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Find a Local Financial Adviser

VIDEO: These four popular websites will help you find a suitable financial adviser that works in your neighbourhood

Alanna Petroff 4 March, 2013 | 6:00AM

Video Transcript:

Alanna Petroff: Finding yourself a financial adviser can be a difficult and time-consuming task. Thankfully there are many resources to help you out. Joining me now is Pete Matthew, he is the managing director at Jacksons Wealth Management, and we’re going to talk about some of the websites that you could use to help you in your search for a great financial adviser.

So, Pete thanks very much for coming in.

Pete Matthew: You're very welcome. Great to be here.

Petroff: Now let’s go over, first of all, before we get to the websites, what should people be looking for in a financial adviser? Some key points?

Matthew: Yeah, that’s a big question. You obviously want to know about qualification levels. You want to know what it’s going to cost you. But two things more than anything, I think you need to have some idea of a gut feeling, how you feel about this person. You’re going to be sharing your deepest, darkest financial secrets with them. So, it's important, you get along and you can trust them.

And then I would want to know what the--we call it the “client journey”--the path that you will take through their advice process, the cost of the different stages, exactly how that will all work… before you embark on it you need to know what you're getting into.

Petroff: Okay. There are four websites that are rather popular right now in the UK that people go to to look for financial advisers. So let’s go through these four and talk about some of the pros and cons for each.

So we have Unbiased.co.uk, we have FindanAdviser.org, we also have the ‘Find a Planner’ site which is within the FinancialPlanning.org.uk website; that’s part of the Institute of Financial Planning. And last but not least, we have VouchedFor.co.uk.

So let’s start with Unbiased.co.uk, what do you like about them and what do you not like about them?

Matthew: Okay. Unbiased is probably the original such site and it tends to be the one which is usually suggested by the national press. If they are doing an article where they suggest you get independent advice, they will usually direct you to Unbiased. You can look for accountants and solicitors there as well. So it’s a very large database, very useful.

My particular gripe with it is that it will default when you’re searching to advisers who have paid to be there. So, you can uncheck that box, but it’s just something to be aware of when you’re searching that the ones at the top of the results are probably those that have paid to be at the top of the results.

Petroff: Okay. Moving on to FindanAdviser.org. What's so great about this site?

Matthew: That’s the site of the Personal Finance Society, which is the largest professional body for financial advisers in the UK. They are the distributors, if you like, of the Charted Financial Planner mark and the qualification level. So there is a bit of a focus towards that there, but it's again a massive database, something approaching 30,000 advisers, I think. So, it's a major benefit.

Petroff: So for this website you can just put in your postal code and come up with advisers that are near you?

Mathew: Sure. That's true of all of them, actually.

Petroff: Moving on to the Find a Planner site, which is part of the Institute of Financial Planning; how does that work and what's so good about it?

Mathew: The Institute of Financial Planning are the sponsors of the Certified Financial Planner license in the UK. Now that's an international standard and it is, in my opinion, the pinnacle for financial advisers. Certified Financial Planners or CFPs have attained a really high standard at practical application of financial planning knowledge. I'm a CFP, so I would say this, but I believe that the CFP license is the cream of the crop and the Institute of Financial Planning site focuses very much on finding a CFP licensee near you.

Petroff: So that would be a smaller database, but potentially cream of the crop, better...

Mathew: Yes, absolutely, I believe so.

Petroff: Let’s move on to the last one: VouchedFor.co.uk. Tell me about that one?

Mathew: I'm really excited about VouchedFor because it's something new. The thing that marks it out really is that clients of advisers can go and review their advisers. Now those are not edited by the advisers themselves. All that happens if somebody leaves a review for me, I get an email from VouchedFor to say, ‘Is this person really a client?’ And it's a simply yes or no. I don't know whether it's a positive review or not when that comes through. So I don't get to see it or edit it. It's kind of like a TripAdvisor, but for financial advisers. I think that's a great step in the right direction in terms of transparency and accountability and will really help people get a feel for an adviser before they engage with them.

Petroff: Let’s say there is a really bad review of someone, is the adviser allowed to write a response?

Mathew: Yes, absolutely.

Petroff: Is there any last bit of advice you would give to someone if they say to you, ‘I'm looking for a financial adviser, what should I do?’

Mathew: I would start firstly with friends and family--people that I trust--and ask them if they have dealt with an adviser whom they trust. Because there is no better source of referral than that: somebody that you trust, referring you to somebody that they trust. Then when you meet with the adviser, remember you’re interviewing them. You want them to work for you. It’s a very deep relationship really. You really do open up your deepest, darkest financial secrets to these people, so you must get on. Trust your gut instincts whether you trust this person.

Petroff: Okay. Thanks very much for coming in today.

Mathew: You’re very welcome.

Petroff: That was Pete Mathew, he is the managing director at Jacksons Wealth Management. I'm Alanna Petroff. Thanks for watching Morningstar.

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About Author Alanna Petroff

Alanna Petroff  is a financial journalist with Morningstar UK.