Knowing what kind of adviser you are dealing with is important
Financial advisers and planners can go by many different titles and present themselves in different ways. In Italy, the most common financial adviser is known as a Promotore Finanziario. These are not IFA’s in the international context.
A Promotore Finanziario usually works for or within a large institution, bank or advice group. Usually that organisation is one (or is owned by one) that creates financial products to sell to consumers, or to the public. The products they sell could be mutual funds or managed funds, bonds, Italian BTP’s, pension schemes, fixed investments at a bank, or deposits and similar financial instruments.
An IFA or Independent Financial Adviser, is usually distinguishable solely by the fact they do not work for any organisation involved in creating or producing a financial product.
IFA’s are not expected therefore to sell the financial products produced by their employer, since their employer doesn’t produce any products. Instead, IFA’s have a range of products and solutions provided to them by many different product providers and institutions across the market (and often across the world). They focus on advice, and usually have an advice process.
When it comes to choosing what product or other advice solution is needed for any client, IFA’s can choose from among a range of different providers made available to them, to arrive at the product or solution most appropriate to each individual client. Sometimes a new product is not suitable for a client, and the client perhaps can maintain what they have. You may only need advice about a particular course of action or plan that you are thinking about, that affects your life, financially.
Financial advisers ought to be able to create a future plan for clients, a strategy based on the client’s overall financial situation today, their goals and desires for life in retirement, and the resources available to them to meet those goals. This is true for either IFA’s or a Promotore Finanziario.