Personal Finance: How To Choose An Independent Financial Adviser

Recommendation is the most foolproof method of choosing an IFA. Speak to everyone you know, including your solicitor, bank manager, even your doctor or dentist. Listen carefully to those people whose judgment you already trust, but be aware that some professionals, such as your lawyer, may well be paid to give you a financial recommendation.

Call IFA promotions on 0171-345 2000, who will give you the telephone numbers of three firms located in your area. Visit all of these firms, check their qualifications and the membership of appropriate professional and regulatory bodies.

IFAs must have taken a Financial Planning Certificate, but there is a higher certificate. Ask whether he, or she, has this as well.

Don't be taken in by flash offices or by an appearance of opulence. An IFA should run his business as efficiently and prudently as any other business. If he's making too much money he will be making it from his clients. Do you want to give him yours?

Don't rush into anything. Remember these guys are essentially life and pension salesmen. But if you feel comfortable then follow your gut feeling.

If you need particular advice, such as pensions or investments, make sure that he has specialised knowledge in this area

Check he is properly insured, so that your money is safe if he fails.

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