If you’re going to invest time and money in the services of an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA), you want to know that you’ll be getting the best possible service. Much of this is down to your rapport and relationship with the advisor you choose, alongside their actual advisory skills. Here are five steps to finding the right IFA for you.
1. Know what you what
More of us than ever are taking financial decisions into our own hands, but there are times that expert help is valuable, such as when it comes to tax efficiency, pensions planning, insurance, investments and mortgage. Know what services you want beforehand and look for an IFA rather than a tied financial advisor so that they will give you market advice that is truly independent.
2. Do your homework
Look for a recommendation or search online for a good IFA. Recommendations from trusted sources are ideal, but otherwise, Unbiased.co.uk or The Telegraph are good starting points. You may also find online reviews, which can be very handy as a means of finding honest thoughts from other customers.
3. Research prospects
When you have found a prospective IFA, research their reviews, credentials and experience. They must be independent, offer overall market advice, and be experienced, qualified and regulated by the FCA; search the FCA register to check this. Arrange a short initial interview with them, which should be free.
- Interview before committing
Take questions with you before you see your potential IFA, and bring your paperwork. Find out how much their service will cost. The rise in IFA back office software such as that provided by intelliflo.com means that some costs are now stripped out of doing business for IFAs. In theory, this should translate into a better, more transparent cost for clients.
5. Negotiate the fee
A flat fee structure is better than a commission from an investment approach as it means the pricing structure is transparent. If the IFA is quoting more than you are prepared to pay, ask if they will drop their price. They may not, but you will get a strong appreciation of realistic costs and feel more confident about what you will ultimately be expected to pay for the services you want.
Good luck with your search!