How to find the right IFA for you

If you need financial advice, whether you’re a business or an individual, one of the best places to go is to an Independent Financial Adviser, or IFA.

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As the name suggests, IFAs are independent, which means they’re not tied to any particular firm or business. This means they can advise you without being biased toward a product or provider, and give you the best and most impartial advice possible.

How do you know which IFA to employ? Here are a few tips.

IFA types

There are two types of IFA: Independent Financial Advisers and Restricted Advisers. Restricted Advisers specialise in one area of finance, offer advice on limited products, or are only able to give advice on a specific number of firms, although they will still act objectively.

Make sure you know which type of IFA you are employing and ensure that they can offer you what you want, whether that’s advice on mortgages, pensions, inheritance, savings or investments.

The best way to find any IFA is through word of mouth. Ask friends, colleagues and family members if they’ve ever used an IFA and if they would recommend them.

If this draws a blank, a quick search on the internet will bring up a number of IFAs in your local area. Choosing one local to you is a good idea; you don’t want to have to travel hundreds of miles every time you need advice.

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Qualifications

All IFAs should be properly qualified, hold a recognised diploma, and be accredited by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Check that your chosen IFA has the correct qualifications before handing over any of your money. You can search for them on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register, which will provide you with basic details about a finance company, including whether they are authorised or approved.

All IFAs should ensure they comply with the latest rules and regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new piece of legislation coming into force in May 2018. Your IFA should be taking steps to ensure they are prepared for the GDPR, which will change how financial advisers store, secure and use client data, by installing new IFA software such as that available at https://www.intelliflo.com.

Once you’re happy that your chosen IFA is suitable and qualified, you’re on your way to getting great financial advice.

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