Four steps to appointing the right Independent Financial Adviser (IFA)

If you haven’t worked with a financial adviser before, it can be difficult to know what to expect. We’ve broken the appointment process down into four initial steps an Introductory Meeting, a Fact Find, Analysis & Recommendation, and Implementation & Review. Following this four step plan will help you to get the best out of your IFA.

1. The Introduction

Your chosen financial adviser will usually begin by spending around 30-60 minutes with you to understand what you are looking for, and explain how their services could help you. At Investment Solutions we offer this service at no obligation or cost. As well as giving you an introduction to their fees and services, it gives you the opportunity to check you’ve found an individual you trust and can get on well with. It’s worth remembering that a good financial adviser is likely to be somebody that you develop an on-going relationship with as you are likely to need their advice at various stages throughout your life.

The IFA should make clear how they charge, and provide you a “key facts” document summarising their fees and services. This document should also explain the maximum amount payable under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme should you in future have cause to dispute the advice you receive.

It is important you understand in which product areas they are fully independent and in which they maybe tied to particular product providers.  If you are happy with what you have heard, then you should agree to be advised by the IFA and begin the “Fact Find”

2. The Fact Find

Your IFA will spend around an hour with you, gathering a full picture of your:

  • Current finances savings, investments, loans, property and income
  • Future goals personal and career
  • Family situation
  • Attitude to risk and any other investment preferences you may have

This information allows your IFA to build a full picture of your needs across the short, medium and long term.

Your IFA will provide you a written summary of your discussion. You should read this carefully and ensure its accuracy as it will form the basis of the IFA’s recommendation.

3. Analysis and Recommendation

Your IFA will discuss with you a full financial plan tailored to your specific needs and goals. This will give consideration to:

  • How your wealth is organised. Should you be saving more, paying down your mortgage faster, moving savings into investments or pensions and/ or increasing the amount of protection you have?
  • How well diversified your investment portfolio is across different asset classes?
  • Should you be taking on more or less risk to achieve the growth or income required to achieve your goals?
  • Are you making full use of available tax shields such as pensions, ISAs, Capital Gains and salary sacrifice?

You should understand how the IFA’s recommendation is aligned with your goals and the level of risk associated with the plan.  Once you have discussed and agreed a plan, your IFA will again summarise their recommenda- tions and reasons for it in writing.

4. Implementation and Review

Your IFA can take care of all product applications for you. You should agree with your IFA a time to review your portfolio. A reputable firm will conduct ongoing reviews on a regular basis in exchange for an annual management charge.

And Finally: We are here to help!