It’s easy to find financial advisers in any major international city; most of us will be happy to spend some time with you in an introductory meeting. Take advantage of this, and meet more than one.
Financial advisers are by no means all the same - we vary in age, experience, qualifications, as well as any specialist areas of knowledge. So ask questions, chat, and see if you feel comfortable with the adviser during the introductory meeting. Can you see yourself working with this person for the long term? Is there rapport? Of course you can always change advisers at any time, but it’s best to get it right from the outset.
During the introduction, the adviser will tell you about his firm, about his own background, and his (or her) approach to working with clients. He’ll also explain how he is remunerated. Most Financial advisers that serve the offshore/expatriate market are remunerated by commissions from the financial institutions, but you may also have the option for a fixed charge, or a fund advisers fee based on assets under management. A blend of these is also possible.
Once you have decided to go ahead and work with an adviser, the next step is the ‘Fact Find’. This is a confidential questionnaire designed to get a snapshot of your current financial situation; this allows the adviser to subsequently make recommendations based on your specific circumstances.
If your spouse or significant other is involved in the financial decisions you make, ideally your adviser should meet you together for the Fact Find.
Finally, your adviser will discuss with you your plans for the future, your priorities and expectations, and may at that stage suggest some specific steps that are appropriate for you. If a particular savings or investment product looks necessary, the adviser may seek your agreement to proceed with the creation of a financial report and recommendation document, which will be presented to you and fully explained a few days later.
Don’t hold back in asking questions at any time and about any area. Your adviser will want you to understand every step of the way, and will fully explain any recommendation made.