50 things you didn’t know a financial planner should do for you

One of my friends recently asked me “What does a financial planner actually do?”. To be honest, until I entered the profession I wondered very much the same thing myself.

So here I take you behind the scenes and list out, one-by-one, 50 of the most important things an independent financial planner does to ensure they grow and protect your wealth. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.

  1. Offers you an initial meeting which is more than just a sales pitch. They allow you to ask all the questions that you have about the financial planner, their business and their investing approach.
  2. Provides you with a detailed Service Agreement with a transparent, fixed fee up front before you commit to anything
  3. Puts the client’s interest ahead of their own
  4. Behave as a professional
  5. Keeps all your information confidential
  6. Tells you the truth as they see it
  7. Provides independent advice in your best interests not conflicted by ties to any product provider
  8. Achieves and maintains the highest levels of education and professional qualifications (holding a degree and holding the Certified Financial Planner CFP status at a bare minimum) so you know their advice is industry leading
  9. Agrees your important financial goals, sets timeframes and then prioritises them
  10. Provides you with a detailed strategic plan (Statement of Advice) and an executive summary presentation to enable you to achieve your financial goals
  11. Gives advice that enables you to optimise your tax position (it is a significant positive if they also hold an accounting qualification)
  12. Advises you on any windfall gain or inheritance (as part of your agreed fixed fee)
  13. Advises you on any significant change in your family life (separation, divorce, death, etc)
  14. Gives you full and frank advice always. Even when it may be uncomfortable to do so
  15. Constructs an investment strategy that reflects your attitude to risk and return. Ensures that you don’t take any more risk in your portfolio than you have to to achieve your goals
  16. Provides an objective target asset allocation that is then used to compare back to over time
  17. Doesn’t force you to invest via a platform because they make all their clients invest that way
  18. Offers you an online portfolio reporting service so that you can view your investments 24/7
  19. Recommends the appropriate structures that should hold your investments to optimise tax and provide protection (it is a significant positive if they also hold a legal qualification)
  20. Provides you with timely recommendations for opportunistic or strategic investment switches (Record of Advice) to ensure you have the best portfolio in place
  21. Communicates with your accountant and lawyer to ensure your professional advisors work seamlessly in your best interests (ensuring you are included in all communications)
  22. Provides an objective barrier between you, market fluctuations and worries, and your investing decisions
  23. Provides a sounding board for your own investing ideas (it is a significant positive if they also have experience in share markets)
  24. Provides advice around property investing
  25. Holds you accountable to ensure you actively progress towards your goals over time. Measure progress and celebrates success
  26. Educates you on important financial topics in plain English where you want to learn more
  27. Ensures you have the right type of insurance in place, the correct amount of cover and held by the appropriate person or structure
  28. Holds regular review meetings with you
  29. Follows up to ensure all required administrative tasks are completed
  30. Researches, benchmarks and recommends best of breed investment products
  31. Places your trades into the market to ensure you receive the best price (‘best execution’ strategy)
  32. Regularly reviews investment performance and reviews management of product providers
  33. Refuses to accept the old conflicted commissions that are largely discredited (life insurance commissions, etc)
  34. Communicates with you via a regular update/newsletter (preferably written by the advisor, not simply outsourced to a generic newsletter provider)
  35. Offers unlimited correspondence via phone or email as and when you need it
  36. Communicates their Investing Insights with you on a regular basis so that you fully understand any recommendations that you are given
  37. Communicates their thoughts with you when significant things happen in the markets
  38. Explains when they get investment recommendations correct and openly discuss when they get them right/wrong and why they got them right/wrong
  39. Plans the period in which you transition into retirement
  40. Devises a strategy to ensure you will have enough to support your dream retirement
  41. Plans all your contributions to super and ensures you remain within your super contribution caps
  42. Manages all your end of financial year super tasks
  43. Ensures you are invested in the optimum super vehicle (SMSF, retail or industry fund)
  44. Plans how you will draw down a pension to support your dream retirement and ensures you meet your minimum pension requirements
  45. Stays actively involved with industry groups to ensure up to date knowledge of all potential regulatory changes
  46. Undertakes a strategic estate planning project to ensure your wealth is transferred tax effectively and smoothly to the those you want it to go to (it is a significant positive if they also hold a legal qualification)
  47. Provides a strategy around inter-generational wealth strategy
  48. Offers general financial advice to your children as part of their service
  49. Ensures you have all the relevant estate planning legal documents in place
  50. Provides you with the peace of mind that they will provide trusted advice to your spouse or family should something happen to you


Claire Mackay LLB LLM BCom CA CFP CTA

I am a financial planner, SMSF expert and company director. I thrive on providing independent, expert financial advice to my wonderful clients. I was recognised as Financial Planner of the Year 2015 and Investment Adviser of the Year 2014.

To contact me, speak to my team on 02 8084 0453. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or on Twitter or visit my personal website. You can also visit the Quantum Financial website.


Claire Mackay

About Claire Mackay

I am a financial planner, SMSF expert and company director. I thrive on providing independent, expert financial advice to my wonderful clients. I was recognised as Financial Planner of the Year 2015 and Investment Adviser of the Year 2014. My website is here

Leave a Reply