Is it worth using the services of credit and financial advisers?

Advisor adviser uneven. While to become an investment advisor, it is necessary to pass a difficult exam organized by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (as at the beginning of November 2016, there were 569 persons on the list of investment advisors with the appropriate license), virtually anyone can become a financial or credit advisor. See for a summary

Job offers as a client advisor at banks or financial advisory companies focus on soft skills (e.g. interpersonal skills, goal pursuit, and stress management), not financial knowledge. The most important criterion for assessing such employees are their achievements in selling financial products.

What to expect from a financial advisor?

What to expect from a financial advisor?

A good financial advisor should have knowledge. He should understand how the financial products that he offers work, as well as what their market looks like at the moment.

This is the first test whether our advisor shows us a cross-section of possibilities (e.g. mortgage loans, investment funds or bank deposits), or just a small snippet or one offer. Does it clearly show what criteria he used to compare or select the best financial product in his class?

Another test is how he answers our questions. This is especially important for more difficult financial products, e.g. mortgage loans or investment offers. They are considered very complicated, but they are not. It is worth asking simple common sense questions, e.g.

  • Can you lose on it?
  • Can I withdraw money early?
  • Are capital and profit guaranteed, as is the case with a regular bank deposit, etc.?

If the answers to such questions are not satisfactory, it is a sign that you need to look for another adviser.

What after signing the contract?

What after signing the contract?

A good adviser should provide care after signing the contract. It’s not so obvious. On the Internet we will find an infinite number of entries whose authors complain about investment policies, investment funds or badly selected loans. They have signed contracts and nothing can be done with them.

In practice, someone advised them on these products and sold them, but unfortunately they did not add any service or after-sales care. Does our adviser offer any support after buying a financial product from him? What exactly? What can we count on?

Another feature of a good financial and credit advisor is the ability to look at our situation more broadly. The financial products it offers us should be consistent with our needs, capabilities and limitations. They should be chosen for us, not for someone else. They should be made into one whole and not be accidental – this is especially important in the case of savings and investments. Do we have the impression that we get such a comprehensive view from our adviser?

Alternatives to advisers

Alternatives to advisers

An alternative to financial and credit advisors are portals collecting offers from banks and other financial institutions such as SumMoney. They contain not only comparisons of virtually all financial products, from savings accounts to mortgages, but also a huge dose of knowledge about this market. They allow you to make financial decisions more consciously.

Even if we eventually find a client advisor in a bank or a credit advisor in a financial advisory company, knowledge gathered on the internet and better knowledge of financial issues will allow us to be a more demanding customer and to deal with money more effectively.

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