Needless to say the preliminary question is – do I even need a Financial Advisor, or so called Independent Financial Advisor (IFA)?

Any advisor will know the ins-and-outs of choosing particular Offshore Financial Centres.

The fact is that with globalisation there are endless choices to make, and these choices are available from recognised financial centres based in different jurisdictions from all over the world. These include, Bermuda, The Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Luxembourg, Malta and the Virgin Islands just to name a few. Each of these jurisdictions is specifically structured to insure favourable treatment for people investing through instruments registered in these types of jurisdictions. Legitimate personal tax avoidance, as opposed to tax evasion, is one critical aspect. The avoidance of taxation by the companies based in these places also adds to the potential profits to people using investment funds based in these places.

In addition, many well respected international companies register their sophisticated umbrella fund structures here to allow investment funds to be placed in funds from countries around the world and into the whole range of opportunities including, equities, government bonds, company bonds, commodities, real estate, and into a host of other specialist arenas.

Advisors who know their way around are definitely the ones to get engaged with, and here is a list of questions to ask them to make sure they are indeed ‘in the know’, and enable you to feel confident to get started using their services:

  • How long have you been in financial services?
  • How long has the company you represent been in the financial planning business?
  • What are your qualifications?
  • Are you a member of a professional association?
  • Do you have a dealer’s or advisor’s licence registered with the appropriate authorities in the country in which you are based?
  • What ongoing services do you provide?
  • What research do you provide to support the recommendations that you will make?
  • What is your method of remuneration and what fees do you charge?
  • Can you show me samples of investment portfolios that you have recently set up?

The fact is that the use of a professional broker or advisor is a great help, especially when it comes to making choices with what it is you should be investing in, depending on your timeline and risk profile. Then, by keeping a beady eye on the investments on an ongoing basis, and getting back to you on a regular basis as to how things are going, is a welcomed backup plan.

A really tuned in advisor can also make recommendations with regard to taxation issues, estate planning and the setting up of trusts with named beneficiaries as and when appropriate.

As with the selection of any professional service provider, like a lawyer, a doctor or an accountant, the decision is critical to ensure the path ahead is crystal clear.

It makes sense to shop around, and not only by talking to several different advisors, but also to friends and relatives and even to members of chambers of commerce in your area.

In the modern age it makes sense to glean information through the internet and to check out advisory firms’ websites to get a feel for their approach to their clients.

At the end of the day, advisory firms do come and go, and in that event you will need to sign a ‘Change of Agency’ form once you have gone through the whole rigmarole again on which currently available IFA you are prepared to deal with! Either way, it will all be worth engaging in the whole preliminary palaver again, in detail, so that you can cruise ahead into a bright future.

All things being equal, your path to financial independence will be looming bright and large on the horizon, thanks to your well-chosen, recommended, experienced, professional and trusted Independent Financial Advisor.