Recent headlines have documented the unlawful practice of Melissa Caddick and David Hunter Campbell who defrauded investors out of millions of dollars.
Unfortunately, there have been many cases where dishonourable people use credentials they do not have, to con others into trusting them with their savings. Many of those who have fallen victim to these scams are not gullible people. It’s hard to spot a fake financial planner if you don’t know what to look for to ensure you are dealing with a licensed adviser and practice.
The term “Financial Planner” is enshrined in law so unlicensed people cannot use it.
People masquerading as professionals in our industry often use titles such as “financial planner” freely, despite having no certifications to back it up.
The terms “financial planner”, “financial adviser”, “investment adviser”, and “broker” are protected by law and cannot be used by, or to describe, a person who does not have the qualifications.
As an example, when news outlets first started reporting on Melissa Caddick, they were referring to her as a financial planner. However, they quickly had to change that to describe her as a business woman and con woman, as they discovered it was illegal to refer to her as a financial planner as she did not have the qualifications.
This is a useful way to spot if someone is a legitimate financial planner. When someone says they are a financial adviser, don’t simply take their word for it without verifying their credentials. This is relatively easy to do and it’s worth the peace of mind.
Licensed advisers are listed on ASIC’s Financial Adviser Register, found on the Moneysmart Website: moneysmart.gov.au/financial-advice/financial-advisers-register
If you can’t find them on this register, then they are not currently a financial adviser and are being deceitful. In addition, if you find any complaints or other information that doesn’t line up with the adviser’s claims, that should be an immediate red flag. You don’t want to do business with someone who feels this type of deceit is okay, especially when it comes to something as important as your financial future.
When you work with a financial adviser, you’re entrusting them with a significant part of your future. Things as important as your financial stability in retirement or your children’s ability to attend university are on the line. That’s why it’s important to carefully vet any financial professional before you work with them.
There are many people calling themselves “Financial Coaches” or “Financial Strategists” and many other terms. This means they may not be licensed Financial Planners and are therefore operating outside of the many regulations and protections put in place to protect consumers.
At Green Associates, all of our advisers are fully licensed and listed on the ASIC Moneysmart Financial Adviser Register.