Tools and resources - Find a financial adviser
Find a financial adviser
If you are looking for financial advice but haven’t got a financial adviser, we can help you find one. Using Unbiased.co.uk’s search facility, you simply enter your postcode and then select the criteria that are important to you.
From 31 December 2012 financial advisers can offer either ‘independent’ or ‘restricted’ advice and will need to explain what this means regarding the advice they can offer you. Whether your adviser can give independent or restricted advice can have a big impact on the type and range of advice they can offer.
Advisers that provide ‘independent’ advice will be able to consider all types of retail investment products which could meet your needs and objectives. Independent advisers can also consider products from all firms across the whole market.
A ‘restricted’ adviser can only recommend certain products, product providers, or both. This means they might only offer products from one company, or just one type of product. An adviser will offer restricted advice where they work with or for a product provider and only offer advice on the products that company offers.
Restricted advisers can also choose to focus on a particular market. This might be something like pensions or ethical investments, meaning the adviser will be able to recommend products from all providers that operate in this market. Restricted firms will not be allowed to use ‘independent’ to describe the advice they offer. It should be made clear to you if you are receiving restricted advice and what that means in practice.
Paying for advice
Financial advice has never been free but it has not always been clear how advisers are paid. From 31 December 2012, neither independent nor restricted advisers will be incentivised to recommend one product over another. This means they will not be paid commission through the product provider, so you will know how much you are paying and will be charged an agreed fee for advice.
Do they provide a telephone only or face-to-face advice service? Can they offer you a home visit or out of hours appointments? Or do they only offer office based appointments, or only operate during standard working hours? What would you prefer?
Must they have particular skills or areas of expertise in pensions, investments, Inheritance Tax or paying for long term care to help you? How will you measure this?
What should your adviser have? All advisers have been through a fairly rigorous set of examinations. It’s the only way they can become authorised* financial advisers.It’s generally agreed that the most highly qualified advisers are either Certified or Chartered Financial Planners which may be important to you if you have complex financial affairs.
However some areas of advice require advisers to have additional qualifications before they can make recommendations – for example to advise on long term care insurance. If your adviser has not passed the relevant exams, they may have to ‘sub-contract’ this advice to an another expert or alternatively you may want to choose a different adviser.
Do you know anyone who uses a financial adviser? Their recommendation could provide much needed reassurance. Alternatively, ask your adviser to provide details of some of their customers who may be happy to talk to you about the service they have received.
Finally, once you have chosen a financial adviser, you may wish to go and see them at their premises so that you get a good feel of how they run their business. Most advisers have websites now and this can also give you information on the way they work with their clients.
*You can easily find out if your financial adviser is authorised by checking they are on the Financial Services Authority (FSA)’s register. It is quick and easy to search for this on their website fsa.gov.uk