If you’re considering working with a financial planner, no doubt you’ll have lots of questions about how they work and what’s involved.
To find the right person with the best advice for you, it’s worth taking the time to research your potential planners.
Asking the following six questions is a great way to find out what you need to know.
1) Are You Accredited?
One of the most important hallmarks of a great financial planner is an accreditation as a Certified Financial Planner. The Institute of Financial Planning is the UK body that regulates the accreditation for both firms and individual planners, making sure they uphold the highest professional standards.
To find an accredited planner, you can search here.
2) What Experience Do You Have?
It’s crucial to get an understanding of the previous work your planner has undertaken. Do they have a specialism? Have they worked within your industry before?
You should also get some information on how long they have been in business, and what type of client they typically work with.
Ideally, your financial planner should have been in practice for at least two years.
3) What Fees or Payment Do You Expect?
There’s no such thing as “free” financial advice, so ask your planner to fully disclose to you how he or she will be paid. Get a statement in writing that breaks down the cost of their services so that you know exactly what they’ll be doing for you and what you’ll be paying for their services.
In addition, find out how much he or she charges. The amount you’ll pay will depend on what you need, but all prospective financial planners should be able to give you an estimate of costs based upon the work that they’ll be doing for you.
4) What is Your Approach to Financial Planning?
Your planner’s approach need to be aligned with what you want to achieve. Some planners may offer advice only in specific areas, while other are qualified to create holistic financial plans.
Finding out more about your planner’s mission and philosophy will help you decide whether they are the right partner for you.
5) Will You Be the Only Person Working with Me?
Often, a financial planner works with a team of experts, each with his or her own tasks to complete, so that you get the benefit of full financial planning services from particular experts.
It’s up to you how comfortable you feel with this. You may want visibility of everyone involved in the work, or you may prefer to work only with your planner. Again, ask this question upfront so you’re clear on who will be involved.
6) Are You Regulated?
Financial planners are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and must have a statement of professional standing (SPS) from an organisation that has been accredited by the FCA.
You should also clarify whether your planner is independent or restricted. If your adviser is independent, he or she must research products across the whole market for you.
Take Your Time
Choosing a financial planner is not something to be rushed, so don’t be afraid to ask these questions or to see proof of the answers. The more you and your planner understand and trust each other, the better the results will be.