In years gone by, many clients would approach their banks for Investment and Insurance advice or perhaps a friend who worked at a specific Insurance Institution. Or perhaps slightly more concerning, the beer in hand around the braai advice by someone who swears by the guaranteed returns they have received of 20% on their investment! Sound advice? Perhaps not! The phrase, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true” rings true! Promising a guaranteed return at that rate on any investment should be giving you those flashing warning signs. The art of looking for any portfolio advice is to ensure you are getting it from a reputable company or advisor whose expertise has been proven and that the offerings and projections look realistic. Sadly though, there are still the odd not-so-reputable advisors and institutions promising unrealistic returns and one has to really be aware of these traps.
So this brings me to the Independent Advisor topic.
Things have changed drastically in the product offerings front and most certainly in the regulation of the Advisory Industry. In fact, things have become so regulated that if you want to call yourself an Independent Advisor, you need to be able to offer sound, unbiased advice and products from a variety of Institutions. Independent Advisors may not be tied to any Institution nor may any conflict of interest exist.
As an advisor I still see so many outdated portfolios with old generation products that have hardly kept up with inflation or with the client’s needs. Most portfolios have not been reviewed in years. This is where an Independent Advisor can assist by reviewing your entire portfolio no matter what products you have or with which company it is with. We can advise, tweak, move or add to – as this is our field of expertise.
Interaction with us as Independent Advisors usually looks something like this:
1. The client signs a consent form for us to review his portfolio.
2. A summary of all policies linked to the client’s ID is drawn.
3. An in-depth look at the policies, funds, fees, benefits and terms of the current policies are done.
4. The client is seen again to discuss the findings and the client’s needs and goals.
5. If need be, the portfolio is re-structured in alignment with the client’s current situation and current goals.
6. The client and advisor will meet again to discuss any questions they may have and/or to sign changes to their portfolio.
7. The advisor implements the changes and informs the client once completed.
8. The advisor and the client agree on a review date annually to ensure that the client’s portfolio stays current and up to date.
So, the idea of having an Independent Advisor is to have someone look at your portfolio holistically and not just at one or two aspects of it. An Independent Advisor should be able to review and advise on Medical Aids and GAP cover, Retirement and Annuity plans, Life Policies, Investments and Savings and tax implications of investments. Calculate shortfalls and advise if a Will and Testament or Estate Planning is needed and advise and assist companies on Group Benefits to best suit their specific needs.
The value of an Independent Advisor cannot be equaled. Our aim is to (as Regulation states) treat our customers fairly, exercise due diligence and offer independent, unbiased advice, tailor made for each individual. To always stay transparent and depending on which product supplier we choose, the client can rest assured that it is with reputable companies with sound track records which have proven over the years to be reliable and sustainable.
Feel free to contact me for any Portfolio Revisions or questions you may have.