Choosing a financial adviser might seem overwhelming, but if you need help with a financial decision, it’s well worth finding someone that you can trust, as a good adviser can save you money and time.
Check out what other people say
Personal recommendations from friends or family are a great place to start when it comes to finding a financial adviser. However, if you prefer to make your own decision, there is plenty of research you can do yourself.
As with any service, financial advisers should be working hard to make sure their customers are happy, so check out their Trustpilot and Google reviews to see what feedback they’ve been getting from previous clients.
Know what type of adviser you need
Knowing exactly what you need from a financial adviser is crucial, as there are so many different options out there when it comes to financial advice. You might also need to pay for an adviser’s advice so you need to make sure that you any money you do spend is worthwhile.
Often getting financial advice from a professional will be triggered by a specific milestone or need. You may be starting a family, buying a house or maybe have a special birthday coming up, or you might simply be lacking in the confidence or knowledge to select financial products and need the help of an expert. So, think carefully about what you want the outcome of any time you spend with a financial adviser to be.
You also need to be aware of what certain advisers can offer you, as there are two main types of financial advisers, those that are independent and those that are restricted. Advice from an independent adviser must be based on a comprehensive analysis of the market and be unbiased, with no influence from product providers. On the other hand, restricted advisers may only have access to limited providers but have a more detailed understanding or specialism in a particular product area. So, think about what sort of advice you need and do your research so you can make sure whoever you choose has the right capabilities to be able to help support you.
Make sure they’re authorised
There are some minimum requirements a good adviser should meet, and, for advisers in the U.K., the most important is probably that they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means they must follow certain rules when dealing with you.
So, find out if they are registered with the FCA by looking at the Financial Services Register. This way you can be sure that advisers are meeting the right standards – and crucially, you get more protection if you’re not happy with the service.
Ask to see their qualifications
There are minimum qualifications all regulated financial advisers need to have achieved. Although many will have achieved qualifications above that. So don’t feel uneasy asking to see your adviser’s qualifications – as they’ll probably be proud to share them with you!
Financial Advisers must have a Level 4 or above of the national Qualifications and Credit Framework. You can also check if they have a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS). This means they have signed up to a code of ethics and have completed at least 35 hours of professional training each year. SPS certificates must be renewed annually so you can ask if your adviser‘s is up to date.
Vet them in person
Most advisers will offer you a free initial meeting. This gives you the chance to get a sense of whether you're comfortable with them and how they work, so don’t be afraid to ask them for a fee-free first consultation.
It’s important that you feel comfortable with whoever you choose, as you need to share sensitive financial information with them to get the most out of their services.
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