Buyer Beware – The FCA as a Final Point of Recourse and a Source for Pre-Engagement Due Diligence
Providing crucial advice to those seeking financial advice in the UK the IFA community is integral to the economic health of the nation.
Whilst the inner workings of the FCA may not be known outside of industry professionals, the work of the FCA is integral to ensuring that consumers get the right advice and services. The FCA Consumer Hub provides a wealth of information and support regarding firms and their accreditation, consumer rights and as a final point of call to complain about fraudulent advice, scams and misleading statements.
The FCA can help you in a number of ways and we at Fintuity would always recommend that you do your own due diligence before engaging professional services or accessing financial products. There are a number of tools that can help you and that are entirely free of charge:
- Ensure the firm you are speaking with is fully regulated
- Check the FCA’s Black List of firms and individuals
- Make a complaint
- Access useful tips and guidance
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.