the value of financial planning advice - some elements signpostedHow do we decide we have received ‘value’?

The value of financial planning advice is not just perceived: it is a realised experience for most clients of professional financial planners.

We are all conscious of the costs of things generally (whether they be ‘goods’ or ‘services’): at the end of the day, we don’t want to spend our hard-earned money on anything that doesn’t give at least, perceived value. Sometimes it is the way we were treated by a sales team/ person; sometimes by the back-up service; and sometimes it is just the superb performance of the item/ service purchased that changes the discussion we have about cost – and attribute a description of ‘value’ to the transaction.

This analysis applies as much to washing machines and electronic devices as it does to professional services – and we at Continuum Financial Planners Pty Ltd are conscious that there has been considerable publicity in recent years regarding the way in which financial planners are paid for the professional services they deliver (and at what value). This was particularly prevalent during the period following the GFC (2008) and the aftermath of that event, that resulted in increased regulation of financial services participants – particularly, of financial planners.

With a strong move away from ‘commissions’ to fund the cost of advice (and of the ongoing information about invested funds and the portfolios they constitute), to ‘fee for advice/ service’ models, it is more prevalent that planners are being asked to justify fees, even those that are no greater than were being charged under the previous structure.

The value of financial planning advice from Continuum Financial Planners Pty Ltd 

One of the tag-lines for Continuum Financial Planners is that we provide ‘personalised, professional wealth management advice’. Our value proposition is that – ‘we listen, we understand, we have solutions’. Within the confines of these mantra, we seek to provide comfort to our clients that the wealth they have accumulated (or are in the process of accumulating) is managed in a way that allows them ‘to sleep at night’ – and to achieve their lifestyle goals and objectives leading up to and in retirement.

Unfortunately, these processes are not visible on a day-to-day basis and clients occasionally lose sight of the fact that we are working to long-term objectives – sometimes a couple of decades away – and that the strategies we recommend have to take the relevant timeframes into account. The value of financial planning advice (and the ongoing services we deliver), are explained in discussions with clients directly – but can also be read about in our website, at the Fee Policy Page; and in Library articles such as ‘The Value of Advice: portfolio reviews‘.

We can neither control the financial markets, nor accurately predict their course over any particular short-term: however, we understand the needs expressed by our clients; and we understand the financial products that are commonly available to use in implementing the strategies to meet their goals.

What backs up the financial planning advice (and ongoing service) our clients receive?

Clients benefit from the operational efficiency that Continuum Financial Planners Pty Ltd brings to their advice and ongoing care. The background to our fulfillment of the professional service we provide, ranges through the following:-

  • attainment of professional qualifications;
  • alignment with the holder of an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL);
  • establishment of adequate resources to operate a professional office (including staff to provide the requisite services);
  • maintenance of professional knowledge to comply with ASIC requirements to: know your client; and know your product;
  • provide strategic advice to clients that is relevant to their needs, goals and objectives;
  • deliver services to clients relevant to their expressed needs and in accordance with the fee charged for such;
  • meet operational and professional standards satisfying the requirements and guidance of professional bodies and the licence-holder;
  • complying with regulatory and statutory obligations applicable to most businesses; and
  • return a risk-related return to the owners of the business.

How is all of this relevant to the individual client? Without all of the above ‘ducks being in line’ there will be difficulty and stresses that eventually show up – and could cause errors and omissions: this is not a situation that Continuum Financial Planners Pty Ltd could ever contemplate and we take extreme care to monitor the costs of delivering the services that are called upon by our clients in an effort to ensure that we can continue to meet all of the needs as and when they are required.

How is Continuum Financial Planners Pty Ltd different from other financial planner firms?

Other financial advisers have to meet the same regulatory requirements as we do, so what is the value proposition from Continuum Financial Planners? We believe that much of that lies in the statements this article opened with: we listen, we understand, we have solutions – and we deliver those solutions on the basis of ‘personalised, professional wealth management advice’ so that our clients can enjoy that ‘sleep at night’ not worrying about this aspect of their futures. We would add that ‘we care’ about the outcomes experienced by our clients – and pay close attention to the way we communicate with clients to support their confidence in us.

We thank our clients for their loyal support; and we thank those of you who support the growth and development of our business by referring friends, family and acquaintances to us (thereby keeping our marketing costs low; and our operational costs efficient).

The value of financial planning advice is available to you

The Continuum Financial Planners Pty Ltd team of experienced financial planners and support team are ready to deliver their high standard of advice and ongoing service to you: to arrange a meeting and see how we can harness these efficiencies to your benefit, call our office – 07-3421 3456 – or use the website Contact Us facility; and be assured of prompt and courteous attention.

[This article was originally posted in the October 2010 eNews under the title ‘Where is the value?’ : it has been occasionally updated/ refreshed, most recently, in June 2017.]