Where you have given your adviser authority to view and/or make transactions on your behalf, you should understand exactly what type of authority you have given and any associated risks as a result.
You should also ensure that you monitor and review your investments regularly so that you are aware of all changes and can notify the adviser if there are any issues or any investments that you are not comfortable with.
A platform is an online administration system that helps investors streamline, monitor and manage their investment transactions. It's an efficient way of coping with the often time-consuming administration if a portfolio has a variety of investment types. Platforms are also called investment "wraps", "portfolio services" and "managed accounts".
Financial advisers use platforms to offer a wide range of investment choices for their clients. There has been an increase in platforms becoming directly available to investors. However, this means you don't have an adviser's expertise if you choose to engage directly.
It is easy to overlook the fact that your superannuation is a platform of all your retirement-related investments. You should have direct access to your superannuation account, and it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with how to do this. You should be able to see when your employer's superannuation guarantee (SG) is paid or any extra contributions you make, for instance, through salary sacrifice.
As mentioned in the A beginner's guide to investment products section of this guide, managed funds are investment pools that are looked after by a fund manager who buys assets, for example, shares or bonds, on your behalf. Investors buy "units" in the fund, but don't own the underlying assets. Because your money is combined into larger pools, you can access investment opportunities that otherwise may be out of reach.
As mentioned in the A beginner's guide to investment products section of this guide, a managed account is a portfolio of investments, for instance, cash, shares, and property holdings, managed on your behalf by a professional money manager. Managed accounts are popular with wealthy or high-net-worth investors.
Wrap accounts are very similar to managed accounts. Your investments are managed by your adviser or investment managers, and costs are "wrapped" into a single flat fee that covers the costs of looking after your assets. They are more expensive compared with managed accounts.
Even if you trust your adviser and receive appropriate advice, there may still be instances of fraudulent activity. As such, it is important to keep an eye on all your investments and avoid giving your adviser control over your money.
If something does not look right, contact your adviser immediately. If the issue is not resolved quickly, make a formal complaint to the licensee or directly to AFCA. If the issue involves an adviser being dishonest or fraudulent, contact your local police and make a complaint to ASIC.
Tips for staying safe
To help maintain control and avoid fraud:
|Working with your financial adviser|
|Financial planning and families|