Pick an Independent Financial Adviser

You may find this article useful in providing the key points to help you pick an experienced IFA in the UK.

With over 30 years experience as an independent financial adviser, I would suggest you consider the following key points in finding your perfect adviser.

  • Ideally your adviser should be located within s 20-mile radius so that he or she can be available at short notice, it may also mean, lower call out fees or charges.
  • However, if you have an adviser who is further away but is always available online over the phone or via email and you are happy with this arrangement, then fine.
  • It may not be ideal, picking an adviser who’s fresh out of college or university because they may well be friendly and keen but will lack the knowledge and experience than you will need. It is all very well passing a few exams but an adviser with a lifelong experience is by far a much better solution.

A good IFA will talk quite happily about the fees or how they get paid, advisers who are vague should be avoided, when an adviser talks freely about their fees then that gives you confidence and a reference point in deciding whether you will get value for money if you agree to instruct them for their services.

  • Remember that if an IFA charges you a 2% fee for advising you on a £50,000 investment and then charging 2% for £250,000 would in my opinion be unfair. After all the adviser is unlikely to be doing 5 times more work for their fees are they?
  • Most good advisers will have an up to date website with details about their experience but also importantly, verified client reviews that will demonstrate the skill and effectiveness of this particular adviser.
  • If no client reviews are available then you may be unable to form a fair opinion, perhaps you should continue to shop around or get a recommendation from your family or friends.
  • All adviser these days need to be registered not only with the UK financial regulators such as FCA but also various organizations, networks and institutions to help advisers gain additional ongoing knowledge, plus acquire a minimum number of CPD points/hours for their continuous professional development to remain compliant.
  • Usually the first meeting is free, if not then pass them by as most professional IFA’s will always offer you a free “no obligation meeting” in order for you to get to know them and to decide if you feel you can trust and be guided by this adviser and to build up a good working relationship that may last a lifetime.
  • Your adviser will need to be able to talk to you in a way that you can clearly understand, it is all well and good having an adviser that has passed the highest level of qualifications but if they talk to you in a jargon that leaves you clueless then that’s just a waste of your time and theirs!
  • Finally, it is always really helpful if like your adviser or at the very least, if you can get on with them, that they talk your language, listen to your needs and concerns and provide some effective ideas and solutions that are presented in a way you can fully understand.

During that first meeting, there should always be a few questions you will need to ask the adviser such as:

Are you fully authorized?
Are you independent or restricted?
What qualifications do you have?
What are your initial fees?
What are your ongoing annual fees?
How will I receive the advice?
What is my choice of ongoing services?
Can you provide client recommendations?

After all, when you are dealing your life’s savings, your retirement income or finances generally, you can’t afford to get it wrong.