1) Be picky – whilst you may initially consider appointing the adviser from your local bank or building society they may be tied in to certain products and not be best placed to serve your needs. Shop around for an adviser who offers either “whole of the market” should you require advice on a number of financial services or choose an adviser who is a specialist in a particular area. Question if the adviser is independent, tied or multi-tied.
2) Regulated advisers only please! – choose only practitioners who are regulated by the FSA. A database of FSA regulated advisers can be found at: www.fsa.gov.uk/register/
3) Do your homework – check what qualifications your adviser holds – as a minimum a “Statement of Professional Standing”.
4) Pay day – whilst fees can be charged as either commission based payments (for insurance products)or fee only chargeable hourly or as a percentage of assets) don’t always assume commission payments are cheaper as they can be negated by product charges, impacting upon your investment.
5) Word of mouth – always request testimonials from a practitioner giving you peace of mind.
6) Get it in black and white! – ensure you receive any product recommendation in writing and carefully read through the literature before signing on the dotted line.