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Six steps to choosing the right financial adviser

Cherry Reynard
Written By:
Cherry Reynard
Posted:
Updated:
28/08/2014

After recent Citizen’s Advice research revealed that many of us are turning to the internet for financial advice, we look at how you might go about picking a financial adviser.

1) Word of mouth – This can be the most reliable way to find a good financial adviser. However, it is worth ensuring that your needs and expectations are similar to the person who is recommending the adviser. If your friend or family member is an entrepreneur and you are a salaried professional, your needs may be different.

2) Online – there are financial adviser organisations and their websites such as www.unbiased.co.uk and www.financialplanning.org.uk can guide you towards reputable financial advisers in your area. Financial advisers will also have individual websites where you can look at their qualifications and experience and judge their expertise for yourself.

3) Product area – As with accountants and solicitors, financial advisers have different specialisms, such as retirement planning, investment or mortgages, for example. They may offer a generalist service, providing an initial financial plan and then referring on to a trusted bank of specialists according to their clients’ individual needs.

4) Qualifications – Advisers need to have a minimum qualification to be able to deal with clients – QCF Level 4, but many advisers have chosen to secure higher qualifications. This might be to QCF Level 6 or towards the higher level of certified or chartered status. This should be clearly displayed and if it isn’t, you should ask why.

5) Gut feel – It is all very well being ruthlessly practical, but you will have to share some intimate details with your adviser and it is important that you like them. Ensure that you like them and are happy to talk about your situation, your financial needs and your hopes for the future.

6) Cost – Different advisers have different charging structures. For example, some will charge a percentage of assets under management, others will charge a fixed fee. Different structures will work better for different people.