Definition: Loyalty [noun] “A strong feeling of support or allegiance”. While there are times in life when loyalty is a desirable trait to have, one thing is for sure, loyalty to a Broker/Consultant or Financial Plan that is not benefiting you, is not one of those times.
Having been involved in the Corporate Employee Benefits space for many years it never ceases to amaze me how often blind loyalty leads to financial losses that can never be recouped.
In my role as an Employee Benefits Consultant I often come into contact with companies that have been with their “Consultant” for many years and are not initially open to a review of their Employee Benefits. When approached, their comments range from “No thanks, we’re very happy with what we have,” to “We already have a Consultant that has been with us for many years and knows our business, we are not interested.”
These responses are acceptable, except when they are at the cost of the employees or company without their realizing it. What do I mean by this? Well, there is often a misguided sense of loyalty to a Consultant because they are already providing a service and the client is happy with them.
What is not always evident is the quality of the service they are receiving and how to compare this to what is available to them.
My advice to companies is that, as it is their responsibility to know what is available to them, they should review their benefits, investments and their Consultant regularly. It is their right to demand and receive exceptional service and expert advice, which only their Consultant can offer.
Having convinced many of those companies to review their current offering, in almost every case there was over charging on risk cover, excessive and hidden fees that were eating away at the investments and often poor administration in general.
There are many excellent Consultants and Financial Advisers out there but it takes more than long standing relationships and loyalty to ensure you are getting the best service and independent advice available.
Here are 10 questions to determine if your loyalty to your Consultant could be costing you money.
- Do you feel a sense of loyalty to your Broker/Consultant?
- Does your Consultant have the qualification, skills and knowledge to provide you with the best and most up to date/ relevant advice?
- Is your Consultant independent and able to offer you a variety of options for Risk, Administration and Investments?
- Have they provided you with a Risk Re-broke within the past year?
- Have they recently reviewed your Investment Strategy and is it still relevant?
- Are you totally clear on every fee, commission and cost that affects your investments, including their fees and commissions?
- How often do they meet with you face-to-face?
- Do they have a robust infrastructure supporting them that offers you access to online retirement planning technology with the ability to transact in your own time?
- Have they been able to provide you insightful advice to improve and protect your wealth?
- Do they understand your business and your needs and are they able to provide a service offering that meets these?
If you answered yes to most of these, then congratulations, you are in the hands of a capable Consultant! If not, it might be time to reach out and see what is available and I am sure it will be a very worthwhile exercise.
Choosing a Financial Advisor and Consultant can be a tricky exercise but here are some great pointers in a write up by Eugene Maree: