What is Independent Advice?
Independent advice is not the only option available.
If you go to your high street bank you may be greeted by a financial adviser, but they could well be ‘tied’ to recommending and promoting the products of the bank, or a single insurance/investment company to which the bank has an allegiance. So why do we need independent advisers, and how can customers be sure they are getting a fair deal?
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
The FCA, to give it its shorter title, is the independent watchdog that regulates all financial and insurance firms. This ranges from the largest multinational bank, to the financial adviser operating as a sole trader. The FCA handbook lays down the rules and guidance to which all regulated Advisers must adhere to. The rules are freely available from the FCA’s website – www.fca.org.uk. Please note by clicking on this link you will leave our website and enter into a third party website of which our firm is not responsible for the content.
How do I know the company I am dealing with is independent?
Independent advisers are able to select products for customers from the whole of market. That means they can potentially recommend any product from any company providing it suits the customer’s needs and objectives. With such a wide choice of companies, investments and saving tools the customer can be reassured that they are not simply being provided with a standard recommendation – and are getting personalised advice.
To ensure you do get personal advice your financial adviser will collect certain details about you and your circumstances to enable him to advise you. Remember to be as open and honest as you can, because the adviser’s recommendation will be based on the information you provide.
All financial advisers have to provide their customers with the relevant important disclosure documents, detailing the following: information on services provided by the firm, how the firm is paid for the business it conducts, their complaints procedure, Data Protection and coverage under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). You can ask to see our disclosure documents at any time, simply contact us for these.
What protection do I have?
Your adviser will always endeavour to ensure the products recommended are suitable for you. When the adviser is advising you on regulated products (including investments, insurance and some forms of mortgages) you have the protection of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and the FSCS.
If you are unhappy about the advice or service you have received you should firstly contact the firm that provided the advice or service. This gives them the chance to put things right and/or to provide their own version of events. Should you remain dissatisfied you may be entitled to refer your complaint to the FOS who will investigate the complaint independently and make a ruling. The FOS work with customers and financial advisers to resolve a complaint, and when they do have to make a ruling it is binding upon the firm. If you wish to register a complaint against our firm our contact details can be found here.