Advice

10.31.2023

All the Financial Advisor Fees You Should Know About (2023 Update)

James O'Reilly
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Table of Contents

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore financial advisor fees, delve into the factors influencing financial advisor fees in Australia, and answer frequently asked questions.

When it comes to managing your financial future, having the right guidance is crucial. Financial advisors play an integral role in helping individuals make informed decisions and enable a secure financial future.

Before you dive into the world of financial advice, it's important to understand the various financial advisor fees and how they might apply to your unique situation. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore these costs, delve into the factors influencing financial advisor fees in Australia, and answer frequently asked questions.

How Much Does a Financial Adviser Cost?

The first question that often comes to mind is, "How much does a financial adviser cost?" The answer isn't one-size-fits-all, as financial advisors in Australia employ various fee structures to match their services. Let's explore these fee structures in detail, ensuring you have a clear understanding of the financial advisor costs you might encounter.

How Financial Advisors Charge

How Financial Advisors Charge

Let's take a look at the most common ways that financial advisors typically charge their clients:

Fee-for-Service

Financial advisors understand that clients have diverse needs. That's why some advisors charge based on the specific service they provide, whether you require some basic ongoing advice, or a full Statement Of Advice (SOA).

In this model, it's reasonable to expect a detailed breakdown of the services being offered and your specific fee to receive those services. The upside of this advice fee structure is a high level of transparency, and allowing you to commit to the specific services which you feel are needed or valuable.

Percentage of Assets Under Management (AUM)

Another common fee structure sees financial advisors charging based on a percentage of the assets they manage on your behalf, known as the 'Assets Under Management' (AUM) or 'Funds Under Management' (FUM). Typically, this asset-based or percentage fee falls within the range of 0.5% to 1.5% per year.

Advisors who use this fee structure argue that it aligns their success with yours, as they have a vested interest in growing your investment portfolio, which will in turn grow their ongoing fees. The downside is that an investment balance of $2 million may pay ten times higher fees than a balance of $200,000, despite the fact that the service has been fairly similar for both accounts.

Commission-based

We're pleased to report that many product-based commissions are now a thing of the past. Recent regulatory changes, such as the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms, have banned most commission-based fees to reduce conflicts of interest and better protect consumers. Commissions are still received by most financial advisors in Australia, but only in very limited cases - for instance if they establish a personal insurance policy on your behalf. In this case, it is the insurer that pays the financial advisor directly, which can result in lower and sometimes nil additional payments for the client.

Hourly rates

Hourly rate fees are a less common method of charging fees for financial advisors, but they still pop up from time to time. Hourly rates for an experienced financial advisor typically range from $275 to $550 per hour, depending on their background and areas of expertise. Financial advisors tend to avoid this model because there are often many hours of 'back-end work' to accompany each hour of client-facing time, which can leave some people feeling that they are being overcharged on a pure hourly rate.

What Factors Affect Overall Financial Advisor Costs?

What Factors Affect Overall Financial Advisor Costs?

Now, let's dive into the factors that influence financial advisor costs. Whether you're considering working with a financial advisor in Australia or elsewhere, these determinants will help you understand how financial advisors typically establish their pricing:

  1. Type of Service: Different types of financial advice come with different fee structures. For instance, comprehensive financial planning is likely to cost more than isolated advice on a single issue, such as purchasing some shares or making additional contributions to super. The complexity and breadth of the financial plan will therefore play a significant role in determining the cost.
  2. Fee Structure: The fee structure you choose can significantly impact the total cost of financial advice. Depending on your financial requirements and preferences, you may determine that you're going to obtain a better outcome via a fee-for-service, percentage-based fees, or commission-based structure. By aligning the fee structure with your needs, you can make an informed decision about the financial advisor costs.
  3. Level of Expertise and Experience: The expertise and experience of a financial advisor will affect your fees. Advisors with more experience, qualifications, and specialised expertise will charge higher fees than those who are less experienced. Seeking advice from a Certified Financial Planner or an advisor with a strong reputation may come at a premium, but this will only ensure a financial plan that reflects the value of their experience.
  4. Reputation and Brand: Well-established firms or highly regarded financial advisors may charge more for their services due to their brand recognition and track record of success. While this might mean higher financial advisor costs, it can also provide confidence in the quality of the advice you receive, making it a worthwhile investment.
  5. Location: The geographic location can be a factor influencing financial advisor costs. Advisors in metropolitan areas often charge more than those in regional or rural areas, reflecting differences in the cost of living and overhead expenses. When selecting a financial advisor, consider your location and how it might affect your budget.
  6. Type of Advice: Consider the nature of your financial needs to determine the most suitable fee structure. Some advisors provide ongoing financial advice and charge a retainer or an ongoing fee. In contrast, others might offer one-off advice for a specific need, which comes with a set price. Understanding your ongoing financial advice requirements will help you choose the right structure.
  7. Regulations: Regulatory changes, like the FoFA reforms, have impacted how financial advisors can charge for their services and the types of commissions they can receive. Staying informed about these regulations can support your understanding of the cost structures, and ensure that any fees paid are compliant with industry standards.
  8. Complexity of Your Financial Situation: The complexity of your financial situation is a key determinant of financial advisor costs. If you have a complex financial situation, require detailed strategies, or possess significant assets, the advice you receive will likely be more comprehensive and, therefore, more expensive. In return, your advisor should spend more time and effort addressing your financial matters, justifying the higher cost.
  9. Type of Financial Products Recommended: The financial products recommended by your advisor can also influence the total cost. Some financial products, especially complex or niche ones, may come with higher fees. It's important to discuss the types of financial products recommended and understand their implications on the overall cost of financial advice.

