How to get the most from your financial adviser

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If you want to invest, plan for the long term or purchase a financial product, a financial adviser may be a smart move.

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What services do financial advisers offer?

Financial advisers can recommend these products:

– annuities
– financial planning
– tax planning
– equity release and mortgages
– protection insurance
– pensions and pension transfers.

They will research the market for you and get results tailored to your circumstances which are superior to what you might find on your own.

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A suitable plan

Advisers will conduct a ‘fact find’, asking about your situation, your targets and your attitude to financial risk. You may want a particular product, or a financial plan to ensure an adequate lifetime income. The adviser will tell you what is feasible.

You and your spouse must divulge a lot of personal information as part of the planning process. If your goals change over time, your adviser can refocus accordingly.

There are two different types of adviser:

Independent financial advisers (IFAs)

An independent financial adviser can advise on products from all over the market. Look up the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register online to make sure the person is fully authorised.

Many professionals find that software for financial advisers can make savings on administration.

Restricted advisers

A restricted adviser can only recommend particular products or providers to you. Check exactly what is on offer before proceeding.

What are the fees?

Generally, the first time you meet is free, so there is no obligation to employ the adviser if you don’t click.

After that, there are three payment options,

Percentage fee: The charge can be anything from 0.5% to 5% of the money you are seeking advice on.
Fixed fee: These are good for those with just one specific goal.
Hourly charge: Hourly charges can be anything from £50 to £250 an hour.

Make sure you know what return you can expect for your fees. You may be able to negotiate on price.

Software for financial advisers can streamline fees management. See, for example, www.intelliflo.com.

The Financial Times advises on choosing an IFA here: https://www.ft.com/content/0f18ea78-293f-11e8-b27e-cc62a39d57a0.

How will I get the advice?

You will get a complete fact plan, containing recommendations of suitable products. You may get the information face-to-face, via email, on the phone or in a report.

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