Working with an Adviser

Financial adviser a coupleMany Manitobans choose to work with a registered financial adviser to help them meet their personal financial goals. Whether you choose to go with an adviser or fly solo depends largely on your unique financial situation.

Selecting an Adviser

If you would like to work with a financial adviser, but don’t know where to start, consider taking these first few steps:

1.  Ask family and friends for referrals.

If its someone they’ve worked with and have had success with, that’s a great way to understand who they are and the services they provide.

2.  Do your homework!

Check to see if the recommended adviser is registered to work in Manitoba, or whether they’ve had disciplinary action taken against them using this National Registration Search Tool provided by the Canadian Securities Administrators.

3.  Have an in-person interview with at least two or three registered advisers.

Prepare your questions in advance so you will get an apples-to-apples comparison.  This list could include:

  • What is their education and work experience
  • How long they’ve been with their current employer and how long their employer has been operating
  • How they’re compensated
  • What products and services they are able to offer
  • How they decide on investments for each client
  • How they intend to help you reach your goals
  • How often they like to meet or update clients
  • Whether they’ve ever been disciplined by a regulator and if they’re currently under investigation by a regulator

After meeting with each adviser, ask yourself:

  • Do you have a certain level of comfort with that individual?
  • Do they answer your questions so that you understand what they are talking about?
  • Will they provide the level of service that you expect?

Tip:  Individuals who have smaller investment accounts should expect to meet with an adviser once a year. Those with a larger portfolio might want to meet more frequently. 

  • Do they offer products that you think might be a good fit for your investment portfolio?
  • Do you feel that they will be able to provide the level of support and assistance that will allow you to meet your financial goals?

If they do, great. If they don’t, then you should continue to meet with other advisers before making a decision.

The relationship that you have with your adviser is a very personal one. It is very important that you feel comfortable working together.

Working with an adviser

Make sure you prepare for all meetings with your financial adviser. This checklist will help you to identify the steps you need to take before during and after a meeting.

Once you’ve selected an adviser, they will begin working with you to understand your current financial situation, identify short-term financial needs and some long-term financial goals you would like to work towards. To do this, they will ask you to complete a Know Your Client (KYC) form, which will ask for the following information:

  • Age, and dependents
  • Annual income
  • Investment needs and objectives, financial circumstances,
  • Overall net worth (i.e., assets minus liabilities)
  • Investment knowledge and experience

It is important that you respond as honestly as you can, even if you don’t have precise answers. This information will assist your adviser to make appropriate recommendations for you. Some people may over or under-estimate their financial knowledge, so try to be honest and realistic about what you do and do not know.

If your financial situation changes significantly, you should also notify your adviser so they can review and make appropriate recommendations. Important changes could be a higher paying job, the loss of a job, the birth of a child, or a change in marital status.

For more guidance on financial advisers, check out the Manitoba Financial Services Agency’s information sheet “Questions to ask when choosing a financial adviser.

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