What Do You Need to Prepare For Your First Meeting With Your IFA?
We all need some financial support and guidance from time to time and once you have decided to engage an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA), there are a few points to consider and prepare for. In this article we will explore in greater detail what you will need to prepare in order to maximise your initial meeting.
What Will You Need to Prepare for Your Initial IFA Fact Find?
Whilst an IFA will be able to assist you throughout the process once engaged, there are a few things that you will need to think about and prepare in advance, including:
- Work Out Exactly What You Need an IFA’s Help With: Whether it is a new mortgage, a consolidation of your pensions, portfolio or inheritance tax planning advice, dealing with your protection needs; it is best to have an exact set of points to action.
- Research Your IFA In Depth: Further information can be found below but ensure that you do your own due diligence and research of the firm before you request a meeting.
- Book Your Complimentary First Meeting: Simply logon and book your meeting – remember that the first meeting is at our expense and designed to work out your goals and objectives only and you are under no obligation to commit! Once completed the IFA will then propose a more formal appointment to conduct a fact find in detail.
- Gather All Documentation & Identification Prior to the Fact Find Meeting: Gather all your documents, policy numbers, supporting information, address history, details of any liabilities and loans, premiums and set down any prepared questions that you might have for your IFA. For some products and services it is also essential that you have your passport number and National Insurance (NI) number to hand as well to verify your identity. This also includes photographic ID.
- Dual Nationality & Non-Domiciled Residents: For many services it will be crucial to have an NI number and passport scan to hand, this is needed for verification of tax position as well as the application of products such as ISAs.
- Income & Expenditure: It doesn’t have to be to the penny but your IFA will require a good overview of your income and expenditures to accurately assist you. IFAs are also under an obligation to ensure that the advice given is sustainable and affordable & will demonstrate the affordability of the strategy / products that the IFA will suggest.
- Other Assets & Liabilities: It will also be worth making a note of the value of additional assets such as vehicles, jewellery, artwork and the like if you have them as these assets can be factored into your overall plan. It is also worth making a detailed note of any accrued liabilities, including interest rates and loan repayment periods.
Here is a checklist of what you will need to gather together or think about in advance:
- Mortgages: How much are you looking to borrow, over what time period and under what terms? If you have an existing mortgage please also gather all information together and let your IFA know on the call. You will also need to have an idea as to your wider finances including income and outgoings as the mortgage product proposed will depend on your financial circumstances. It is important to make a note of the repayment length, cost and provider as well as any policy number for related insurance plans.
- Pension: Policy documents, income and projected income statements, policy numbers and other supporting documents.
- Inheritance Tax Planning: Please let the IFA know as to your circumstances, how much you intend to leave, bequeath or use and any existing insurance policy details or funds becoming available.
- Investments: You will need to know how much you wish to invest and what sorts of returns you wish to achieve – be it an ISA, shares or Bonds, an IFA will need to have a complete idea as to what you intend to invest and what you expect to get back and when.
- Insurances: The product(s) selected will depend on what you hope to gain in case of the worst-case-scenario – you will need to brief your IFA as to what sort of level of cover you will require and also what you can afford in terms of premiums.
- Protections: Having a good idea as to the potential value of your existing protection policies is a useful addition to the meeting – we would suggest making a note of the cost of any policy, provider, total sums insured (level of cover), policy number as well as the term of the policy.
- Hold the Meeting & Ask Questions: An IFA should be more than happy to answer any queries that you might have. Here are some questions that you could ask during the meeting:
- Is the IFA an independent or a restricted adviser?
- Are you regulated by the FCA?
- For those advisers who are restricted, what percentage of the market do you cover?
- What are your professional qualifications and areas of expertise?
- How do you charge for your services and on what basis?
- Take Your Time and Decide Whether an IFA Is The Right Fit For You: There is no rush to commit – take your time and evaluate the initial fact find, costs and solutions that have been proposed. If in doubt go back and ask for further clarification.
Developing an Effective & Long-Term IFA / Client Relationship
Our personal finances are hugely private and as such we should be able to trust and value the advice of our adviser – as such many IFAs and clients develop a mutually beneficial and long-term relationship.
For some, the main goal of engaging an IFA is to increase their overall portfolio income, whilst for others it would be to protect their family’s wealth and existing personal wealth. In any case, an IFA must be able to quickly react to the needs of their clients and having a positive relationship with your IFA is crucial.
A good IFA will know their client’s motivations – By doing so, an adviser will determine the amount of risk the client can afford to take in investing and advise accordingly. The most suitable investment or asset management opportunities are then proposed and agreed according to the financial goals and current financial position of the client.
An IFA will then regularly update you as to the health of your finances, advise on upcoming market developments and regulation as well as review your portfolio when required.
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Please Note: All information, references and dates included in this article were accurate at the time of publishing.