It is very important to take independent financial advice when you are at important stages in your life, or making big decisions. An independent financial adviser will have access to products from the entire market and will be able to tailor these to your individual circumstances, as well as guide you through making important decisions and helping you reach financial goals. But how to find a financial adviser who is best for your particular needs?
Whether you are planning for retirement, looking to invest, seeking ways to mitigate tax, getting your inheritance and estate related affairs in order or planning for long term care, it is vital you take independent advice so that you are in a position to make the right decisions, and you end up with a product that works for you.
An independent financial adviser (IFA) will help you personally plan for the things you would like to do with your money later in life, for example, in retirement.
You can, by all means, purchase complex financial products without an adviser. But unless you are familiar with the likes of investments and pension plans, and you are clear on how best to use current tax efficiency vehicles, you may run the risk of ending up with a product that does not deliver on your goals.
How to choose a financial adviser?
When it comes to how to choose a financial adviser, there are various things to consider.
1. Shop around and check they are regulated
The key advice is to shop around and look at reviews when considering how to pick a financial adviser. Comparison sites such as Unbiased and VouchedFor can be helpful, and seeking recommendations from people you trust is another way to find the best independent financial adviser for your needs.
You can also consult the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register, which will allow you to verify that your chosen IFA is authorised. You will only ever be protected if you use an FCA authorised financial adviser. This will give you redress through the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) should anything go wrong with your advice. The FCA has the power to penalise financial advisers who have breached regulations.
The Society of Later Life Advisers is another port of call when choosing a financial adviser specifically for later life advice. There’s also the Personal Finance Society, a searchable directory of members who may hold certifications, including Chartered Financial Planner.
Good IFAs will offer a free initial consultation, so that you can get to know whether you’re a good match and will be able to work together.
2. Make sure the IFA specialises in the type of advice you need
You may for example need retirement planning advice, in which case you will need a specialist financial adviser in the area of pensions. Or perhaps you are looking for investment management advice or estate planning guidance.
If you need a complete financial plan, you may be better off with a chartered financial planner who will provide you with holistic advice across every area of your financial life.
3. Check qualifications
When looking at choosing the best independent financial adviser for your needs, it’s important to check qualifications.
Whilst Retail Distribution Review (RDR) legislation provides that all financial advisers are qualified to a certain level, it is worth making sure they actually are. Also be on the lookout for additional qualifications, as that will show that they have extra knowledge.
4. Look for a personalised service
You are going to want individual advice that is tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. Your finances are of great importance, so make sure you click with the adviser and feel confident that they are committed to your best interests.
You will also want to feel you can work with them long term and completely trust them. If you do not have this confidence, you are probably best going elsewhere.
Looking for an independent financial adviser?
Now you are clearer on how to find a financial adviser, it is time to start shopping around.
PMW has been providing independent financial advice since 1969. As chartered financial planners, we have extensive qualifications and are known for our dedication to the industry and exceptional standards of client care and fully tailored advice.
Our respected team of chartered financial advisers, retirement planners, investment administrators, tax advisers and legal specialists are committed to protecting your wealth, and helping you achieve your individual goals.
Should you require independent financial advice on any matter, you are welcome to get in touch with our friendly, expert team.