9 Questions to ask your Financial Advisor
26 Nov 2015 | COMMENTS: 0 | Author: Ryan Smith | General
At Local Financial Advice, we’re dedicated to connecting you with a Financial Advisor that will help you achieve your financial goals.
When you’re trusting someone with your money, it’s important that you have all the information you need. Meeting your Financial Advisor for the first time can be a daunting process and we want you to be as prepared as possible before your initial consultation, so you feel completely comfortable.
To help you, we’ve created a list of questions to ask your Financial Advisor – to ensure you get the most out of your appointment with them.
Remember that your Financial Advisor is there to support you, and answer any questions you have – however minor you think they may be.
How can your advice benefit me?
Understanding investments, dealing with large amounts of money, and knowing how to make the most of saving and investment opportunities can be a complicated process. A FA can help you to cut through the jargon, and make informed decisions on your behalf. Your money is managed without you needing to invest your time, with many of the risks alleviated.
Are you approved by the FCA?
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the UK’s regulative body for the financial industry. Becoming an FCA-approved advisor is a stringent process, with minimum qualification levels for all FAs.
All FAs that we can connect you with are FCA-approved, which means that, should things go wrong, you can seek help via the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
What are your qualifications?
FAs must have a minimum qualification level to be approved by the FCA.
From 2013, they must hold a Diploma for Financial Advisors in order to work and offer advice as a financial advisor. Of course, some advisors hold higher qualifications than this; a level 5 qualification indicates advanced studies, whilst a level 8 is equivalent to a PHD.
Your FA may have additional qualifications that they can inform you of on request.
What do you charge?
It’s important to understand how you’re going to be charged for the FA’s services, as well as how much. Some advisors work on percentages, others charge a flat fee.
The fee you’ll be charged can depend on the general complexity of the work required, whether there are multiple funds to structure, and even how much money needs to be managed.
You’ll always have a free initial consultation with your FA; this is where they’ll determine your charges. Make sure you’re aware of the charges before you decide to take up their advice.
How do I know you’re the right FA for me?
Whenever you request to be connected with a FA, we always strive to ensure that they’ll be best suited to your needs. This can depend on your location, the value of money you need managing or whether your request will be best dealt with by a local or a national firm.
You can request to see your FA face-to-face at a location you decide (at home, their office, or elsewhere). Or, you may be able to deal with many of the FAs in our network over the phone, saving you time.
How long will my pension withdrawal take?
This is a question that gets asked to a lot of financial advisors.
Since the pension freedoms were introduced in April 2015, and new rules allow people to access all of their pension funds if they wish, there have been grumbles over how long the process has taken.
The average is around 4 weeks, but it could take a number of months. Your FA will explain the process, but be aware that it may take a little longer than you first expected.
What should I bring to my free initial consultation?
The initial consultation run much more smoothly, and the advisor can get a better idea of how to help if you are prepared. It helps if you have any paperwork relating to current savings and investments to hand, plus evidence of existing pension funds and any you may have held with workplaces in the past. The more information you can provide, the simpler the process will be. The government runs a Pension Tracing Service to assist you in finding any pensions you may have forgotten about.
The initial consultation is to decide on exactly what kind of advice you need: whether it’s going to be an on-going process or a one-off service. It also gives you an opportunity to decide whether the service is something you want to take up, or even if the adviser deems formal advice necessary – you might find your query can be dealt with in your initial consultation.
It lasts as long as is required, whether this be 15 minutes or an hour.
Can you also deal with my family’s finances?
If you’re happy with your FA, there’s no reason that you can’t recommend that they deal with family or friend’s finances too.
Be aware though that they will require an entirely separate consultation from your own – unless it’s your spouse and you’re managing all of your finances together.
Your FA also has the right to refuse to work with your family members, if they don’t want to take them on as a client for any reason. You shouldn’t let this affect your working relationship with them.
Do you have connections with other professional services?
There may come a point that, as well as your FA, you need the services of a solicitor or an accountant.
For many it’s important to have all three. By finding an FA that has good working relationships with solicitors and accountants, it can make life simpler for everybody due to the ease of communication.
If you’re happy with your FA and they recommend somebody, it’s likely you’ll enjoy a similar working relationship with the same level of professionalism.