Financial Adviser, it’s a fancy name but what does it mean? The name is supposed to tell you everything but in fact tells you nothing. If you have some questions about something regarding money then it could be an idea to talk to a financial adviser. That could be anyone such as a bank manager, an accountant, an insurance man, a solicitor, an IFA. a credit union employee, someone in the post office, a good saver, a rich person. There are so many to choose from it becomes a nightmare. Which one is the best person to talk to pension planning?
How can you tell if a person is a proper financial adviser? Well that person may have a business card with the words FINANCIAL ADVISER on it. That would be a good hint. The person may have a desk in a bank, building society or life office. The person may even have an office with FINANCIAL ADVISER above the door. All of these are good initial indicators that a person is a FINANCIAL ADVISER.
You then may want to know if that person knows anything about the subject which gives you concern. I would first look on the walls to see if there are any certificates of passed examination in the subject you wish to discuss. Next I would look at the Initial Disclosure Document (I.D.D.) to see if the person is both qualified and licensed to give recommendations in that particular subject. You could even go as far as to ask the person what level of qualification and experience they have.
If you find that at the beginning of the meeting you are doing all the talking then you are not finding out much about the quality of the person whose recommendations you are going to consider. They should begin the meeting by introducing themselves and telling you why you should listen to their advice.
So titles which don’t tell you very much. I have asked many people what they believe an Independent Financial Adviser does. Usually I am told that they search the entire market for the best insurance deals available and then they get commission. I don’t think there are many of them who would be pleased with that definition and in many cases it isn’t even true.
Seeking out a good financial adviser is very important. You may have a particular question or problem and they may have the solution. You should first seek a recommendation from someone you trust whose has already used that adviser. There is safety in numbers. Next you should see if that person has a good reputation. Last, but by no means least, you should check to see if that person is in the Financial Services Authority register. The register is easy to find on the internet. Just type in FSA.
While there are certainly fewer and fewer rogue financial adviser out there, some remain better than others.