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Consumers continue to value independent financial advice

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Research by Unbiased has revealed that more than 250,000 consumers put their faith in independent financial advice in the first half of 2008.

Over 30% of searches for details of local IFAs are requesting advice on retirement planning, as consumers worry about the impact of the economic downturn on their pensions, while more consumers are now asking for advice on whether to release equity from their homes.

The Advice Drivers report demonstrates once again consumers’ commitment to independent financial advice, with Unbiased receiving over half a million requests for details of local IFAs in the last 12 months.

Concerns over the housing market continue to prompt consumers to seek advice on mortgages, with approximately 50,000 people requesting details of a local IFA to advise them on mortgages in the first half of 2008.

The report highlights equity release as the largest growth area for advice, with nearly 4,000 requests for advice on the subject in the last three months – an increase of 18% on the final quarter of 2007.

David Elms, chief executive of, said: “Our latest report demonstrates that when consumers are most worried about their finances, they put their faith in IFAs to guide them.

“Consumer needs are constantly changing and whole-of-market IFAs are the best-positioned of all advice types to serve these needs. It is also reassuring that with increased interest in equity release products, consumers are seeking the gold standard of advice in order to decide on whether such products are appropriate to them.”

After personal retirement planning, investment and mortgage enquiries were the most popular requests.

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