A 2019 report suggested that one in five financial advisers was planning to leave the profession in the next five years. With the average age of a financial adviser standing at 58, thousands of advisers are set to retire in the next half a decade – meaning you might need to find a new adviser.
If your financial adviser has retired and you’re facing the prospect of finding a new planner, here are ten things to look for.
1. Planning, not advice
While the terms may be used interchangeably, there is a difference between choosing a financial adviser and a financial planner.
A financial adviser typically finds product-based solutions to issues you may have – for example, the right pension, ISA or investment.
A financial planner gets to know you, your goals and your aspirations. They create a holistic, lifetime financial plan for you which focuses on you achieving your life goals. This may be to retire early, help your children get onto the property ladder, or to mitigate tax liabilities.
Choosing a financial planner means the process is always focused on you and your desired future lifestyle.
2. Chartered status
Chartered status is considered the ‘gold standard’ of financial planning. Awarded by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), firms who have obtained this status must demonstrate:
- The highest levels of technical knowledge through professional qualifications
- High ethical standards
- A commitment to ongoing improvement
By working with a firm of Chartered financial planners, you can be confident that you will receive the best possible advice, service, and support.
While financial advice can be delivered remotely, there’s nothing like meeting with your local specialist. Regular reviews are an important part of financial planning, so trusting someone that you can easily meet will help you to build up a good long-term relationship.
Financial advisers are often also heavily involved in your local community. For example, Sovereign:
- Are the main sponsors of Keynsham Cricket Club
- Are members of Premium Partners; a scheme promoting the collaboration of local schools and businesses to share knowledge and create opportunities
- Have hosted breakfast meetings with local sixth formers
- Arranged sessions on CV writing and coordinated mock interviews with local schools
- Are members of Lansdown Club, created by Bristol Sport. The club is a space for like-minded businesses to discuss, share and follow sport and business together in a welcoming environment.
4. Impressive client reviews
A financial adviser can explain all the reasons that you should choose them, but there’s nothing like hearing from their clients.
When you choose a new financial adviser, always look for testimonials and reviews from clients. These might be:
- Videos, case studies or testimonials on an adviser’s website
- Google reviews
- Reviews on sites such as Unbiased and VouchedFor.
We recently undertook a comprehensive client survey that revealed 100% of Sovereign clients would recommend us to family, friends or work colleagues. It also found that 100% of Sovereign clients believe working with us has helped them achieve their financial goals.
“I have been a client of Sovereign IFA for many years. They are a very friendly, personable, approachable and thorough team of advisers. They have help guide us through the maze of Financial options available over the years and were instrumental in us achieving our Financial and Life goals. I would highly recommend them.” – David Coombes, Google review
An independent adviser can offer bespoke recommendations from the whole of the market. This means the advice you receive is highly personal and based solely upon your objectives and aspirations.
In contrast, restricted financial advisers are only able to recommend certain products and providers. This can result in you receiving advice that isn’t best suited to your circumstances.
Independent financial advisers have no obligation to any one provider of products. Instead, they work for you – so look for this when you are choosing a firm.
6. Fair and transparent fees
Financial advisers use a range of charging models. So, when looking for a new adviser, look for a firm that offers fair and transparent fees, as well as a value-for-money service.
For example, this might be a firm who offers fixed fees based on the complexity of your situation, rather than taking a percentage of the assets you hold. This ensures that your adviser is paid for the work that they do, and that their fees are not dependent on ‘selling’ you a financial product that you don’t necessarily need.
Look also for a firm that offers a free initial discussion, and someone who is open and transparent about their charging structure.
Accolades awarded to a financial planning firm demonstrate their expertise and that they are held in high esteem by peers and the wider profession.
Look for evidence of awards on a financial planner website. Some of the most prestigious industry awards include:
- Being named in New Model Adviser’s Top 100 advice firms
- Finalists/winners in the Professional Adviser awards
- Finalists/winners in the Money Marketing awards
8. A friendly and approachable team
While awards and accolades demonstrate a firm’s capability, it’s the friendliness of their staff that means you will develop a long-term rapport.
Look for a firm where individual planners work with a limited number of clients. This ensures a high level of personal service, and that your adviser won’t be too busy with new clients to look after you.
Also, look for a firm who generates much of their new business through word-of-mouth referrals. This suggests that existing clients are so pleased with the service that they are happy to refer friends and colleagues.
From our point of view, trust and integrity are the foundations that Sovereign is built upon. We believe that the best business is always between friends, and that’s what most of our clients are; as likely to drop into our office for a chat as they are to talk finance!
9. They work with clients like you
Financial planners specialise in all sorts of different areas, from pensions to investments and more. So, it’s useful if your planner has experience of working with clients that are similar to you.
Have they worked with business owners or senior executives? Have they advised people at or approaching retirement? Or, do they have experience dealing with professional clients and contacts?
Check the firm out online for examples of the types of client they are used to. Do you fit the bill?
10. A strong client focus
Choosing a financial adviser is likely to lead to a relationship over years or even decades. So, you want to make sure that you’re trusting someone who is going to be committed to you by offering a high level of care.
Look for advisers with good client reviews and those who generate lots of word-of-mouth referrals. Finding a firm with a strong, experienced support team can also be a huge benefit. They will ordinarily be your first point of contact with a firm, so give a firm a call and see how they deal with your enquiry.
Get in touch
If your financial adviser is retiring and you’re looking for a trusted, local firm with an excellent reputation, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch to find out how we can help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01454 416653.