Financial planner/adviser

Hi Forum members, My husband & I have had several financial advisers in the past & I think all of them have lost us money - some worse than others so I didn’t think we would ever look to engage with another one! However, as we are nearing retirment (& at over 70 it is well overdue!) we think we probably should talk through things like annuities, pensions etc with someone qualified to steer us. Has anyone got a strong personal recommendation for a financial adviser? Most of our wealth is invested using Sharewealth Systems Investor methodology so it would be an advantage for any potential financial adviser to be familar with the sysmtem. By the way - we live in Perth but I guess we could either travel or zoom meetings. Thanks Annabella

Hi Annabella,

I am a past SPA3 user, good system for investing in shares. I can’t recommend a financial adviser, I don’t use one. I run a SMSF and invest in shares and fixed interest through FIIG Securities. If corporate bonds appeal to you, FIIG will help you decide what type and what level of risk you want to take, you can also pay them to manage a portfolio for you. This would give you income as well as dividends and growth from your shares, it may be a simpler alternative to the financial adviser.

John Oxborough.

Hi Annabella,
I am in a similar situation where I am very concious of sequence of returns (sor) risk.
I have never used a financial advisor because if I have to lose money, I would rather do it myself than to have someone else do it for me.
My view is to diversify your investments so you can are both liquid and less liquid for monies not immediately needed. Long term budgeting for your future needs should be considered.
In my case, I use SWS investor to a level where I am comfortable with sor risk, at call govt. guaranteed bank deposits where interest is above 5%, secure term deposits where you can get around 7% for 12 months or more for longer. I have looked at FIIGs which look good, but have never used them.
As always dyor, it is not difficult to do yourself and is quite satisfying knowing you control your own destiny.
My bottom line is less stress, more peace and the living of a lifestyle that suits my needs wants and budget.
Good luck,

John, Phillip - Thanks for your replies - definitely food for thought. I’ve been using SPA Investor since it was first launched (SPA trader before that but that was too hectic for me!) and I am comfortable with investing knowing that the methodology will likely get me out of the market before too big of a market crash. I don’t really have a good feel for Bonds - I guess I don’t know enough about them. We used to have money in term deposits but haven’t for some time because the interest rate was so poor on them - so probably worth another look now. From your resonses - it sounds like you both are comfortable with being totally self-directed and don’t feel the need for financial advisers, annuiities or other more complicated strategies - that’s good feedback for me - I think I let self-doubt creep in & it made me question if I was missing the bigger retiremnet planning picture. Thanks Annabella

Hi Annabella
I’m a couple of years from retirement so I’ve also been looking at how to spread our capital as it will be too much to have it all in SWS, the position sizes would become too large for my comfort level. With that in mind I’m looking at FIIG as well and have placed $50K with them so I can spend the next 2 years learning about them. It is quite a lot to get your head around with a lot of variables but I think this is a decent idea. Relatively risk free 7-10% return depending on which Bonds you pick with the help of your advisor - or chose their ‘house’ Bonds portfolio as the others said. I’m also thinking of a 2-3 pure ETF portfolio moving in and out as the SWS signals tell you. A US tracker and an ASX tracker. Currently I’m using the QQQ signals and buying NDQ (or HNDQ currency hedge) on the ASX

No recommendations for FP - especially since I feel ripped off by one only this week. Maybe have a read of Noel Whitaker “Retirement Made Simple”. I found Alan Kohler’s book “Its Your Money” an eye opener to the industry and has some useful questions to ask a FP if you proceed with one. Good luck.

Hi Annabella,

After a number of years of occasionally conversing with you on this forum, and seeing your other posts, you have seemed to be quite confidently aware of the relevant issues. (presuming you’re the same Annabella, of course)

I’m almost like Phillip but I have used a financial advisor twice for one-off services. The first was when I retired and it was primarily to doublecheck my plan on how my eligible termination payments could be best handled to minimise tax, and to get them into super. I also had him advise on an investment strategy etc. This was before I had become an SWS client. Interestingly, the most valuable things I got out of the exercise, apart from confirmation of my tax strategy, were a number of recommendations regarding the structure of our wills and powers of attorney, and powers of enduring guardianship. Those hadn’t been on my radar at all at that time. I didn’t use the financial plan. The second was to advise on my father’s affairs as to how best to structure his assets/finances when he entered a nursing home.

