How to choose the right financial adviser for you
First-time investors may struggle with choosing an investment manager.
Amid greater scrutiny and expectations of a high level of transparency in the investment management industry globally, first time investors are always in a dilemma on how to choose an investment manager.
The Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment advises clients to choose a person, who has a long track record in the UAE and make checks on the professional qualification of the adviser, Matthew Cowan, Regional Director at CISI Middle East told Gulf News.
“Global financial services suffered [a setback] in its reputation in the last few years, and we also know that there are reputational issues with some of the financial aspects that are provided in the UAE,” Cowan said. He added that in selecting an adviser, it is important to look at how long the person has been in the UAE. He also said a long track record “should give more security and comfort”.
“Check what qualifications the adviser possesses, and check if they are a member of a professional body. How long have they been in the industry?” Cowan said one of the most important things a consumer should do is detailed research on the adviser.
There have been many cases in the recent past that exposed weaknesses in the check-and-balance mechanisms of various investment houses.
A recent survey conducted by the CISI revealed that majority of financial service professionals believe individuals, not institutions, should be responsible for restoring public trust in financial services.
Although the high profile fines are levied on banks, 73 per cent of respondents to the CISI survey claimed that it is in fact the good behaviour of individuals which will help move financial services from the bottom of surveys about the most trusted industry.
However, the survey findings, which drew over 600 respondents, also reflect the belief that institutions alone cannot impose rules which will restore the public’s trust, that to demonstrate the industry’s integrity, professionals must do more than toe the regulatory line. Instead individuals must show their clients, as well as the wider public, the higher standards which they hold themselves to.
The survey asked: “Responding to the launch of the Fair and Effective Markets Review, the CISI noted that ‘However effective the training and procedures of a firm, individuals must be accountable for their own actions.’ When it comes to restoring trust in financial services, do you believe the responsibility lies more with individuals than with institutions?”
One survey respondent said: “Yes certainly, individuals have more responsibility than the institution, it is we who are taking the institution to the next level. So, we definitely have a lot more responsibility than the institution.”
The CISI’s role is to promote professionalism, which is a combination of knowledge, skills and behaviour. The CISI works with the Securities and Commodities Authority and the Dubai Financial Services Authority for development of qualifications and promotion of ethics and integrity.
“We also closely work with individual firms and businesses, which recognise the value of having a professional workforce, and want to implement in terms of qualifications and integrity which is perhaps beyond the regulatory framework,” Cowan said, adding that qualification is the first part of a professional life in the journey.
“We expect members of the CISI to keep their knowledge updated, and be conversant with the latest industry trends, and best practices,” he added.
“The demand generally for professional qualification is huge. The demand has been particularly relevant as the likes of Qatar or UAE which were upgraded to emerging market status from frontier,” Cowan said.
“Developed markets already have many qualified practitioners, and we have seen significant demand. We see increasing demand for professional and internationally recognised qualifications,” he said.
The CISI offers a range of qualifications in various sections such as wholesale, retail operational level, and popular among these are Chartered Wealth Manager and Islamic Banking.
By Siddesh Suresh Mayenkar
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