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How do you rate your financial planner?

How do you rate your financial planner?

John Hewison
Founder and Director
10 Aug 2015

The most common method used to rate a financial planner is to measure the rate of return achieved for the financial year. This is the unfortunate result of the generally-held misconception that financial planning is all about investment return. 

For example, during market downturns fund managers revel in their ability to outperform the index by approximately 5 per cent. As a client, if the market index fell by 30 per cent, I suspect you wouldn’t be overly thrilled with that result.

Performance is obviously very important, however it’s even more important to understand that performance means different things to different people.

Our 30 years of experience has taught us a lot about prioritising and focusing on the things that are important to our clients, as opposed to trying to “beat the market”.

It has become increasingly evident to us that clients want to concentrate on the things that are most important to them – their goals and objectives. In our opinion, performance should be measured against the achievement of specific client goals. This is going to vary client-to-client and can be tangible as well as intangible, for example seeking to assist children to purchase a house or simply to achieve financial security by the client’s definition.

We challenge ourselves at Hewison Private Wealth in order to earn the trust of our clients, allowing them to open up and share their goals and objectives with us. This enables the development of tailored, strategic advice to achieve the desired outcomes, which are then measured against on an ongoing basis.

By having a close, solid relationship in place it allows planners to empathise, support and pro-actively react to any situation; be it a market downturn or any twist and turn that life can throw at a client. The financial planning relationship can be, and usually is, an emotional journey, and the planner must be equipped to handle this.

Quite often, the conversation we have between couple can uncover hidden goals that one may have of which the other is not aware. It is so important to ensure that both members of a couple are aware of each other’s hopes and dreams and both have buy-in to the eventual strategy. This is the emotional side of a financial planner’s role that is often overlooked and under-appreciated.   

Those are our performance measurements, not some unrelated irrelevant market index that is not in any way reflective of an individual strategy.

If you are concerned about the current market conditions (low growth, low interest rates, volatility etc.), I encourage you to have faith in your planner.  Those that are truly acting in your best interest and are well educated and experienced will have a strategy in place for you that will continue to achieve short term outcomes, such as reliable income generation. There is no need to panic about short term market fluctuations. A good planner will take advantage of the market environment and seek opportunities.

I believe that this comes back to the tried and true portfolio re-balance philosophy that can be relied upon to achieve outperformance by any measure, and one that we live and breathe daily.

Managing a client’s strategic goals is totally more relevant than measuring market performance. It is measureable and the planner is absolutely accountable for achieving outcomes. That is the outcomes that are most important to the client.


The information provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial adviser. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.



Hewison Private Wealth is a Melbourne based independent financial planning firm. Our financial advisers are highly qualified wealth managers and specialise in self managed super funds (SMSF), financial planning, retirement planning advice and investment portfolio management. If you would like to speak to a financial adviser on how you can secure your financial future please contact us 03 8548 4800, email info@hewison.com.au or visit www.hewison.com.auPlease note: The advice provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial advisor. The views in this blog are those of the individual and may not represent the general opinion of the firm. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.