Regardless of whether you are considering buying a financial product or looking to establish a long term financial plan, you could possibly find yourself in need of a financial adviser.
There are a number of factors that should be considered when making financial decisions. A financial adviser can help highlight these and suggest the most appropriate route for your own personal needs and circumstances. Advisers offer services ranging from holistic financial planning, to more specialist advice.
What services do financial advisers offer?
All professional financial advisers need to know their client, this is usually done by completing a ‘fact find’, this process will entail answering questions in detail about your own personal circumstances, establish what your long and short term goals are and the amount of risk you are willing to consider with regards to your investments. This will then allow the adviser to provide recommendations that are suitable to your needs and aspirations.
Types of financial adviser
There are 2 different kinds of financial adviser. An independent adviser, meaning that they offer advice on the full range of investment products from the market or a specific market segment and a restricted adviser, meaning that the range of products or providers they will look at is limited.
The benefits of getting advice
Seeking advice should result in purchasing the right product for you, meeting your needs and expectations whilst taking into consideration your personal circumstances.
Depending on the type of adviser you use, you may also have a wider range of choices than you could possibly access on your own.
The difference between advised and ‘non-advised’ sales
Generally your bank or building society will discuss with you different products and let you decide which route you take.
Although this will allow you to make an informed decision, it doesn’t necessarily ensure you leave with the product that would suit your own personal financial needs and circumstances.
When should you seek financial advice?
The answer depends on the product and your own personal circumstances. You should ask yourself these questions; can you afford to lose any money? Do you have the time to do the research? Do you know what you’re doing when it comes to investing? If something goes wrong, are you able to take responsibility for any bad decisions? If you answered ‘No’ to any of these then you might want to consider seeking financial advice. It might be worth considering the potential financial and emotional cost of not seeking advice and purchasing the wrong product.
Is it cheaper to buy without advice?
If you do not seek advice you will not have to pay a fee. However, not seeking advice could result in purchasing a product which is unsuitable for your needs and goals and some products are only available to purchase through an adviser.
What do you pay for financial advice?
A lot of advisers offer a free initial consultation.
On 31 December 2012, the law regarding financial advice fees changed. Fees are required to be established up front and agreed before any work is carried out.
You can choose to receive on-going advice to insure your investments continue to be appropriate and is invested to achieve it’s optimum performance.
Cash savings products
Because cash products such as cash ISAs and fix rate saving bonds are relatively easy to understand, you may feel that you do not require advice and feel confident to use comparison sites; these products are easy to buy directly from the provider yourself.
Investments such as shares and unit trusts can be purchased directly from the provider. However, this is only recommended if you feel you have sufficient knowledge and are confident with the placement of the investment. These products can be more complex than cash savings products, an adviser will ensure you are aware of the products available to you when making your investment. Not seeking advice could result in purchasing a product that is not suitable for you.
Your employer should offer you a workplace pension. With this they may also offer you access to an adviser who can provide guidance about the scheme.
You can choose to invest in a personal pension; in this case it’s usually best to get advice unless you really understand how these products work. Personal pensions can be used to boost your existing pension savings or to merge different schemes together.
As pensions are long-term investments, you need to ensure you understand the various types of pension available to you and pick the one most suitable for your needs and goals.
Insurance or mortgages
This can be purchased or arranged via a price comparison website or brought directly from the provider. However, it is recommended that you do seek advice for these products to ensure you end up with the correct one for your circumstances. It might also be a good idea to have the range of products and options explained to you. Some products are again only available through an adviser and seeking advice could create the opportunity for a lower rate.