I have felt quite comfortable about managing my own finances almost all the time, however, I thought it useful to get a second opinion in those two major life/financial transitions. However, I have to say I was pretty underwhelmed with the skills of the two advisors I used, but they were useful in highly limited roles.

My overall portfolio is similar to Phillips’. I have large components which are SPA3 Investor AUD and USD portfolios. Also, I used FIIG for more than a decade and had very good returns for the most part. I have since entirely migrated away from FIIG following a series of changes to their fees, losses of key personnel and changes to the types of bonds it offered. FIIG started the bond sector of enabling retail investors to get holdings in the OTC market but IMHO they lost their way strategically and rather than continue as an industry disrupter became too absorbed in squeezing their take, by increasing fees and and cutting costs from client services.

My previous FIIG portfolio allocation now is divided between FIS, a direct competitor of FIIG, Coolabah managed fixed income funds and HostPlus’s Infrastructure option for SMSFs. So, it’s still mostly in fixed interest. These components combined are comfortably tracking at over 10%pa and have been doing so for some time.

The HostPlus investment is an interesting one as HP was the only publicly available super fund which would take investments from SMSFs, and it possibly still is. Note that there is a significant equity component in this one, but not 100%.

Coolabah’s managed funds are really worth looking at. The high return ones have trading systems that make our SPA3 portfolios look like walks in the park, with many billions of dollars traded with typical average hold times of 4-10 days. Also, the bonds traded are high grade investment bonds, not the sub-investment grade bonds typically offered by FIIG and FIS to get high returns. This is very important in the current enviroment as we’re in a high corporate default cycle and many non-bank lenders are under pressure. So, a time to be very careful of sub-investment grade bonds/loans.

Beware of sequence of return risk discussions. They are often confused and play on people’s fears rather than realities. SOR doesn’t make sense for many people with regard to retirement. If a balanced/growth asset allocation strategy makes sense for after you commence retirement, then it makes sense for you up until retirement. Retirement is just a point in time on a decades long investment journey before it, and hopefully a decades long journey after it. SOR makes sense if there is a genuine impending cashing out event, or if retirement savings are low. The point of retirement is often not a cashing out event for which SOR risk may be relevant.

I hope this helps.


What a great discussion! Such great and rapid input that many others would end up paying many $1000s for and not get such a high quality of input.

My only addition to what’s been said so far is to be aware that lifetime annuities need to cover their risk.

This typically ends up in much higher ‘actuary’ & investment fees, which are hidden, and you will never know.

And lower conservative returns, which turn into lower income than other ways of using capital to create income. Such as discussed in this thread.

And even more ways & instruments too. Such as ‘income ETFs’ (not index ETFs), which use other financial instruments, like writing options. More on that another day. There are members using such instruments.

In return for higher hidden fees and lower returns, there is no effort on the part of the retiree once researched and put in place, and a guaranteed known indexed income for life.

A point to consider. Why did governments and large corporations move from defined benefits plans, where they had to take all the risk, to defined contributions, where the employee / investor takes all the risk?

Because the organisation took too much risk on behalf of their employees with no commensurate offset. There are countless examples of large corporates losing billions in profits to prop up their employee defined benefits plans.

And governments too.

So, annuity providers ensure they don’t get into these situations by applying complex actuary models with your capital, your fees and the returns they can generate with your capital. While ensuring they can pay all their employees, costs and still make a profit.

I don’t think they’ll engineer models such that they have a high probability of losing.

…Hi Annabella,

As a suggestion, and this is not financial advice, but an interesting strategy one financial adviser I know often uses is to ensure the next 7 years of required client cashflow to keep his clients “fed and watered come what may” is provided for via lower risk investments such as Cash or TD’s… Anything over and above that is invested in the share and property markets to provide longer term income and capital growth. The income from the longer term investments would also provide ongoing income, and presumably if the income provided from the share investments/property portion of the portfolio was able to support the ongoing annual living expenses, then there would be no need to re-balance each year.

The logic I was told behind this approach is that typically, in the event of a major market meltdown, after 7 years those share and property investments will typically(?) have recovered their losses.
One could also argue that if you are actively managing a share portfolio using a system such as SPA3 Investor ( as opposed to core ETF(s) that are held thru “thick and thin”…) that a 7 year cash buffer may not be fully needed as the system will get you into cash relatively quickly and otherwise limit one’s downside. But where that line is is something each investor would need to decide for themselves as to how many years of cashflow needs to be locked in just in case.

