From whom should I take financial advice?

Ever asked yourself “From whom should I take financial advice?”

Well, you certainly shouldn’t take financial advice from your mate down the pub (even when we’re allowed to go to pubs). That might not be a surprise to you.

But you shouldn’t take financial advice from your accountant or solicitor either. You might think they might have a valid opinion, and they are allowed to recommend a financial adviser to you. But they aren’t qualified to give advice themselves. (Mind you, that doesn’t stop some of them.)

If those are some of the people you SHOULDN’T ask, here are the criteria you SHOULD look for…

1. A truly independent financial adviser

Being independent means the financial adviser can recommend products from the whole of the market, not just a few from a panel or from one single brand. (For example, St James’ Place is a well known financial advice firm, but the list of products they can advise on is restricted.)

In case you’re wondering, yes, we’re independent financial advisers here at Plan 100.

2. A properly qualified financial adviser

There are two levels of qualification in the UK which are roughly equivalent:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) awarded by CISI
  • Chartered Financial Planner awarded by CII

Qualified financial advisers can use the relevant letters after their name, but they only keep this right if they pay their annual subscription.

It makes me tempted to introduce myself like this: “I’m Lance Baron, CFP, and I’m Certified.”

3. A financial adviser who’s registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The FCA regulates the conduct of over 58,000 financial services firms. Check the FCA website to ensure your financial adviser is registered with them.

Plan 100 is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 593673). Check us out on the FCA register.

4. A financial adviser who holds the Statement of Professional Standing (SPS)

The SPS shows your financial adviser has maintained their Continual Professional Development (CPD) and hasn’t been banned from the FCA for any reason. It has to be renewed every year.

Plan 100 appears on the FCA site because our SPS is up-to-date with CISI (sorry about all the acronyms!)

5. A financial adviser who is qualified

Ask your financial adviser about the relevant exams they’ve taken and – more importantly – passed.

Here are some of the qualifications I hold: Chartered Wealth Manager (awarded by The Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment), the STEP (Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners) certificate for financial services, and a Diploma in Financial Planning from the Chartered Insurance Institute.

6. A financial advice firm that is accredited

If you read the broadsheets, you might see adverts about accredited financial planning firms. Accreditation pushes the firm to attain a higher standard.

Yes, Plan 100 is an accredited financial planning firm. It means we’ve jumped through their (metaphorical) hoops to prove we have good processes in place and we give good advice. This approval is renewed every year.

If you have questions about any of this, do get in touch. We’ll be happy to help.

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