Doctors guide on finding a Financial Adviser 

Hello this is Gemma at Clinic Alchemy, the Alchemist to give you great tips on how to manage and grow your wealth. 

In the Vlogs to date I have given you basic tips on how to manage your wealth. It has all been pretty simple and as soon as it gets complex I tend to say, speak to a professional! 

But who you may ask?  

I have been in the industry for over a decade, I have seen good advice, bad advice, awful advice – a bit I’m sure like your industry. 

So for those of you that don’t want to DIY your investments and value a professional to do the work for you, follow these main points and you should be on track to find a decent financial adviser:  

  1. FCA regulated. 

The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) is the body that regulates financial advice. The adviser and company if licensed and regulated will be found on the FCA register. You can also slightly stalk them here and see if they have any issues lurking in the closet, i.e. previous complaints, suspension etc. 

  1. Chartered and/or fellow 

Ok you don’t have to choose a chartered or fellow adviser but if you do you can be rest assured that you are receiving advice form one of the most experienced and qualified advisers in the industry. They will be called Chartered Financial Planner as provided by the CII and are a widely accepted ‘gold standard’ qualification for professional financial planners and financial advisers in the United Kingdom.   

  1. Whole of market 

Make sure the adviser is able to advise from the whole of the market and they are not tied to specific providers.  

Ask them if they are whole of market. If they respond , ‘I’m independent’, then ask if they offer products from the whole of the market. NOT a stupid question, an IFA can be independent yet not whole of market so watch out for this trap! 

  1. Specific advice 

Does the adviser specialize in a specific area? Do they have the relevant qualifications to advise.  

For example if your require specific pension advice make sure they have the advanced pension exams, and or a client base similar to yourself.  

For example not many advisers have a strong grasp of the NHS pension and the interaction with the Annual allowance.  

  1. Fees and service 

Advisers will charge fees for advice and they should! Back in the grey murky days, advisers were paid via the provider through hefty commissions (which incidentally affected the fees on your product). This led to biased advice as advisers tended to be money-driven. Don’t worry, this has changed now.  

Fees vary between advisers, some charge an hourly fee, for a chartered adviser this is £350, some charge a project fee for the advice e.g. £5,000 for a pension transfer, some charge a fee based on the % of money being invested this can vary from 1 to 5%. Some offer all these options. 

Two exceptions are in the case of insurance and mortgage advice where is it still an option for an adviser to be remunerated by the provider in the way of commission. 

If you require an ongoing service then again there will be a fee, this is usually a % varying between 0.5 and1 % of the money invested, although some charge an annual fixed fee. Some charge both! 

When discussing fees with the adviser make sure you understand what they are at the outset. This should be documented in the client agreement and/or fee agreement.  

If you wish to have an ongoing service then make sure they deliver on this point! If an adviser is charging you for looking after your investments, you should receive an annual review meeting and bi-annual investments reviews. In the background they should be monitoring your investments and keeping you up to date with any changes that may affect you, for example a change in legislation, market falls.  

  1. Where to find an adviser 

Referral from a happy client is a good start 

Website search engine: The money advise service and the PFS  

Other search engines are unbiased, and vouchedfor, which advisers pay to be on. 

Adverts in newspaper etc. this is an option although to be honest not many advisers advertise as their clients tend to come from referrals and professional connections. 

So hopefully this gives you a clearer understanding of financial advisers and the market place and steers you in the right direction of getting decent advice.   

Remember you can speak to more than one adviser before going ahead and deciding which one to go with (most offer the first consultation free of charge). 

When meeting an adviser for the first time, remember to ask the above questions. Don’t be charmed by flattery or beaten up by a sales man making you feel bad about your financial planning to date. Think ‘Do I want this person to look after me going forward?’. Lastly, think ‘Do I trust them?’ 

This is Gemma at Clinic Alchemy. If you like what you have heard feel free to give me a thumbs up. 

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