How to Choose a Financial Planner

You may be considering help from a Financial Planner for any number of reasons, but finding the right one is extremely important because your choice will almost certainly affect the security of your financial future. Working with an appropriately qualified Financial Planner is a crucial first step in helping you meet your short-term and long-term financial goals.

You will want to select a competent, qualified professional with whom you feel comfortable and whose business style suits your financial planning needs. The Financial Planning Standards Board suggests a number of key questions to ask any prospective financial planner and we address these below.

Our answers to the key questions you should ask before choosing your Financial Planner.

1 Q. What are your qualifications?

A. As one of Ireland’s leading financial planning professionals, Paul recognises the importance of education and successfully completed the Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning with a 1st class honours from UCD. Paul is an accredited Certified Financial Planner CFP® which internationally represents the highest level of professional practice in financial planning. Paul was the very first registered Certified Financial Planner in Mayo (Financial Planning Standards Boards register of CFP ® Professionals Dec 2015).

Paul holds a Master’s Degree in Finance & Risk Management (1st class honours) from University College Dublin, is a Fellow of the LIA by diploma, a Qualified Financial Adviser QFA and a qualified Specialist Investment Adviser SIA.

2 Q. What experience do you have?

A. Paul Cawley is a career Financial Planner and has in excess of 35 years’ experience as a financial planner/adviser managing client’s retirement, investment, financial and estate planning affairs. He has managed at a senior management level with some of the top financial houses since 1985, prior to setting up his own impartial Lifestyle Financial Planning advisory firm in 1997 and are members of the Institute of Banking and the LIA.

3 Q. What services do you offer?

A. We offer impartial, holistic, fee-based Financial Planning advice and have designed specific service levels to cover the requirements of most people. Being impartial means we don’t have any shareholding or vested interest in any bank or life company nor do they have any shareholding in Lifestyle Financial Planners, allowing us to access the best deals on your behalf. Please see our ‘Overview of Services’ document for further details.

4 Q. What is your approach to financial planning?

A. We believe in building long-term, trusting relationships with our clients and have many clients dating back decades. Our service levels are designed to cater to most client’s needs including those who require an ‘Holistic’ approach to their financial situation but also to those who have a more specific and pressing requirement for a particular issue to be resolved or advised upon.

5 Q. Will I be working with you only or a team?

A. In order to build trust, we believe in consistency of advice, and in order to help us continue to deliver this best practice advice to our valued clients, we have access to and the back-up of other professionals such as tax advisers, investment guru’s and the like who we are able to call on for more specific areas of expertise when required, all aligned for you, our valued client’s benefit.

6 Q. How will I pay for your services?

A. Lifestyle Financial Planners are a fee based financial planning firm. Our fees are clearly displayed and will be discussed with you at the initial meeting. Please refer to our “Overview of Services”. We take a fully transparent approach to our remuneration and our fees are fully disclosed as an attachment to our Terms Of Business which is provided to all clients.

7 Q. Do you have any Conflicts of Interest that I should be aware of?

A. Ask the planner, regardless of fee structure – if they have a written professional obligation to put your interests ahead of their own. For example, CFP ® professionals, overseen by the Financial Planning Standards Board must annually attest to a code of ethics that clearly states your interests will always come first.

8 Q. Are you regulated by any organisation?

A. Yes, we are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. It is also a fair question to ask a prospective Financial Planner if they have ever been the subject of any disciplinary action which can be verified by contacting the relevant organisation. In our case, this is and always has been, a straight forward no.

9 Q. Can I have it in writing?

A. All clients are provided with our Terms Of Business at the start of the business relationship. All advice given is backed up by written confirmation.

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