Looking for some good financial advice?

Looking for some good financial advice?

Here are 8 tips to help you to choose the best people.

1. Ask for personal recommendations from people you trust and respect and identify some potential candidates.

2. Arrange to speak to 2 or 3 advisers. Speak to them on the ‘phone to find out if they are someone you think you can work with. Having a brief initial discussion will help to avoid wasting your time if you don’t get a good feeling from the conversation.

3. Once you’ve settled on a promising candidate, you need to set up an initial meeting. A good financial planner will offer a free “Discovery” meeting during which they will ask a lot of questions about what you want to do with your life so they can start to build a close long term relationship with you and your family. If you do not feel you can establish such a relationship for any reason, walk away and speak to someone else - trust is key and you should feel it almost instantly. Trust your gut instinct.

4. Give some thought to the sort of service you want – i.e. do you just want someone to manage your money, or do you want a more comprehensive planning service where you can discuss all elements of your finances and your hopes and dreams for the future.

5. You should not expect an adviser to discuss immediate solutions during the first conversation without giving fair time to find out exactly what you are looking for and fully understanding your circumstances. Instead, it should be a conversation about why you want advice, what you already have in place and what you are looking to achieve.

6. Ask questions - prepare a list of what you want to ask and what information you want to be sure of before engaging anyone. Some good questions to ask will be about experience, qualifications, fees, how the firm will look after you, how often you will meet and whether you can expect to see a lifetime cashflow forecast (see below.)

7. The best advisers will have high level qualifications – Chartered Financial Planners can demonstrate technical expertise which will be required in complex planning areas like pensions; Certified Financial Planners are also technically qualified and can demonstrate their skill in applying that technical knowledge to real life situations; Chartered Wealth Managers have the knowledge to manage your money efficiently. If you can find an adviser who holds all 3 qualifications, this will be a very good start.

8. Most great financial planners will provide a lifetime cashflow forecast - this will enable you to see your future more clearly and give you a clear idea of where you are now and how you will achieve your goals. Without this, any advice is largely guesswork.

Poor financial advice can do more harm than good. To protect yourself, there a number of other issues worth paying attention to.

1. There might be cause for concern if an adviser is free to meet you straight away unless there is an urgent need. Good advisers are in demand and usually have a waiting list. If they are free to meet you within hours or days, it should at least make you question their services.

2. You should not feel pressured into making decisions in the initial meeting. If the adviser isn’t giving you time to think, that is a major red flag.

3. A lack of clarity around charges, unwillingness to offer a free initial meeting and vagueness about expertise or qualifications should all raise alarm bells.

4. A good adviser will explain even complex issues in simple terms – if you feel overwhelmed or bamboozled you should say so. If further explanation is no better, find another adviser who you can understand.

5. In the first instance you should visit the firm’s offices to check they are a bonafide firm.

6. Look at the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) website to check the firm is authorised and properly regulated.

If you are currently looking for advice, please take a look at the Magenta website and see if you think we could be the perfect match for you! www.magentafp.com 

Julie Lord is CEO of Magenta Financial Planning. Julie is passionate about helping people to determine their life goals and then helping them to organise their finances most efficiently in order to achieve them. She believes in simple explanations of complex issues and long term client relationships.

t: 01656 760670

​w: www.magentafp.com 

Magenta Financial Planning is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.