Choosing a Financial Planner

To help you decide which Financial Planner is right for you, you first need to consider the types of adviser available and which one covers the services you are looking for.. 

Tied or multi-tied advisors
At branch level, most Banks and Building Societies are either Tied or Multi- tied Advisers.  A Tied Adviser, as the name suggests, advises on the products of a single provider.  A Multi-tied Adviser works from a limited panel of preselected providers. 

Whole of Market advisers
The alternative is to seek out a Whole of Market Adviser, generally an Independent Financial Adviser or Independent Financial Planner.  These advisers work on behalf of the client to seek out the best product or service from the whole of the available marketplace.

You need to weigh up whether you feel comfortable with a restricted advice route via tied or multi-tied or with a comprehensive advice route which is not restricted.

If you have not had the services of a Financial Planner recommended to you by someone you trust, then ask those on your shortlist for any testimonials they may have.  You can often find these on various websites including Linkedin.

When you first meet a Financial Planner, don't be afraid to ask them to explain what you can expect from them.  The following questions are not exhaustive, but they will give you a good idea of what you are going to get for your money.  Here are some questions that you may wish to ask:

  • Do you have experience in providing advice on [your area(s) of interest]?
  • What are your areas of specialism?
  • What qualifications to you have in these fields?
  • How long have you been providing financial planning advice?
  • How long do you expect to continue in your present role?
  • How many clients do you currently look after?
  • Would you give me a brief history of your career to date?
  • What relevant continuing professional development do you undertake?
  • What financial services can you offer?
  • Please describe your approach to financial planning.
  • Will I only deal with you now and in the future or will someone else be involved?  If so, whom and in what capacity?
  • How will I pay you for your services?  Will I pay a fee, will you receive a commission or will it be a combination of these?
  • What do you typically charge for and how much is a normal fee?
  • Do you have any affiliation with any company whose products or services you may recommend?
  • Is any of your personal income based upon selling products or services?
  • Do other professionals with whom you are associated send you business, pay you fees or commissions or provide any other benefits?
  • Will you confirm all of your advice in writing before asking me to commit to any given course of action or charge any fees?

A professional financial adviser should not be offended if you asked any of these questions - I know I wouldn't be.

So, in conclusion, always opt for an independent financial adviser, but make sure the one you choose is qualified and has your best interests at the heart of the advice process.

Information provided by our Financial Planning Expert - Clive Barwell -