If you have ever invested money in a fund or collective fund with a 3rd party, either through a pension or through an investment structure (product or platform) you will most likely have already completed a 'Risk Questionnaire' or 'Risk Survey'. It may have formed part of the bigger conversation about your investment goals, or it may have been the sole basis on which you made your investment decision. If it was the latter than there may be cause for some concern.
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If an individual seeks financial guidance they generally do so in good faith that the person they seek it from will have their best interests at heart. In a recent interview with Eric Brotman we explored what the term Fiduciary meant, and it means. In essence it relates to the relationship between a financial advisor and a client as being one established on trust, and where the advisor is bound by a responsibility to act in the best interests of a client. That is to say that they place the client's interests before their own......which for many people in Ireland will seem like a strange idea.
When we seek any help, whether it is to buy a car, have some domestic appliance fixed, book a holiday, visit a physio, hire a painter, as a nation we expect that the person(s) providing the product or service to be acting in their best interests and will perhaps try to sell us or charge us more than may perhaps be strictly necessary.....it is a cultural thing, perhaps in every corner of the globe.
To suggest then that a 'financial advisor' would not act in their own best interests, to act in a fiduciary manner, seems almost alien, and totally counter-intuitive! Yet this is a formal means of working for a small yet growing population of financial services professionals in the US. I, for one, am looking forward to the growth of such a population in Ireland....perhaps it starts right here.
Need Versus Wants:
You are perhaps wondering what any of this has to do with Risk Questionnaires, thanks for bearing with me. Lets image a scenario where you are a 60 year old with €250,000 sitting in deposit accounts but who now needs to generate an income of €15,000 per year (6% of fund) from your investment in order to pay for the lifestyle you maintain. In addition you want to have that income increase in line with inflation each year, your circumstances demand it.........Listen to hear more!
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