing good things like: qualified, independent, advising in your best interests - because a random forum participant has no obligation to be any of those things, and someone who didn’t have an AFSL in the first place can’t be stripped of it.

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What obligations do you refer to? To provide advice and accept payment for same, regardless of whose better interests that advice is in? Oh yes, there is a Code of Conduct, self policed as I read it.

Reality is the licensing regimen requires the planner to:

-have a relevant bachelor or higher degree, or equivalent qualification
-pass an exam
-meet continuing professional development (CPD) requirements each year
-complete a year of work and training (professional year) – although this will not apply for individuals who are already relevant providers before 1 January 2019
-comply with a code of ethics and be covered by a compliance scheme that monitors and enforces compliance with the code of ethics.

That last one looks nice and is documented here. The penalty for non-compliance is being struck off. The process to demonstrate non-compliance could be costly, lengthy, and kept from the public to protect the innocent, but also the guilty. The efficacy of Belle Gibson’s prosecution comes to mind as how enforcement and prosecution might go more often as not.

To be clear I am not saying a licensed planner is not preferable to an unlicensed person, just that a license does not necessarily demonstrate anything beyond the planner has initially met the requirements to be listed.

/no end to my cynicism font :wink:


Definitely a qualified and licensed planner is preferable. Except ours was engaged long before either was the norm or legally required.

There is a large pool of planners who started outside the system and are now within the system.

How much confidence is there that those of doubtful skill did not succeed?

Who’s best interest does the planner serve? In our instance. There was a remarkable change in the Howard era from staid conservative prudent modest returns to a range of brand new investment products. In offering better prospects many of the products met many tests, except those of return over time when compared with the market average. Please explain? No need to as the interests of the customer were being shared equally with the planner and the product provider. Notionally one third of the gains to each of us, although the planners and product provider ensured their minimum return based on fixed fee structures.

Investing directly in the businesses providing the financial products rather than the products would appear to have been the better choice over time. Which Financial Planner would suggest the same?