How to find a financial adviser

Finding unbiased financial advice is the key to planning your financial future, but how do you choose a financial adviser? In this article we’ll give you the answers to these questions as well as providing you with some useful links to help you in your search.

How do I find a financial adviser I can trust?

If you have a family member or trusted friend who can make a recommendation based on financial advice they have received in the past, talk to them. Their adviser may not be what you’re looking for but taking advice from a trusted source is a good place to start when searching for an adviser of your own.

Check the FCA register

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates all financial advisers, both independent and restricted. Search the FCA register to find out if a firm you plan to use has the right qualifications as well as discovering their main contact details, trading information and other basic information.

The FCA register will also alert you to firms and individuals providing products or services without the required authorisation, approval or exemption from regulation.

Other useful resources:

Online comparison services:

Questions for a financial adviser

What do you charge and how much am I likely to pay?

A financial adviser must give you this information before they take you on as a client. Some charge a fixed fee, others a percentage of the value of your pension pot.

What services do you offer? Are you independent?

Again, an adviser is legally bound to give you this information. To be called ‘independent’ they must be able to give you unbiased, unrestricted information based on a comprehensive and fair analysis of the market.

If you’re not independent, can you look at products from across the market?

It’s worth checking this to ensure you are being offered the choice you need to make the right decision.

Do you have the required qualifications?

Since 2013, all financial advisers must have a qualification called QCF level 4. Many will have higher qualifications. It’s always worth your while to check. Some types of advice require more specialised qualifications. For example, pension transfers and equity release.

Do you have many clients who are in a similar position to me?

Some financial advisers will only deal with clients with over a certain sum to invest, while others are happy to advise clients regardless of the size of the investment. It’s always worth finding out if an adviser is experienced in advising clients in a similar financial position to your own.

Will you give me ongoing advice and what will this cost?

You may not need ongoing advice, but circumstances can change, so it’s always worth finding out if this is available. Find out more about financial adviser fees here.

Choosing an independent financial adviser

Hopefully, the information here will help you take the next step towards finding the adviser and the advice you need.