Choosing a financial adviser
All financial advisers must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). To check whether an adviser is regulated, visit the FCA's Register. If you deal with an adviser who is not authorised, they are breaking the law and you will not benefit from the protection that authorisation gives consumers.
Financial advisers will give you a Key Facts document explaining:
There are many ways to invest your money and some financial advisers will advise you on all products that may be right for you and others will focus on certain areas, such as pensions.
- what services they can offer and how they charge for them
- a list of any charges that you might be asked to pay
Your adviser will explain which products they can advise you on and whether they source products from the whole of the market or only a few providers.
You can read more about the benefits of financial advice here and about paying for financial advice here.
What to look out for when buying direct from a product provider
Some banks and building societies offer an 'information only' service where no fee is charged.
This is called selling on a 'non-advised' basis, and while it might appear that you're getting advice (because you will be talked through the key features of different products) the 'adviser' will not carry out a fact find to assess your personal circumstances, goals and needs to assess the suitability of particular products for you.
While this might seem an attractive option because there is no fee, bear in mind that when buying direct you will only be talked through the provider's own products - not products from the whole market.
In addition, when you buy a regulated investment product direct and without advice the product provider will still take a commission or fee out of your initial investment sum, so you are not getting the product for free. If buying this way, ask what fee or commission will be deducted from your investments so that you can weigh up the cost benefit against getting advice.
You can find more information about paying for financial advice here and you can read about the benefits of getting professional financial advice here.
Finding an adviser
You can search for an adviser in your area here or visit www.unbiased.co.uk.
If there's something particular you need advice on - such as pensions or mortgages - you may want to look for an adviser who specialises in that area.