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Not all financial advisers are crooks. How to do your due diligence

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Now whilst I do not read every financial publication, I do like to scan the headlines in case anything of interest appears.

Lately there have been a few articles that have caught my eye in relation to Financial Advisers being fined large sums of money by the FCA for miss-selling products or even being banned from practising altogether.

This got me to thinking, how does your average joe choose a financial adviser for the first time, what checks do they make, if any, to ensure they choose a reputable firm?

Here at Gibson Lamb the majority of our new clients are referred to us by existing clients and whilst a personal referral is probably the most common reason for choosing an adviser there are of course other safety checks you could make including the following:-

Are they regulated?

The Financial Conduct Authority has a new Financial Services Register which will enable you to check that the firm in question is registered and that the individual providing you with advice is qualified to do so.

http://www.fca.org.uk/news/new-financial-services-register

Hit the web and do your research

Have a look at the company’s website, see what services they offer and if they are appropriate to you.  Does the website contain any testimonials?  It may even be worth entering the company name in your search engine to see if any articles or blog posts about the company are available.

Client Reference

Will the company in question allow you to contact an existing client for a reference?  If the answer is no I would seriously question why and maybe look elsewhere.

 There are also some key questions you should ask:

  1. What are your qualifications?
  2. What experience do you have?
  3. What services do you offer?
  4. What is your approach to financial planning?
  5. Will you be the only person working with me?
  6. How will I pay for your services?
  7. How much do you typically charge?
  8. Will all recommendations be provided in writing?

 

These are just some steps you can take to ensure you choose the best firm for you.