10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Planner

Markus Muhs - Nov 21, 2018

10 questions that everyone should ask their financial advisor, whether they currently deal with them or are planning on dealing with a new one.

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada; a time when a lot of companies providing financial services to Canadians hop onto the bandwagon and market the importance of financial planning. This is me doing likewise, but I want to provide the reader some value on this post so that it doesn't come off purely as me advertising myself, but can also be used as a resource for those living in jurisdictions I don't cover or who just don't want to do business with me.

The Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC, or FP Canada, as it will be rebranding to next year) celebrates its 10th annual Financial Planning Week this week (Nov 18th to 24th). This non-profit organization governs the CFP® designation in Canada and sets the professional standards that we must all adhere to. They also have a great consumer-focused website called Financial Planning for Canadians and from there I got their list of 10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Planner

Over the years I've actually occasionally had a prospective client bring this list of questions to their initial meeting with me. It's for this reason that I actually give the below list of answers to every prospective clients. Now they'll be online for all to see:

 

1.  What are your qualifications?

I have a bachelors degree in business, am a Certified Financial Planning (CFP®) professional, holder of the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM®) designation, have completed certificates in Retirement Strategy and Advanced Investment Advice, and adhere to rigorous annual continuing education requirements (requirement to maintain the CFP is roughly 3x the minimum to maintain a license).

 

2.  What experience do you have?

I have over 10 years experience as a financial planner.

 

3.  What services do you offer?

Retirement planning, education planning, cash flow management, planning for major purchases, tax planning, and portfolio management. Estate & insurance planning* with help from a teammate.

 

4.  What is your approach to financial planning?

A dynamic and regularly updated financial plan for all clients, presented as a one time snapshot (the plan document) as well as an interactive plan accessible by the client through an online portal. Key thing to keep in mind is that financial planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time event.

 

5.  Will you be the only person working with me?

Jeff Haggerty, CFP®, CLU® is brought in when there are more complex estate planning goals and insurance needs.

 

6.  How will I pay for your services?

Financial planning is offered for on a fee-only basis (paid by cheque) or as part of an all-inclusive asset based fee (charged monthly to investment accounts).

 

7.  How much do you typically charge?

At minimum $2000 per year for a client household. Full details on my Our Fees page.

 

8.  Could anyone besides me benefit from your recommendations?

Life insurance is still a commission-driven world, so Jeff earns a base salary plus commission which is split 50/50 between him and I for any insurance needs fulfilled via CGWEPSL. All investment recommendations are commission-free but may be placed with third-party providers of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and/or mutual funds, as determined to be in the best interest of the client.

 

9.  Are you regulated by any organization?

I am registered as a Registered Representative and Portfolio Manager with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), the securities commissions of Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario, and held to the fiduciary standards of the Financial Planning Standards Council’s Standards of Professional Responsibility.

 

10.  Can I have it in writing?

You’re looking at it.

 

 

*Estate & Insurance planning are provided by Canaccord Genuity Wealth and Estate Planning Services Ltd.