How to choose an IFA

Managing your money can be a daunting task – one that requires time and effort if you’re to get it right. Many people, therefore, look to independent financial advisers (IFAs) to help them – someone who can give them advice and, hopefully, save them time and money in the long-run.

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What Type of IFA Do You Need?

When looking for an IFA, you need to decide what you want them for. Is it to look after your pension pot, for example, or invest in stocks? Once you’re clear on this, you can search for IFAs offering these specialisms.

Personal Recommendations

One of the best ways to find an IFA is to ask your friends and family who they use and whether they would recommend them to others. Talk to them about what your needs are, and if theirs are similar, then talk to their IFA to see if it is a good fit.

Internet Searches

The internet is an excellent source of IFAs, but make sure you use a reputable site and search for your specific criteria. You might want to look for advisers in your local area – ones you can meet face-to-face or for ones with the highest ratings. Unbiased.co.uk and vouchedfor.co.uk are two sites that might work for you.

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What to Look for in an IFA

As well as wanting an IFA who has experience in the area you need support in, you also want to check whether they are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and what qualifications they hold; IFAs have to be qualified under the Qualifications and Credit Framework to at least level 4. IFAs should also have a current statement of professional standing, which shows that they have completed the required professional training.

You’ll also want to know how they will manage your money. Will they use financial adviser software, for example, which helps them better manage risks? Ask them which financial adviser software they use.

Finally, you will need to know what they cost and if this is in line with industry standards. Make sure you know what you are being asked to pay, what this payment covers and whether there are any additional charges. This doesn’t mean going with the cheapest option, but finding the option that makes the best financial sense for you.

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