Pick financial advisers with care, patience

I agree with Wealth Management Institute chief executive and MP Foo Mee Har’s exhortation that relationship managers should become a client’s trusted wealth adviser (“‘Clients must come first’ for relationship managers”; last Saturday).

It is important to engage financial advisers who respect you, are competent and will help you educate yourself about money matters, finances and investments.

A good adviser will explain new concepts clearly, without hurry or condescension.

Hence, it is advisable to take time to find financial advisers who have your interests at heart, lest you come across one who pressures you to insure or invest in only one way or only through him.

It is important to engage financial advisers who respect you, are competent and will help you educate yourself about money matters, finances and investments.

Cases of people being coaxed into buying investment products and services of which they have scant knowledge are known to have occurred, and this is because they regard advisers as experts who should not be doubted or questioned.

Worse, they fail to stop and ask for further explanation when they do not understand a technical term or phrase used in the industry.

Some older people and retirees are unable to differentiate between a fixed deposit and a structured deposit, thereby causing them a great deal of anxiety and confusion later on when they realise that only the former is covered by the deposit insurance scheme.

A case in point is the collapse of the Leh man Brothers investment bank in 2008, during which many elderly people, especially the less educated, lost their life savings by investing in structured products associated with the American bank.

Some of them had the notion that their investments in Lehman Brothers mini bonds were the same as putting their money in fixed deposits in the bank with no risks involved.

Alas, such misperception caused them to lose their hard-earned savings and brought them much devastation. Most of all, it is desirable to receive comprehensive investment guidance from trustworthy and experienced advisers first and avoid regretting later.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2016, with the headline ''. Print Edition | Subscribe