Do financial planners offer objective advice?

Wondering whether financial planners offer objective advice?

They should do, of course. But financial planners are human beings. And some human beings are driven by greed. So you might reasonably wonder whether your planner is offering you the product that’s best for you, or the one that earns them the highest fee.

This article hopefully helps to address this concern.

There was a time when financial planners were not incentivised to offer objective advice, because they earned most of their money through commissions.

But commissions have been banned ever since the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) on 31 December 2012. This was an initiative by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that aimed to provide consumers with greater clarity about the various types of financial services available.

It means that, these days, planners get paid an agreed fee rather than a commission. That said, some planners have fees that look like commission and smell like commission. Sadly, we find that it’s happening out there a lot.

We will never encourage you down a particular road just because it earns us more money. Knowing that we won’t be swayed by the amount of money coming in is like a safety blanket for you.

Before the RDR, it was common for planners to charge 3% upfront followed by 0.5% for ongoing servicing. This was an incentive that drove planners to always be looking for new clients and not looking after their existing clients very well.

Rather than a one-off transfer of funds, we think it benefits us and you to charge less at the outset and to provide an ongoing long-term service.

Usually, we charge an annual % fee for financial planning based on the amount of your investment. It’s our tiny slice of the pie in return for doing all the work.

Over time, the growth in your investment should more than cover the amount you pay to us.

In some cases, we also charge a flat fee for specific projects and implementation.

If we have an existing client that comes into money and they’d like us to invest that for them, we wouldn’t charge an extra implementation fee, as their annual % would increase anyway. According to a podcast I was listening to recently, I was shocked to learn that some other planners would take an additional 1% in that scenario.

What’s more, some planners charge clients for every little service they provide. If you ask them a question and they reply, they charge you a fee.

We provide an all-encompassing service. There are no hidden extra costs, and there’s no clock-watching. You can ask us anything! If there is anything worrying you, you can get on the phone or ping us an email, safe in the knowledge that you won’t get another bill. 

If you’re persuaded that we’re the right financial planners for you, or you have any questions, please give us a call on 01435 863787.

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Lance Baron

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) based in East Sussex, UK. We support people in Southeast England with more than £500K to invest by building a financial plan that will help them live the life they want… until age 100