Financial Advice Fees

Quality Assured Services

There seems to be an ongoing battle over how financial advisors should be paid. Broadly there are three main approaches, outlined below.

  • A fee-for-service model involves a fee based on the time and expertise required to provide the services. This fee structure is often broken down into an hourly rate, fixed fee, or a retainer fee.
  • Asset-based fees are calculated as a percentage of the assets under management (AUM). Financial advisors charge an agreed-upon percentage, typically ranging from 0.5% to 2%, based on the    total value of the investment portfolio. This structure incentivizes advisors to help grow a client’s portfolio as their fees increase with the growth of assets.
  •  Commission-based fees have been subject to significant changes in recent years due to regulatory reforms. Previously, advisors could earn commissions by recommending specific financial products. However, as of 1 July 2013, a “best interest duty” was introduced, mandating that advisors act in the best interests of their clients. Consequently, commission-based fees for financial advice on investment products, insurance, and superannuation have largely been phased out, ensuring greater transparency and alignment of interests between clients and advisors.

Some financial advisors adopt a hybrid fee structure, combining elements of both asset-based fees and fee-for-service. This approach allows them to charge a lower asset-based fee while still charging additional fees for specific services or consultations.

In recent years, legislation has changed the education and compliance requirements for advisors, and with this, costs. With these heightened requirements, there is now the question of what payment model makes the most sense for these professional services. The main challenge that the financial advising industry struggles with is the idea of commissions for their payment structure. In prior years, financial advisors have been paid on commission structures effectively much higher than that of today.

Charging a fee can make clients feel safer; they can look at it through the lens of “you get what you pay for” and link it to the value you are helping create for them. Clients should be made aware there are many other factors to consider besides fees, such as experience, qualifications, reputation, and the ability to understand their unique financial goals. Financial advisors possessing these attributes can charge a premium for their services as they become known in the industry and demonstrate their value. Including an up-front payment in your fee model can also quickly cut out clients who don’t see the value in paying for these services, ultimately saving both parties’ time.

Whatever the fee model, transparency, trust, and a clear understanding of the services provided will help cultivate better and longer-lasting relationships between both parties. And that’s good business.

And if you’re looking for top-tier paraplanning, please contact us at Mutual Plans to discuss your needs.