Skip to main content

Important questions to ask when choosing a financial adviser

Date: 08 July 2022

As well as giving you advice in a particular area, such as which pension to choose or where to invest, a financial adviser can help you understand your money better, improve your relationship with your finances and feel more in control.

Spending ten minutes learning what to look for in a financial adviser can help you ensure you choose someone who’s right for you. Just as you wouldn’t employ a builder without finding out about them first, it’s essential to do your homework before committing yourself. Here are some questions to ask.

1. Can I check your credentials?

Don’t be afraid to ask your adviser what their credentials are. Their website may be informative and detail any affiliations. You can also check online that they are on the Financial Services Register to ensure they are regulated and approved by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Some financial advisers may also be accredited by other professional organisations such as Resolution, the body that provides a code of practice for Family Lawyers. This may be particularly important to you if you are going through a divorce, for example.

2. How and what do you charge?

Different advisers charge in different ways, and many provide a free initial meeting. Find out if they charge by the hour, or by specific project, and whether they will charge for ongoing advice in the coming years. Don’t be afraid to talk about specific figures. You need to be completely comfortable with the charging structure.

3. Do you have many clients like me?

Some financial advisers focus on particular types of people, for example those who have a specific level of wealth, the self-employed or those with NHS pensions.

If your adviser usually deals with the wealthy and you have modest means, that doesn’t necessarily make them a bad choice for you. Ask whether they have dealt with similar clients before.

4. What qualifications do you have?

Financial advisers need to have a certain level of qualifications and amount of training; they must engage in continual professional development to keep their licence to advise. Taking extra qualifications, especially in areas relevant to your finances, can show that the adviser is likely to be switched on to new ideas.

5. What’s your investment philosophy?

Getting a good adviser ‘fit’ can often depend on their investment philosophy and style. Your adviser is duty bound to invest your money in line with your own risk appetite, so finding an adviser who thinks like you about goals, volatility and comfort can help you to build a rapport and be happy with the suggestions they make.

Visit our ‘Find an adviser’ webpage for more information.