How to choose a financial advisor

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Nov 30 2013 01:22 PM | Updated as of Nov 30 2013 09:22 PM

MANILA, Philippines – When selecting a professional to handle your finances, credentials and character are the top factors that should be considered, Sun Life Financial’s Al Quitangon said.

Quitangon said you should first be comfortable before entrusting your hard-earned money with an insurance advisor or a financial advisor.

To check the credibility of an advisor, Quitangon said you have to carefully select the company that you want to work with.

Do a quick research on the insurance company’s background online or ask a friend or relative who has an advisor.

“Normally, if they are happy with their advisor, they are going to refer them to you,” Quitangon told ANC’s “On The Money.”

Quitangon said there is also information about insurance companies on social media.

He said that these days, there are not much difference between insurance advisors and financial advisors.

“Most insurance advisors today are trained as financial advisors and they can guide you on retirement, tax and health planning,” he said.

Independent advisors charge a fee while insurance advisors earn commission from the insurance products they sell.

Quitangon said getting an insurance advisor from a life insurance firm is recommended because access to insurance products is easier.

However, he noted that insurance products will cost the same whether you get them from an independent advisor or an insurance advisor.

When choosing an insurance advisor, Quitangon said you should ask yourself these questions:

Do you like the insurance company they represent?
Are you comfortable with the person you are dealing with?
Do you trust them?
What are their credentials?

“Many advisors go out of their way to educate themselves and take advanced schooling such as the Registered Financial Planner program. However, all insurance companies train their advisors before they start going out and give advice to people,” he said.

He added that before selecting an advisor, you must discuss specific details about your needs and make them explain everything to you, including expectations.

He said a financial advisor can provide help with your annual financial review, help you with changes in terms of name of the contract, and give you market updates for investment-laced products, among others.

“Their always updated with what is happening in the market and they’re the ones who can really crunch the numbers for you,” Quitangon said.

He also said that it is best to take time when choosing an advisor and ask questions because, after all, consultations are free.

“They should not be ashamed to ask for a visit because all consultations are free of service because that’s part of the service that we provide for our clients,” he said.