How do you know when it’s time to change your wealth manager?

Sometimes there are obvious red flags that all is not well with your wealth manager.* At other times it’s just a sense you might have.
Either way, the stakes are too high to ignore. You need to act.

Over 22 years of providing financial advice and investment management for high net worth individuals in Melbourne and around Australia, we have spoken to thousands of people and understood the early warning signs that motivated them to move on from their previous wealth managers.

We have narrowed the list to eight signs. If you see any of these it’s time to consider a change.

Have you seen any of these eight signs?

1. Poor investment performance

You should expect occasional poor performance. So, one year’s poor performance is not a reason to change wealth managers. But the inability to explain underperformance is. Explanations should be open, honest, plausible, and offered.

2. The personal relationships have decayed

Wealth management is a personal business. If you are no longer being treated respectfully, having questions answered, phone calls responded to, or just don’t click anymore then a integral ingredient of personal wealth management is missing. 

3. Trust breakdown

A collapse of trust can come from a variety of sources. Examples include lack of transparency, such as unexplained investments or fees; or a media item that reveals negative governance matters of which you were not aware. Trust is not negotiable. 

4. Products and services no longer suitable

You might find that your manager is not keeping up with new products (e.g. new security types) or services (e.g. daily updated online reporting). If so, it is no longer acting in your best interests.

5. Poor service ethic

Wealth management is also a service business. Therefore, excellent service of your needs must occur in all aspects of the business. A shortfall in one area might suggest fragility in other areas. 

6. Fewer talented people

A wealth manager’s talent pool should be deep and broad.  And have a disposition to communicate with each other as well as you. Frequent personnel changes might suggest deeper problems of culture and capability. 

7. Short-term or once-only focus

Many firms say they focus on your long-term needs. But then you see the perspective is on transactions and sales. Or your changing needs have not been addressed, the financial advice was once-only.

8. Lack of ethics and transparency

It should not need government regulation to ensure that wealth managers put the interest of their clients first. But it did. However, a few companies had already shunned commissions, provided maximum transparency and eliminated conflicts of interest. Ethics and transparency should be in the DNA of a wealth manager. 

Embracing short-term discomfort for long-term gain

Switching wealth managers can be awkward and uncomfortable, so many people avoid doing it. 

Your financial adviser may be a personal friend, or someone you may have known for a long time, and you feel loyalty towards them. Or perhaps you have decided to switch but don’t have the mind space to go through the hassle that you think might come along with switching wealth managers. 

This inertia, unfortunately, is what the big firms of the financial industry bank on. Literally. They know how uncomfortable this decision can be and so they make the process seem like a complicated one. 

Switching wealth managers is not complicated or difficult. 

How do you switch to a new wealth manager?

Once you decide to make the move, you’ve done the hardest part. Then begins the transition from the old provider to the new. A competent and service-oriented wealth manager will help you make the switch. And be prepared for last-ditch efforts by your incumbent manager, 

What now?


You have two alternatives.

Firstly, consider only First Samuel. And peruse our website. Then email us or call Susanne, our Business Manager, on 03 8610 9222. She will walk you through what’s next.

Secondly, also consider other wealth managers. This means that you can compare the critical factors in wealth manager selection.

Those factors are, in some ways, a mirror of eight signs listed above. If you require more information, please contact us through the form below.

*Wealth manager is a general term that includes stockbrokers, industry superannuation funds, retail superannuation funds, financial planners and independent managers.

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