This is one potential approach to consider when structuring your investments without having your nest egg eroded by ongoing financial adviser fees.

Food for thought anyway…

I have been taken for a ride by financial advisers, not a fan.
Financial/ market risks we can manage, But what about the risk of suffering some sort of dementia or other mental impairment as one ages? Has anyone thought about what controls one could consider?

Hi Patricia,

It’s my plan that if I reach an age when I am significantly less capable, or less interested, to run the SMSF than I am now then I will shut down the SMSF owned by my wife and me, and put the funds into an industry super fund. Since my wife has absolutely no interest in running the SMSF, that would also have to be done if something happened to me before then. Therefore for many years now I have maintained a document for my son and my wife do that migration together. Since our son is also our executor in our wills, after each other, it works in that situation too. There is quite a bit to doing this and the body of the document is eleven pages long and has a couple of tables, a diagram and text documents attached.

This is quite front of mind for me at the moment as I’ve been upgrading parts of it in the last fortnight.


Thanks for all the useful replies & comment in this thread. Don (Yes definitely the same Annabella​:smiling_face:)- I will definiitely check out Coolibah fixed income funds & Hostplus Infrastructure options. Phillip - I looked at 1 year term deposits but I can only find ones that pay up to 5% interest - :weary:. Nicole - I’ll look out for the book “Retirement Made Simple”. My husband & I have enduring power of Attorney’s for each other and for our son & daughter in case we are both incapacitated. I keep an up to date list of investments & passwords for our accounts so that my husband could find his way to them if necessary - but its worth pursuing a more thought out step-by-step plan for the future - my Mom had Alzheimers so that spectre has worried me for some time!
Regards Annabella

Hi Annabella,
I have used LaTrobe Finance TD’s, dyor, and they have been in business a long time but are not bank guaranteed.
The bonus is that if u r a Collingwood AFL member, they add .25% to their current rate. :rofl:

Hi Annabella,
I have been reading with interest all the posts on this topic, and there has been some good ones. Most comments on Financial Advisors seem to be on the negative side, but on the contrary I have had a good experience with mine for approx. 30 years, and I am now a 70yo.
The first one I had helped us set up a SMSF, and made sure we were all up to date with Wills, Powers of Attorney etc.He was I thought a bit on the conservative side with approx 30% of my SMSF in Term Deposits and 70% in AU shares, however that helped in the GFC. He transitioned out as his wife got breast cancer and the new one has a different approach. A more global approach with both International and AU Index ETF’s, which had an excellent return last financial year. We are now in pension phase of our SMSF, and he is suggesting we don’t need a SMSF any more. I have run my SWS AU and US portfolio’s separate to my SMSF since 2016.
I’m rambling a bit, but if you wanted to contact me re my advisor, you could get my number through SWS.


Interesting your advisor has said you no longer need your SMSF, especially if you are in Pension phase. I would have thought that is when you need it most.

Hi Annabella,
A couple of thoughts after reading through this forum thread -

  1. Like others, it seems financial planners and independent self-directed active investors such as SWS members generally don’t fit well together. My own eg was a decade ago when I expressed an interest in ETF’s the answer was - none on our preferred/product list. I had no FP advice since. Nevertheless, I appreciate FP’s can be good for life changing events and making sure all the big picture items are in place as noted by others above. For this, check out independent FP’s - the CIFAA website Certified Independent Financial Advisers Association - CIFAA. One CIFAA Perth member, Nick Bruining is a regular guest (monthly) on ABC radio 702 Sydney broadcast nationally (Tues nights, Philip Clark, 10-11pm AEST). His discussion and answers to callers’ questions come across as very practical. You could probably find a recent podcast on abc online.
    2 Coolabah Investments - Christopher Joye (portfolio manager) writes an insightful column in the AFR Weekend ‘Smart Investor’ section. Might be worth a read if you wish to better understand fixed income securities.

Note I have no affiliation with either. Just some ideas from a fellow SWS member.

Regards, Bruce

Author of ‘Retirement Made Simple’, Noel Whittaker, is releasing his new book “Wills Death and Taxes” tomorrow. It might be worth a read.

Re planning for the future when the active investor (e.g. SWS member) in a couple is no longer around or able to follow the process and admin - Warren Buffett’s advice is instructive (claimed to be written in his will for his surviving wife’s benefit) invest the majority (90%?) in a broad index fund/s and the balance in cash.