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 product 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 Financial Services Compensation Scheme (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 on the contact us page of the website. A summary of our internal complaints handling procedures for the reasonable and prompt handling of complaints is available on request and if you cannot settle your complaint with us, you may be entitled to refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service at www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk or by contacting them on 0800 023 4 567.
If you wish to register a complaint, please write or telephone Richard Wheeler, Southernhay Financial Planning Ltd. 20 Southernhay West, Exeter. EX1 1PR. Tel. No: 01392 439009.
If you try to submit a complaint to a firm and the firm is dissolved, or unable to meet its obligations, you may have recourse to the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme). This service is funded by levies on firms that are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to protect customers where firms have closed or gone into liquidation.
Anything else I should know?
Some financial advisers do give advice on products that are not regulated by FCA – such as general taxation and some Buy-to-Let mortgages. Your adviser will explain to you when you are receiving advice on an unregulated product. It is important you are happy with the advice as you may not have the added protection of the FOS or FSCS when dealing with some unregulated products.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate some forms of buy to let.
Paul from Southernhay arrived at our hour of need, like anyone self-employed we are always classed as odd! Well after he parked his white charger he came in took some details and went off to see what he could do. A day or so later Paul had let us know he had spoken with our accountant and lender with an in principle decision, WOW! So with a little bit of form filling (all correct but relaxed and not pressurised which comes from Paul's experience) mortgage dealt with in weeks not months and cover in place. Job done! I would recommend Paul to anyone wanted to look at Mortgage finance, the transaction was a pleasure from start to finish!
I can not recommend high enough the first class service I have had from Paul and his team dealing in all aspects for my family and friends.
I have referred clients to Claire Taylor for the past 10 years. Claire provides a high quality, client focussed and pro-active financial advisory service and develops excellent long term client relationships. Her level of knowledge and expertise in the financial services sector is first class and I would not hesitate in recommending clients to her and her company.
After the sudden death of my husband of 42 years, I was left to make sense of our investments and savings. Claire came to my house and helped me plan my financial future. She took care to explain my options. Her professionalism and knowledge is impressive. I can pick up the phone to her at any time.
I feel extremely confident in the hands of Claire and the team. Nothing is ever too much trouble. Claire arranges regular consultations and takes time to explain anything that I may not understand, answering any questions and researching product information to provide the very best advice. All in all a great service that I would highly recommend.
“Could you please pass on our thanks for Paul Beckett for all the work he put into sorting out the mortgage for our Daughter and our Son-in-Law to be able purchase the house next door to us. It was a long road for him with plenty of problems to be solved! Maybe you could give him a “well done” pat on the back?!! We will certainly put his name forward to any future mortgage/loans we hear about being needed by anyone we know. Kindest regards and thanks”
We have known Richard for a number of years and are therefore confident that the advice he gives can be relied on to be carefully considered for our financial requirements and resources through his professional knowledge and personal interviews. He reviews our financial planning at regular intervals and is always available to discuss any matters promptly and gives straight forward explanations of our investments in a friendly and informative manner.
I have known Richard for many years now, originally through Lloyds Bank negotiations and more recently as my financial advisor. I consider it an honour to be taken on as one of his private clients and would thoroughly recommend him to anyone seeking advice about financial matters. Richard is a very astute and friendly person. His dealings on my behalf are extremely well prepared and thoroughly researched. He is most patient and tolerant when I need clarification on any point and I am always treated as if I am Richard's only client. In these uncertain times he is always someone on whom I can rely and am very grateful for all his help and advice.
I have an excellent working relationship with Richard, he has been dealing with my finance for the past few years and would recommend him to anyone who seeks financial advice.