Are Financial Advisors Worth Paying?

Is it worth paying for a financial advisor in Australia? This is one of the most critical questions you might ask if you're looking to grow your wealth. And it's a justifiable question — because everyone should know whether they're getting their money's worth for a service.

The answer depends on your unique financial situation, goals, and needs. A qualified financial advisor can provide valuable insights, help you make informed decisions, and potentially save you money in the long run. The benefits of sound financial advice should always outweigh the costs.

If you want to work with financial advisors that will not waste your hard-earned money, we'd love to speak with you. The team at Northeast Wealth are committed to helping you reach your financial goals with absolute efficiency. Talk to us today, and we'd love to explore the possibility of helping you reach your financial goals.

Are Financial Planning Fees Tax-deductible in Australia?

A common query among Australians is whether financial planning fees can be claimed as a tax deduction. While it's advisable to consult with a tax professional or the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for specific tax planning advice, ongoing financial planning fees are likely to be tax-deductible where they relate to income producing assets such as ongoing investment advice.

It's prudent to understand that your initial (or "upfront") fees are not likely to be tax deductible. These fees are deemed by the ATO as a 'capital cost', similar to the cost of a conveyancer when purchasing an investment property. Ongoing fees, on the other hand, are typically tax deductible provided they meet the condition above.

Tax considerations are an essential aspect of financial planning, and seeking expert advice on this matter is advisable. Your advisor should be able to address your questions in this area and structure your fees in a tax-optimal way.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I get free financial advice in Australia?

Australia offers very limited access to organisations and government programs that provide free or low-cost personalised financial advice services. There are a range of valuable websites to support your financial journey, such as Moneysmart. These resources can be a valuable starting point for those seeking financial guidance to make sure they don't incur significant financial advisor fees.

Can you claim financial advisor fees on tax ATO?

As note above, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) allows for certain deductions related to investment advice and financial planning services. However, the specific rules and eligibility criteria may vary, making it important to consult with a tax professional or review the ATO guidelines to determine if your financial advisor costs are tax-deductible.

What is the average cost to see a financial advisor?

The cost of seeking financial advice can vary widely based on the factors mentioned earlier. According to the Financial Planning Association, some 93% of financial advisers planner to raise their fees in 2023.

Financial advisers charge differently, but on average, you can expect to pay fees that align with your specific financial needs, ranging from one-time consultations to ongoing comprehensive financial planning.

Discussing fees and the expected costs with your chosen financial advisor is a critical part of the initial consultation.

Do I need a financial advisor to manage my super?

While it's not mandatory to have a financial advisor manage your superannuation, seeking professional financial advice can help you optimise your super and make informed investment decisions for your retirement. Understanding your superannuation options and the related personal financial advice fees can put you on the path to a comfortable retirement.

How can I find a financial adviser?

Finding a financial advisor in Australia can be a crucial step in securing your financial future. You can start by asking for recommendations from friends or family, checking professional associations, or using online directories. Don't get intimidated by the question, “How much does a financial advisor cost?” because it is a form of investment that will greatly benefit your wealth.

When selecting an advisor, consider their qualifications, experience, and the services they offer. Your choice of a financial advisor can significantly impact your financial well-being and grow your investment portfolio, making it important to conduct thorough research before making a selection.

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