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What is a financial adviser?
A financial adviser (FA) is someone who can help you make the right decision for different financial products whether it’s a mortgage, a pension, tax planning, your savings and investments, or making the most of a lump sum.
There are two types of financial advisers:
- Independent Financial Adviser – They are completely impartial and should give you advice on any product available in the market. Thus you are more likely to get advice that considers all options from all the different companies available.
- Tied Adviser – These advisers are tied to a bank or building society and therefore can only advise on certain products.
Whichever option you decide, make sure the adviser is properly qualified so that you can be confident that the advice you’re getting is correct. Our search tool above only includes advisers who are properly qualified.
Make sure you’re completely clear on how much the advice is costing you and what the charges are on the products you are recommended. As a guide, an average hourly charge in 2018 was £175 and advice on converting a £100,000 pension into a lump sum and an income might cost you around £1,350.
Be clear on what you're looking for. For example, is it specialist investment advice or a mortgage?
Find out what type of adviser they are, how they are remunerated, what qualifications they hold, how much they may charge and how you will receive your advice.
Make sure the firms are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and, perhaps even more importantly, check they don't feature on the unauthorised list.
Look for advisers using comparison engines like the tool above. You can search for an adviser based on qualifications, specialist areas, locality, or payment type. Also ask friends and family for their recommendations.
Finally, ensure you like and trust them. IFAs can help you through some difficult life stages like bereavement or divorce, so it's essential you get along.
What to look for in an IFA
The key benefits of a good financial adviser include the following:
Unbiased: The agent is an independent contractor acting only for your benefit. All advisers, even those limited to advising on a limited number of products, are held accountable and provide objective advice.
Whole of market: A financial advisor should choose a product for you by reviewing the entire financial market, rather than only selecting one from a particular set of providers.
Targeted: This applies to restricted financial advisers. They look at products within their specialism to select the best option for you. This lets you focus on a particular product type, if you already know the area you want to look at.
Qualified: They need to hold an FCA recognised Diploma in financial planning, an FCA recognised Transitional Qualification, and the Qualification gap-fill. They must also hold a current and valid Statement of Professional Standing (SPS).
Experienced: They must have a minimum of one year’s supervised, or three years’ unsupervised experience in Financial Planning.
Regulated correctly: A firm must be regulated by the FCA, which can be found by searching the FCA register.
Find an IFA with MoneyRaters
Finding a financial adviser with our comparison service, powered by Bark.com, is quick and easy: just enter your details and see if you could find a qualified adviser in your area today.