Savers are confused about where to turn for financial advice and are not always sure which are the most trustworthy sources.
This was the conclusion of research from the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment ahead of its annual Financial Planning Week.
The week, which began on 8 May aims to raise awareness of financial planning and help the public understand how it can help them. As part of the week members of the public are also able to apply for a free consultation with a financial adviser.
But when asked who they trusted most for financial advice, only 41% said a financial adviser. One in four (26%) said that they could not trust anyone, while 22% said they put their faith in family and friends. Only 7% said they could trust their bank.
The research showed that people weren’t always sure what to do before meeting a financial adviser. A third said that they were not sure, 28% said they would want to speak to another of the clients while 25% would seek clarification from the regulator. Another 25% said they would check their qualifications with an examining body.
Jacqueline Lockie, deputy head of financial planning at the CISI says: “The survey findings show there is still a lot to be done to build trust in financial advice and planning in the minds of consumers. These findings also indicate that consumers are unsure what to do when seeking advice.”
10 questions to ask a financial adviser
In order to help consumers, the Institute has published 10 questions to ask before choosing a financial planner.
1. What are your qualifications? Make sure you understand their qualifications and whether they hold any advanced credentials, for example whether they have a Certified Financial Planner certification.
2. How much experience do they have? The CISI recommends they have at least two years experience of advising individuals.
3. What services do you offer? Check their area of speciality. Any adviser that sells financial products or offers investment advice must be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
4. What is your approach to financial planning? Find out whether the adviser will only deal with clients who have income or assets above a set threshold and whether they will implement their plans or pass you over to others.
5. Will you be the only person working for me? Many advisers will have a team of paraplanners to implement their recommendations. Paraplanners work alongside financial advisers, conducting technical research and writing up reports. You may wish to meet the team.
6. How will I pay for your services? There is no such thing as free advice. Your adviser should provide written details of their charges before they start work for you.
7. How much will you typically charge? Amounts will vary according to your particular requirements but your adviser should be able to give you an estimate.
8. How are you regulated? Advisers must be regulated by the FCA, check the FCA register to see their registration. They should also have a Statement of Professional Standing from an FCA accredited organisation such as the CISI.
9. How often will you review my situation? Your adviser should review your position at least once a year, although they may do so more frequently.
10. Can I have it in writing? As your adviser to provide a full written agreement detailing the services they will be providing.