What is an IFA and How Can They Help You Manage Your Finances
Put simply, an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) is a state regulated financial adviser that provides impartial and independent advice to cover all your financial advisory needs – from protections, pensions, mortgage and investment portfolios to inheritance planning an IFA is there to support your decision making.
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.
What Services Does an IFA Provide?
A professional financial adviser will not only get to know you personally but will ascertain your overall financial position and ultimately get a feel for your specific financial goals before making specific recommendations. They will then help you to set defined goals and planned objectives.
An IFA will also be able to provide the full range of services that you may require to build, maintain and optimise your financial portfolio – from setting up a mortgage or protections insurance to developing a long term retirement planning strategy, an IFA can make sure that your finances work the way they should.
More specifically an IFA can help you by:
- Manage your Pre-Agreed Financial Plan: This plan usually includes both strategies and instruments which should result in a general wealth expansion of an individual or a family. Advisers tend to long term plan, however the outcomes ultimately depend on the goals of an individual or a family and whether there is an ability to take higher risks to achieve those aims.
- Pension Planning: This form of advice is best for those who want to take care of their retirement finances. By planning for an advantageous pension programme or other investment option, you can help maintain a passive income with minimal risk.
- Investments: A personal financial adviser can also assist in the formation of a deposit portfolio and select the most profitable investments, based on the source data and financial goals of a client.
- Managing Protection Insurance: A financial advisor assists you in selecting the right coverage for you and your family. This is perfect for those who want to feel more secure about their future an given the current global pandemic offers a good peace of mind should the worst happen.
- Managing your Mortgage: A financial adviser can identify the right mortgage options for you.
- Inheritance Planning: Professional financial advisors use many ways for optimising the transition and obtainment of inheritance. If you need to manage your heritage, a financial adviser will provide you with options to decrease the inheritance tax.
- Business Management: Assistance in optimising taxation, advice on developing business – such services of a financial adviser may be of interest to entrepreneurs.
Developing an IFA-Client Relationship
Our personal finances are of course 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 that can last many decades.
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 wealth levels. 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 and understand their client 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 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 each year.
Can You Trust the Advice of an IFA?
Whilst many clients 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.
Whist there are always exceptions, the advice of an IFA is regulated and compliant – there is a huge degree of oversight and also a well established point of recourse in case the advice is poor.
There are a number of quick and easy steps however 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. 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. 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.
Optimise Your Finances with the Virtual Adviser & Book a Complimentary Consultation with a Member of the Fintuity Advisory Team
If you require any financial advice or support with regards your pensions, mortgages, protections, savings or investments then please use our Virtual Adviser to receive a fully bespoke financial health report in 5 minutes – Once completed you will have the option to book a complimentary consultation with a member of our advisory team.
Introducing Fintuity – The UK’s Digital IFA!
Fintuity is like a traditional IFA, only we are an online adviser which means we can offer a more cost effective, time-sensitive and flexible service! We offer the full range of IFA services via our digital platform, at below industry rates and at your convenience. Please do not hesitate to get in touch to see how we can assist you.
Please Note: All information, references and dates included in this article were accurate at the time of publishing.