When it comes to our finances, we all need a little help and support from time to time.
From a full financial annual health check to reviewing your near retirement pension provisions through to selecting a mortgage product – the United Kingdom’s five thousand plus Independent Financial Advisers (IFA) provide an invaluable service to millions each year.
Whilst many consumers will require both one-off consulting and regular financial advice, the question as to whether you can trust the advice from your IFA is a key consideration for many first time and repeat customers alike.
Whether you are looking to physically meet a high street IFA and assess them in person or access financial advice online, there are a number of considerations to take into account when engaging a traditional high street or digital IFA.
Can you trust your IFA?
Your assets are hard won and it is imperative that you get the right, compliant and timely advice to ensure that they work as hard for you as you worked to secure them.
Be it an online or high street IFA, the advice that you get will remain largely the same, depending of course on your requirements and circumstances. The adviser will have to have passed a Diploma for Financial Advisors (DipFA) course and be registered with the Financial Services Authority – details of which can easily be checked.
Once you have ascertained that the advisor is both compliant and qualified, the decision as to whether you engage their services will depend on a range of factors including fees, value for money and reputation.
Doing your own research however is of crucial importance – fraudulent and unregulated advice could cause a huge amount of heartache and a few simple checks can make all the difference.
Do Your Own Due Diligence – Some Useful Pointers
Once you have identified a list of potential IFA partners as well as the scope of what you require an IFA support for, the next step is to do your own diligence to ensure that the adviser is not only competent but compliant.
There are a number of quick and easy steps to ensure that your selected IFA’s are who they say they are and can ultimately help you deliver the anticipated results for your assets, including:
- Companies House: A quick check on companies house will establish that the company and its directors are who they say they are. Companies House lists all the key information about a company and its key personnel and allows you to check their registered address, director information, financials as well as potential disqualifications and other key information. To access Companies House Webcheck please click here.
- Financial Services Register: The Financial Services Register (FSR) is an invaluable tool and allows you to search for a host of information that can prove an IFA’s compliance. In order to practice, an IFA must be FCA approved and included in the register as they are bound by law to provide only the highest of regulated advice. You can use the FSR to check registered contact details and other key bits of information that will prove that your IFA is regulated correctly to impart financial advice. To access the FSR please click here.
- Check the Internet / Background Checks: An open source check on your IFA via an online search engine will allow you to find out a lot more about the reputation and competency of your selected IFA – have a look at their website, social media and online forums to further check the background of your IFA.
There are those that will purport to represent a firm or act in a fraudulent manner – sadly this is just a fact of life but by doing your own background, company and FSR checks, you will be able to get a peace of mind knowing that your regardless of the advice you are given it is compliant. Equally if you are unhappy with the advice that you have been given you are of course free to contact the FCA, so you have a point of recourse should the advice be misleading or fraudulent.
Can you Trust an Online IFA?
Of course you can!
The fact that the advice is imparted online is of little consequence – the advice given is still regulated and data stored and monitored in the same way in which a traditional high street IFA would be – it’s just more efficient.
There is an argument that because an IFA is online, this would mean that is possibly an even more secure option – every aspect of the technical platform needs to be fully secured to meet strict government guidelines around IP, privacy, data protection and financial regulation. From initial client engagement to the signing of documents and the storing of sensitive data – the latest security protocols and technology are essential to maintaining an FCA approved license.
The FCA is rightly relentless in its demand for compliant advice and secure communications – the UK is one of the most regulated consumer finance markets in the world and delivering advice online is just as secure and compliant as visiting a traditional IFA.
Introducing Fintuity – The Only Digital IFA in the UK
Fintuity is the only IFA of its kind in the UK and is changing the way in which people access regulated financial advice. Fintuity offers all the same services but in just a morr flexible and cost-efficient manner – without large overheads there are strong benefits to using Fintuity.
A recent trend and with COVID-19 still ongoing, many are now looking to access IFA support online – not only does it help those in remote areas or those who are shielding but without large overheads offers real cost savings and offers a fully bespoke online service that is suitable to your commitments.