Finding a good financial planner

The cornerstone of good financial advice is in finding the right planner to work with. We explore the steps which can be useful in the quest to choose a financial planner.

Seeking out a good financial planner might feel like something of a challenge. It’s no surprise that there are lots of options to consider, especially if you face added complexities such as living overseas. Thankfully the last few years have seen increased regulation of financial planners, most recently with the Retail Distribution Review in 2013. This eliminated commission across the sector and meant that planners had to embrace stringent qualifications.

But how do you find the right firm for you? As a first port of call you might start by asking friends, family or colleagues, or using a directory, your chosen news source or another third party. Yet these routes might be loaded with bias or personal experiences and ultimately leave you more confused.

Independent or restricted?

It can be useful to start with determining whether the planner is truly independent or restricted. Planners who are independent can offer you a range of financial products from across the market. Those who are restricted are limited in what they can provide, although their fees may be cheaper because they will only offer a centrally approved product.

A question of fees

Planners must provide you with clear information about what they will charge you. A typical approach, and the most common, is a percentage charge based on your investment portfolio, but other options include an hourly rate. Some firms are more expensive than others, so it’s important to consider what you feel is fair and reasonable for the service you are being offered.

Impartial endorsement

Do consider the accreditations of the firm, and whether there is a programme for regular, ongoing training for advisers. One of the most useful checks is whether the firm itself is recognised by the Chartered Insurance Institute as a Chartered Financial Planner. This is a widely accepted ‘gold standard’ qualification for financial planners in the UK.

Ultimately it can be helpful to consider how firms rank against their peers. And it’s not just a case of who is the largest – being big certainly doesn’t equate to good client relationships and quality of advice.

One of the most useful tools available is the FT Adviser Top 100, one of the most sophisticated and transparent lists which can be used when choosing a financial planner.

FT Adviser ranks financial planners based on a range of criteria, reviewing which firms attract the most business, the number of advisers employed and their professional qualifications, the age of the business, the ability to retain clients along with an estimated performance based on asset growth. Ultimately the rankings aim to highlight firms that do the best by their clients.

That is really what you need to consider when seeking out a financial planner. Dig deep, ask questions and choose the firm which you feel offers the best option for you, your family and your unique personal circumstances.

Contact us to speak to one of our financial planners about your personal circumstances and to see how we can help you.

This article is distributed for educational purposes and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale. This article contains the opinions of the author but not necessarily the Firm and does not represent a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but is not guaranteed.

Past performance is not indicative of future results and the value of investments can fall as well as rise. No representation is made that the stated results will be replicated.