Before committing to using a financial adviser for the first time, it’s vital that you do some research. Sam Tate, from Vintage Chartered Financial Planners, raises some key questions to ask…
How much am I likely to pay?
A financial adviser must be transparent with their charging structure and you should be made fully aware of what you will be paying and how it will be paid, ahead of any commitment.
An adviser may charge by the hour, a fixed fee or a percentage of the total assets under management.
Are you independent?
The adviser must tell you what services they offer and if they are ‘independent’.
To be called independent, a financial adviser must offer a broad range of investment products and give clients unbiased and unrestricted advice based on a comprehensive and fair analysis of the market.
Do you have qualifications that are above the minimum standards?
Whilst all financial advisers must meet minimum qualification standards (DipPFS), it is becoming the norm for progressive advisers to take additional exams, leading to Chartered status, or to becoming a specialist in a specific area (such as pension transfers).
It‘s always worth asking what qualifications the adviser has and what these demonstrate.
Do you have many clients in a similar position to me?
It’s always worth finding out if an adviser has experience of advising clients in a similar position to yours.
Some financial advisers may only deal with people who meet certain criteria, or minimum investment levels (eg £50,000 or £100,000). Other advisers may be happy to advise clients no matter what the size of their investment.
What are the options for ongoing advice?
Whether you would benefit from an ongoing service should be discussed in detail with your adviser. Make sure that you are fully aware at the outset of what you will be paying, what level of service you will be receiving and how that compares with the market.
Vintage Chartered Financial Planners