Choosing a financial adviser can be a daunting task. You want to make sure that you find someone who has the right skills, is passionate about the finance industry and can help you achieve your goals… but it’s also critical that you find someone you can trust.
The financial services industry has been under a microscope for the last few years, and this has highlighted some disturbing truths about inappropriate professional behaviour. So, it can be difficult to know where you can turn for reliable advice.
Just because a financial adviser’s business card doesn’t have the logo of a specific bank or insurance company displayed in the top right corner, doesn’t mean they aren’t tied to a larger corporate financial organisation.
This is why you should be on the lookout for a self-licensed financial adviser. Being self-licensed gives the adviser a greater degree of autonomy and means they are more likely to work with you to understand your unique needs and financial goals, rather than try to sell you products that help them meet monthly targets.
What is an ASF licence?
An Australian financial services (AFS) licence is a legal requirement for anyone who offers personal financial advice at a professional level or is a general advice provider. ASIC states:
“An Australian financial services (AFS) licence authorises licensees to:
- provide financial product advice to clients;
- deal in a financial product;
- make a market for a financial product;
- operate a registered scheme;
- provide a custodial or depository service;
- provide traditional trustee company services.
An AFS licence is required to conduct a financial services business.”
ASIC is the governing body that oversees the financial services industry. It is responsible for issuing AFS licences and it determines eligibility by assessing a business “on their ability to meet and maintain basic standards such as training, compliance, insurance and dispute resolution.”
When a financial advisory firm holds an AFS licence, it means they are authorised to provide a range of financial services to clients.
Benefits of being self-licensed
Investigations into the financial services industry highlighted troubling practices in many of the major firms. This is where we recognise the benefits of being self-licensed. Here at First Financial, we have held our own AFS licence for many years and are proud of our ability to provide our clients with measured, tailored advice… free from larger corporate interests.
Some of these benefits include:
- our ability to control the direction of the business
- overseeing operations, nurturing our culture and developing our reputation
- flexibility and choice in relation to our recommendations, systems and support services
- not being subjected to dealer group restrictions
- improved outcomes for our clients.
We are also able to follow our unique Investment Philosophy. It is at the heart of everything we do and is designed to produce the results you need… putting cash in your hand. It has proven to be a robust model with clients protected during challenging times.
Talk to our team
Our focus is on being a client-centric firm, which means the relationships we share with you are valuable and engaging. Within our team we have an impressive range of financial services industry experience and specialist skills… enough to rival some of the largest firms.
Being self-licensed enables us to maintain our ‘small firm’ mindset and allows us to commit to providing recommendations in your best interests. This is rare within our industry, and we are fiercely proud of our autonomy.