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When choosing an adviser in whom you are going to hopefully engage and place your trust in the implicitly there are many things that can be done and basic checks that can be made.
I would respectfully suggest that an Independent Adviser can serve you better than an Adviser who is restricted, check that the Adviser you are speaking to is qualified to at least QCF4 and is holding a statement of professional standing (SPS) this is a legal requirement.
Not that I am anti youth as I was young myself once, however there are now University graduates suitably qualified out there advising, but I would question their People and business skills, how many years experience does the Adviser have that you are speaking to?
It is easy to check the register on the Financial Conduct Authority who are the industry regulators www.fca.org.uk to establish if the Adviser is listed, I have recently come across a situation where an Adviser had sold their business but continued to speak to his ex clients claiming he could still advise whilst being De- Authorised!
It is also a good sign if they are a member of a professional body such as the Personal Finance Society (PFS) as these bodies often have a code of conduct and promote Continuous Professional development (CPD).
A good way to meet an adviser is by way of recommendation and it is a good idea to ask them for written testimonials and if you are able to speak directly to the person who has written the testimonial, I have even been asked for professional references which I am happy to supply.
Independent advisers have to present a Client proposition to you detailing their service offerings and the fees charged, do check these to ensure they are fair and not penal, please beware of Companies who claim to be offering contracts with 100% unit allocations there is no such thing and there never was free advice, also ask if the first meeting is without charge, they need to earn a living and their advice needs to be paid for but within reason.
When you meet work off your gut feelings, does the Adviser appear to be trustworthy, is it someone that you could deal with on a long term basis, and will they put your interests first and bespoke their advice to your needs and aspirations.
Don’t be put off by an Adviser taking the time to gather lots of hard & soft facts and really getting a feel for your income needs & expenditure commitments.
When it comes to investing please ensure that they have a robust repeatable process for assessing your attitude to risk & your capacity for loss, and which research tools do they use to assess the whole of the market, beware of “shoe horning” you into a product particularly if they offer restricted advice as there may be better options on the open market.
About the guest blogger:
Stephen Baker Financial Consultants is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority No. 515272
Tel 01296 641868 www.sbfinancial.co.uk
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