Advisor-Client Relationships: Top 4 Things to Look For

Advisor-client relationships are much like physician-patient relationships: you can get better outcomes if you have a good rapport.

When there’s trust and mutual respect between you and your patients, they will likely be more upfront with the kind of information they provide, which can improve the accuracy of your diagnosis.

The same can be said for the advisor-client relationship. As a client, here are four things you should expect from your financial advisor.

  1. Competence: Patients who have confidence in their physician’s expertise are more likely to be satisfied with their treatment options, and more likely to follow the instructions they are given.

    The same can be said for clients and their financial advisor. When you work with a financial advisor whom you trust, you will feel more confident about your financial plan and reaching your goals.

    The right financial advisor should have education, training, qualifications and experience. It’s important to check because the terms “financial planner” and “financial advisor” are unregulated in Canada, except in Quebec.

    In Quebec, the designation to look for is “Financial Planner” from the Institut québécois de planification financière (IQPF). In the rest of Canada, the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation shows that an advisor has completed the proficiency requirements to be a financial planner.

  2. Your financial advisor should listen to your concerns and goals, fully understand your financial situation and be able to assess your investing personality as well.

  3. Communication: Do you have a good relationship with your patients? If so, you probably listen when they express their concerns, reassure and comfort them, and provide explanations that reflect their level of understanding.

    A financial advisor who can do the same will earn your respect. Your financial advisor should listen to your concerns and goals, fully understand your financial situation and be able to assess your investing personality as well. Explanations should match your interest and knowledge level.

    As a client, it’s important to let your financial advisor know if anything has changed. Having that open, honest communication can improve the relationship—and most likely the outcomes.

  4. Shared decision-making: There are some patients who are happy to delegate the treatment options to their physicians. But others want more control—they want information and to be involved in the decision-making. Physicians who explain the pluses and minuses, help patients determine what they want, and then offer options are more likely to achieve higher levels of satisfaction and cooperation.

    As in the medical field, once your financial advisor understands your goals and priorities, he or she can help you determine what you want, present the options, and give you the final say. This kind of shared decision-making often results in a very successful advisor-client relationship.

  5. Specialist care: Primary-care physicians play an invaluable role in the lives of their patients—managing every single symptom and condition, and providing care for their overall health. Primary-care physicians take in the whole picture, and when necessary refer their patients to appropriate medical specialists.

    A financial advisor plays a similar role. Your advisor looks at your overall situation and risk profile to create a comprehensive financial plan—one that covers everything from managing your budget to decisions about incorporation.

    If required, your advisor can connect you with experts to deliver on all of your financial needs—whether it’s an insurance consultant, estate and trust advisor, lawyer, tax advisor or mortgage specialist. At MD, we bring these services together through MD ExO®—your Expert Office.

    MD Advisors work on salary, not commission, so we have your financial best interests at heart.

For more information about financial planning topics, contact an MD Advisor. MD offers objective advice at every stage of your career—from medical school through retirement. Find an MD Advisor near you.

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