IFA comparison website launched
A comparison website similar to Tripadvisor has been launched to help consumers find the best independent financial advisers.
Vouchedfor.co.uk allows people to search for advisers according to postcode, and then read reviews and ratings by the advisers' clients. Only advisers that work for a fee and don't take commission are listed.
The site also indicates whether an IFA has a qualification on the FSA's level-four list, meaning they are ready for the retail distribution review, which comes into effect at the end of next year. The RDR requires advisers to have more qualifications and bans them from taking commission from product providers.
Find an IFA
The site already has 55 advisers on it, mainly from London and Surrey so far. Adam Price, founder of the site and previously head of digital proposition at Barclays Wealth, comments: "Because of the criteria we impose, it will take time to build this up. However, we believe consumers will be happier with a small number of select IFAs than a large list of all IFAs.
"We will also soon launch a service whereby if we haven't got an IFA near you on the site we will try to find one (who meets our criteria) for you, free of charge."
Price says that although clients have always sought IFAs through personal recommendations, "in this day and age people expect to find those recommendations aggregated online". He adds: "You only have to look at the impact sites such as Amazon, Tripadvisor, Toptable, Reevoo and Ratedpeople have had on their respective industries to see this."
This article was written for Money Observer
A financial adviser who is not tied to any financial services company (such as a bank or insurance company) and is authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). They can advise on financial products to suit your circumstances. All IFAs have to give consumers the choice of paying by fees or commission and have to explain which would best suit the customer in that particular instance. Also, if commission is paid either by the client or the financial service provider recommended by the IFA, the IFA must disclose what that commission is.
The Financial Services Authority is an independent non-governmental body, given a wide range of rule-making, investigatory and enforcement powers in order to meet its four statutory objectives: market confidence (maintaining confidence in the UK financial system), financial stability, consumer protection and the reduction of financial crime. The FSA receives no government funding and is funded entirely by the firms it regulates, but is accountable to the Treasury and, ultimately, parliament.