Is he a real financial planner?By Randell Tiongson on February 17th, 2010
The term ‘Financial Planner’ has been a buzz for quite some time now. It makes sense to have a doctor for our medical needs, architects & engineers for our building needs, computer engineers for Information Technology needs – why not a Financial Planner for our personal finance needs?
The benefits of having a Financial Planner makes it a great idea. A Financial Planner’s best trait is that he sees the ‘big picture’ of your financial life and will be more objective and more deliberate in helping you achieve your financial goals.
However, just like in any profession, not everyone deserves to be called a ‘professional’. In the absence of any local regulation or guidelines, anyone can call himself a ‘Financial Planner’ without having the necessary training, education or certification. Worse, there are self-serving companies that certify their own people as financial planners. There are so many individuals who decided to start putting the term ‘Financial Planner’ in their business cards and the public got more confused as to who is a financial planner and what a financial planner really does. Agents of financial services products started to ride on the wave of financial planning, calling themselves financial planners and yet their only objective is to sell their products. There’s nothing wrong with selling financial products, it is a very noble profession but my beef is when the public is being mislead just so that one can make a sale.
Further, a fancy designation, though helpful, is not a guarantee that a person is a real financial planner. The acid test of a financial planner is if he subscribes to an accepted financial planning process and willing to put his program on paper, also referred to as a financial plan. A good gauge to discern a real financial planner is if he subscribes to the internationally accepted 6 Step Financial Planning Process (by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards):
1. Establishing and defining the client-planner relationship.
The financial planner should clearly explain or document the services to be provided to you and define both his and your responsibilities. The planner should explain fully how he will be paid and by whom. You and the planner should agree on how long the professional relationship should last and on how decisions will be made.
… to be continued.