The truth is that no-one knows what will happen next in investment markets. If anyone really did have a working crystal ball, it is unlikely they would be working as an adviser, an analyst or a financial journalist.

 

Some people may still think an adviser’s role is to deliver them market-beating returns year after year. Generally, those are the same people who believe good advice equates to making accurate forecasts.

 

None of these roles involves making forecasts about markets or economies. Instead, the roles combine technical expertise with an understanding of how money issues intersect with the rest of people’s complex lives.

 

Australian financial adviser David Haintz of Global Adviser Alpha, suggests that there are seven hats an adviser can wear to help clients without ever once having to look into a crystal ball:

The expert:

Investors need advisers who can provide client-centred expertise in assessing the state of their finances and developing strategies to help them meet their goals.

The independent voice:

The global financial turmoil of recent years demonstrated the value of an independent and objective voice in a world full of product pushers and salespeople.

The listener:

The emotions triggered by financial uncertainty are real. A good adviser will listen to clients’ fears and provide practical long-term answers.

The teacher:

Getting beyond the fear-and-flight phase often is just a matter of teaching investors about risk and return, diversification, the role of asset allocation and the virtue of discipline.

The architect:

Once these lessons are understood, the adviser becomes an architect, building a long-term wealth management strategy that matches each person’s risk appetites and lifetime goals.

The coach:

Even when the strategy is in place, doubts and fears inevitably will arise. The adviser at this point becomes a coach, reinforcing first principles and keeping the client on track.

The guardian:

Beyond these experiences is a long-term role for the adviser, scanning the horizon for issues that may affect the client and keeping them informed.

 

Financial advice ultimately is defined by the patient building of a long-term relationship founded on the values of trust, knowledge and independence.