The questions you need to ask your new IFA

So you have decided to seek independent financial advice. Perhaps because you felt overwhelmed by the number of financial products available or somewhat bemused by all the talk of pensions, annuities and ISAs? Or perhaps it has been recommended by somebody you trust?

Whatever may have led you to this stage, obtaining independent financial advice is a proven way to boost your retirement income, purchase the best financial products, and save more. Indeed, research shows that people who take financial advice are able to save an additional £98 per year on average as well as significantly boost their potential retirement income.

Before your first appointment, you should have some idea as to what exactly you want to get from this venture. Is it pension/retirement advice that is your priority? Or perhaps you are looking at ways to reduce your inheritance tax exposure or to boost your savings? Or perhaps it is a combination of all of these? Whatever it may be, you should have a reasonable idea what you want to achieve.

The following is a list of key questions that you should ask your IFA:

1. How would you describe the work that you do?

2. What professional qualifications do you have and what does that mean?

3. What is your experience?

4. Can you give me details of people who I can ask about how you have helped them? And people who trust you/your advice?

5. What are the initial and ongoing costs of the services you will be providing?

6. What in-house support do you have in place? Is there somebody who will be able to help me in your absence or if you are busy?

7. Which non-human systems do you use? Specialist software for financial advisors reduces the administrative burden and helps to ensure compliance with the latest regulatory requirements. A wide range of software for financial advisors can be arranged through Intelliflo and other comparable providers.

8. How will I know that your advice is working for me? How are the results that you achieve for me monitored and communicated to me? How often is the advice reviewed/evaluated?

9. How, and how often, will we keep in touch?

10. What is your particular USP as a service provider?

11. Have you had any complaints made/upheld against you?