Financial advice is a service provided by a licensed financial adviser (also known as a financial planner), that can help you make financial decisions. Financial advice can help you with budgeting, investing, superannuation, retirement planning, estate planning, risk management, insurance and taxation. There will probably be times in your life when you're not sure of what decisions you need to make about your financial future. There are different financial products we offer and choosing between them can be difficult. Getting the right kind of financial advice can make a big difference. It can help give you more confidence that your borrowing and/or planning is on track for the future and fit for purpose.
If you have little experience of dealing with finances or you're confused about making a decision, it may be helpful to get professional financial advice.
A financial adviser can help with things like:
• taking out a loan
• identify short, medium and long-term goals
• develop strategies to achieve your financial goals
• better manage your moneydevelop an investment plan
• choose tax-effective investments
• work out your insurance needs
• plan for your retirement
Advice or guidance?
Some individuals and organisations – often a family or friend - offer financial guidance. This is different to financial advice. Guidance provides you with information about the various options available to you, but should not recommend any particular option over another. Financial advice, however, informs you which specific product would best suit your needs.
Unless a family or friend that is guiding you with your application with us, is a qualified financial professional - you would need to seek an advice from an independent financial professional as Sikamaster does not provide any pre-application advice - we are direct lenders and not financial advisers or brokers.
Guidance services are not regulated by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), but Financial Advisory are - This means if things go wrong with your financial choice via the former, you may not be able to complain SEC.
If you are not sure whether you are receiving guidance or advice, ask the adviser or organisation to explain.
Financial advisers look at your personal circumstances and your financial plans and recommend products to help you meet your needs.
There are two types of financial advisers:
• Independent financial advisers (IFAs) - give unbiased advice about the whole range of financial products from all the different companies available
• Restricted advisers - give advice on a limited range of products. They may specialise in one area, for example mortgages, or they may only offer advice on products offered by a limited number of companies. It's usually best to get independent financial advice so that you can look at the widest range of advice and products available. Sikamaster loans will fall under this category if it ever decides to start offering advice.
It's usually best to get independent financial advice so that you can look at the widest range of advice and products available
Making sure your adviser is qualified and registered
All financial advisers should be registered with the SEC. This means they meet the right standards and you get more protection if you’re not happy with the service. For example, you can complain to the SEC and may be able to claim compensation if things go wrong. If a financial adviser is not registered with the SEC, you can make a complaint to the SEC, but with no compensation expected.
Don’t be afraid to ask an adviser about their qualifications and Professional Standing.
To check a financial adviser is registered with the SEC see the SEC Register opens in new window.
How to check you're getting the right advice
When you see an adviser they should give you the right kind of advice for your financial needs. If they don’t, you may be able to complain.
The financial products that an adviser recommends should:
• be affordable for you
• take account of whether you want to borrow for the long or short term
• be suitable for the amount of risk you want to take
• take account of whether you pay tax.
If an adviser ignores these points and recommends a product that is not right for you, and you later lose money because of this, you can complain. An adviser only has to give you the right kind of advice within the limits of what they are qualified to do. If a financial adviser can't find a product to suit your needs, they must refer you to another adviser who can help you. If they don’t do this, you may be able to complain.
Checklist of things to do at your first meeting with an adviser
Here's some tips about things to do at your first meeting with a financial adviser:
• check that the adviser you are seeing is qualified to give you the advice you need
• take notes so that you have a clear record of what was said at the meeting
• ask lots of questions and make sure you understand everything you are told
• take time to think about any decisions or to compare products with another adviser. You don’t have to sign up for anything on the spot
• be prepared to answer questions honestly. A financial adviser will ask you lots of personal questions about your financial plans and personal circumstances so that they can recommend the most suitable products for you
• check that your personal information is kept confidential, and find out whether it is used for marketing purposes.
How much will the advice cost
You will have to pay for financial advice and you may also have to pay charges on the financial products you're borrowing.
You need to be very clear about how much the advice is costing you and what the charges are on the products you are recommended. Make sure you understand all the costs involved and compare fees and charges between different advisers before you make a final decision. You may be able to get the same product at a cheaper price with another adviser.