World First Forum: top tips on what to look for and expect from a financial adviser
The IFA industry has been much maligned in recent years and there is a general misunderstanding of the IFA’s role. The good news is there are changes planned in the form of a mandatory Level 4 Qualification, Customer Agreed Remuneration and the Retail Distribution Review. These will all be in place by 2012 and will help make the industry more transparent and accountable so it can be viewed in the same light as the legal and accountancy professions.
Whether you need advice on life insurance, income protection, pension planning (UK and abroad), capital investment onshore and offshore, stocks and shares ISA’s, regular savings into ISA’s or mortgages, this article highlights what to look for in an IFA (Independent Financial Adviser).
The first meeting you have should be complimentary to give you a chance to judge whether you and the IFA can work together, allow the IFA to assess your needs and explain how the IFA would work on your behalf. The IFA should be prepared to review your employment contract(s) and any existing policies including any cash savings and your State Pension forecast if you decide to go ahead. Thereafter a Service Proposition on a clear fee or commission basis for the required advice should be agreed with you.
The IFA should ideally treat all advice as regulated, even if the product is not regulated which means that you should receive a letter explaining the advice to be given to be given disclosing the amount of commission or fees which are payable. Do remember to consider Cash ISA’s and National Savings & Investments in any recommendations as these are sometimes overlooked.
All communications and agreements should be documented either at the time of your meeting or afterwards and they must be stored on your file for at least six years. Any queries you have should receive a response within four hours of initial contact, even if its just a courtesy response to let you know the matter is being dealt with.
Top tips: what to look for in an IFA proposition
Financial Relationship’s top tips for dealing with IFA’s include:
- Hold the first meeting at the IFA’s offices
- Ask to be introduced to their team members / be provided with their details
- Ask for details of their educational and industry qualifications
- Obtain contact information for referees you can speak with regarding the IFA’s advice
- Check for introductions to other professionals like accountants or estate planners
- Find out details of any extra-curricular work that is undertaken in the local community eg charity work
For more details on financial advice contact Alex Morris or Edward Dolan-Abrahams at ‘Financial Relationships’ quoting World First IFA
Tel: 020 7002 7715