It’s essential to do your homework before committing yourself, says Rosemary Bigmore.

The relationship between you and your financial adviser is a vital one, and it could make the difference between a comfortable retirement and a penny pinching one.

Just as you wouldn’t choose a builder without finding out about them first, you should check out your adviser before committing. Here are some questions to ask.

1. How and what do you charge?

Different advisers charge in different ways and many provide a free meeting up front. 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.

2. 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 make them a bad choice for you. Check that they have dealt with similar situations before.

3. Do you have additional qualifications?

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

4. What’s your investment philosophy?

Getting a good adviser “fit” can often depend on philosophy and style. Your adviser is duty bound to invest your money in line with your own risk appetite, not his or hers, 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 he or she makes.

5. Can I check your credentials?

Yes. Unless you have found your adviser by word of mouth, an adviser’s own website may be informative and also detail any affiliations, but 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.


If you don’t currently have a financial adviser, and would like to have a FREE initial consultation with one of our experts, either:

  • Phone us on 0800 599 9249 to book a meeting to discuss your needs
    Lines are open Monday-Thursday 9am-7pm, Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 10am-4pm.

  • Visit our page on the value of advice, complete the form and one of our consultants will call you back at a time of your convenience.

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Advice will be provided by an appointed representative of Quilter Financial Services Limited or Quilter Mortgage Planning Limited, which are a wholly owned subsidiaries of Quilter plc. Investments may fall as well as rise in value and you may not get back what you put in. Quilter plc products and services are provided through its two divisions: Advice and Wealth Management, and Wealth Platforms. For a list of its companies and their regulatory authorisation details, visit Quilter plc’s business is registered in England and Wales. The content of this promotion has been approved by Quilter Financial Services Limited and Quilter Mortgage Planning Limited. Quilter Financial Services Limited and Quilter Mortgage Planning Limited are entered on the FCA register ( under reference 440703 and 440718.