1) Status – Independent or Restricted – This has been a huge debate in financial services. What is better? Well the restricted model in theory is easier. In practice however it is then to decide – in what way Restricted? Is it a panel of providers? Is it that we don’t offer certain products? I believe that Independent still sets the highest standard of professionalism. You get the best advice for your individual needs from the whole of market place. What is your preference? And do ask your financial advisor which one they are?
2) Qualifications – Make sure your financial advisor is appropriately qualified. They should have a Diploma in Financial Planning and also a Statement of Professional Standing which is renewed annually. It is important to know that who you get advice from is qualified to do so.
3) Fees – As of 1st January 2013 product providers were banned from paying advisors commission for pensions and investments. So now charges are more transparent than ever. What does your advisor charge? Can you get a more competitive rate? Advisors in London for example will charge more than an advisor in Belfast. Does geography matter when it comes to selecting your advisor. You get the same service and availability of products from an advisor in London as you do from one in Belfast.
4) Service – Do you get the service you want? or the service your advisor wants to give you? Is it a value for money service? Have you checked to see lately how much your advisor receives. Some old group pensions were set up on commission bases and so can have heavy charges. We charge your employer directly so their are no fees/commissions coming out of your pension to pay an advisor. What a difference that can make to you pension.
5) Rapport – do you have a good relationship with your advisor? It is very important to have a good solid relationship based on trust and understanding of what your advisor does for you and how much they get paid. This way you are comfortable with your advisor and happy with the service that is provided.
6) Availability of other services – Does your advisor offer other services? Legal services, Wills, accountancy/tax services? We through our partners offer a wide range of additional services. We feel that these services compliment each other and are of great benefit to you.
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