How to Find the Right Financial Advisor

Payday loans online don’t need the help of a financial advisor.  Start here to apply online from the comfort of your own home.  However, if you’re interested in financial products involving larger sums of money, the advice of an expert can inform you about what is available on the market and what your options are.  Perhaps you wish to make provision for your retirement; have inherited a lump sum; are buying property or are preparing for a life-changing event such as a wedding or the birth of a baby. In all these cases, the advice of a professional can make a huge difference.

In the UK, financial advisors are of two types: independent and restricted.  Although independent financial advisors will be able to give you an unbiased overview of all the financial products there are, restricted financial advisors might specialise in a particular product (such as mortgages) or only work with certain companies.  Whichever type they are, your financial advisor should inform you at your first meeting.

Before meeting up with an expert for financial advice, you should check that they are registered with the FCA.  This means that they have met all the professional standards so that they’re in a position to offer you the best possible advice. If you have cause to complain, you’ll be able to seek redress from the FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service) and possibly receive compensation for any monetary loss because of bad advice.  

At your first meeting, be prepared to answer questions about your economic situation, your attitudes to risk, your short- and/or long-term plans and expectations, etc.  A financial advisor needs to know all this information so that the financial product they recommend meets both your personal circumstances and your needs. While they’re talking, you should take notes and ask for clarification about anything you don’t understand.  Don’t feel pressurised to make a decision straightaway. If you prefer, you should be given the time to go off and think over your choice.

Once you’ve decided, your financial advisor must present you with a copy of the ‘key facts document’.  This document contains everything you need to know about the advisor/firm including who authorised/regulates them; the products they recommended to you; the right to change your mind (the cooling-off period) and their complaints procedure.  The financial advisor should also provide clear and accurate information about how they are paid for their services including all charges and fees. This varies, but could be an hourly rate, a set fee, a retainer or a percentage of the money you’ve paid (for example, according to the size of your investment).  Financial advisors are no longer permitted to be paid by commission in case this affects the impartiality of their advice.

If you have a complaint about your financial advisor/firm, you should first go through their internal complaints’ procedure.  Only if you’re dissatisfied are you entitled to contact the FOS. Complaints must concern issues like the unsuitability of the product you were sold and not that an investment lost money.