Our Adviser Profile this week is Alison Greenwood, a Platinum adviser with 9 client reviews with an average client rating of 100%. Alison, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), is the Director of Financial One in Hobart, Tasmania.
- Best thing about being a financial adviser?
For me, being a financial adviser is about assisting people to live a better life. I love seeing the difference I can make to a person’s lifestyle, and to their ability to feel secure.
- One thing you would like to see improved or changed in the industry?
I believe in regulation, but I do find that the need to provide Statements of Advice have become excessive. The majority of my clients, feel that there is a lot of generic information that is repeated. I would like to see Statements of Advice simplified more for clients and with less emphasis on repetition and more emphasis on clearly digestible information.
- The areas on their finances or economy that worry your clients the most?
Clients are mainly concerned about not having enough money to retire on or not getting their debt paid off prior to retirement. As for economic worries, I have discussed with my clients that downturns in markets can be exciting opportunities to purchase more shares at lower prices, rather than be concerned about losing value.
- What's the strangest question a client has ever asked you?
I have had some unusual questions over the last 20 years of being an adviser, but I think the strangest question, was a client asking me if they could sign something to allow me to operate their accounts, because they wanted me to just do what I thought was best. I was horrified! No Adviser is legally able to do this.
- If you could get three things into consumers' heads about what advisers do or don't do what would they be?
a) Advisers cannot guarantee returns, no one can. Advising is about education, and helping clients to achieve financial goals. It is about helping clients maximise income and legally minimise tax.
b) A good adviser spends many hours a week understanding the economic and political climate. You cannot provide solid advice unless you understand current rules and regulations that relate to superannuation and investing.
c) Good advisers understand people and can explain financial concepts in a way that is simple and easy. Good advisers take their time to get to know their clients so they can be better equipped to work effectively with them over a long period of time. An adviser should listen just as much if not more than they talk.
- How do you describe your job?
I am the director of Financial One, so my job is varied and full. I run a business, manage staff, and look after clients. It is challenging and rewarding. I am also keen on promoting financial literacy to women and to youth, so I am involved in financial programs in a school that helps girls and through a volunteer mentoring service that empowers business women.
- What should a client do before going to see a new financial adviser?
The best thing a client can do before seeing a new adviser is a budget. A budget is often thought of as a painful exercise, but it can shed so much light on your financial situation and what you spend your money on. These days, most bill paying is done through internet banking, so budgets are not nearly as hard as they use to be. Having a budget allows an adviser to understand what a client’s spending patterns are and what excess they have to invest.
- What is the best super fund to invest in?
This is the question I get the most from new clients. Clients think because of all the media and advertising hype around superannuation, that it in itself is a type of investment. However Superannuation is in fact a tax structure like a Family Trust or a Company. What you then decide to invest in within superannuation is up to you. People can invest in property, term deposits and shares. The returns from these investments have a lot to do with how long you have to invest along with economic factors. The returns you achieve from your superannuation fund, depends on how you want it structured and the volatility you are prepared to accept.