Duncan Glassey, Partner at Wealthflow, believes there are 10 questions you should ask before choosing your financial planner.
Choosing a financial planner is a decision that should not be taken lightly as it will almost certainly affect your financial future.
1. What are your qualifications?
Check if they hold any advanced level professional credentials, such as Chartered status, Fellowships, or the internationally recognised CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certification – the global standard of excellence in Financial Planning which is equivalent to an honours degree.
2. What experience do you have?
Experience is an important consideration in choosing any professional so don’t hesitate to ask how long the planner has been in practice, the firms they have been associated with and how this experience relates to their current practice.
3. What services do you offer?
The services a financial planner offers will vary and depend on their credentials, areas of expertise and the firm for which they work.
Those who give investment advice, must be authorised and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
4. What is your approach to financial planning?
The types of services a financial planner will provide will vary. Some planners prefer to develop detailed financial plans encompassing all of a client’s financial goals and objectives. Others choose to work in specific areas such as taxation, estate planning, insurance and investments.
5. Will you be the only person working with me?
It is quite common for a financial planner to work with their team to provide the full Financial Planning service to you. You may want to meet everyone who will be working with you and this will often involve Paraplanners. These are professionals who work to support the Financial Planner, providing technical research and backup as well as report writing and analysis.
6. How will I pay for your services?
Your planner should disclose the cost of their services in writing in advance of them starting to work with you, so you are clear on this as well as how they will charge you for the services they will provide.
7. How much do you typically charge?
Although the amount you pay the planner depends on your particular needs, even at an early stage in the process the financial planner should be able to provide you with an estimate of costs based on the work they will be carrying out for you.
8. How are you regulated?
You can use this link to check that both the firm and the individual adviser or planner are authorised by the FCA. You should also ask whether the advice they give when it comes to recommending financial products is independent or restricted. Independent advisers have a duty to research products across the whole of the market. It’s also a fair question to ask if they have ever been the subject of disciplinary action by any regulatory body or professional association.
9. How often do you review my situation?
Good financial planners will make sure that they review your situation at least annually. Many will do so more frequently, but a thorough review once a year is sufficient to ensure that your plan keeps up to date with your changing circumstances.
10.Can I have it in writing?
And finally, be sure to ask the planner to provide you with a written agreement that details the services that will be provided.