If you have recently made the decision to seek financial advice in the UK, then you may have gone the route of hiring a financial advisor. This is a smart move, as a certified financial planner can help maximise your finances over time. Of course, choosing a financial advisor is just the first point on your journey.
Once you have done the necessary research and found a financial advisor whom you like, you should book a first meeting to:
- Introduce yourselves to each other
- Give the advisor an idea of why you need financial advice
- See if you want to work with this specific advisor
- Give the advisor a chance to get an overview of your finances
- Ask any relevant questions that you need answering
Although all the above points are valid, the last one is especially important. Asking the right questions at this first meeting will prove very handy in the long term. Not only will this put any of your worries to rest, but it will also ensure that you do not waste your time on an advisor who is not suitable. Although getting clear financial advice is worthwhile, you need to make sure that it comes from a reputable source.
What questions should I ask my advisor?
Once that first meeting is in your diary, you should start thinking about which questions you need the advisor to answer. Here are some very common ones that everyone should ask:
- What are your fees? – As with any professional service, you will have to pay for the financial advice that you receive. You should ask your advisor about the fees for different services and what you will get for your money. Commission-based fees on most financial products were illegalised in 2012, so be careful of any advisor trying to use this method. Local Financial Advice’s service offers a free, no-obligation consultation, so you can clarify any costs before seeking advice formally.
- What are your qualifications and experience? – There are many advisors on the market, so it is key to make sure that you find one who has the right qualifications and experience. Look for an advisor who holds at least a QCA Level 4 diploma and industry-standard extra credentials such as ISO 22222 and Chartered Financial Planner. In terms of experience, you will want an advisor who has a proven track record of offering trusted advice.
- Are you FCA-regulated? – The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates all financial service providers in the UK who are members. To become a member of the FCA, advisors and financial advisory businesses must show that they have the highest ethical and behavioural standards. Therefore, by using an FCA-approved company, you know you will be safe and get quality advice.
Making the decision to use a certified financial planner or advisor is a big step to financial freedom. These experts can determine the current state of your finances and help advise you on the best way forward, depending on your needs. Be sure to ask the right questions from the start to get the most out of the experience.