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    • Matt002
    • By Matt002 11th Aug 17, 5:21 PM
    • 44Posts
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    Matt002
    Finding an IFA you can trust...
    • #1
    • 11th Aug 17, 5:21 PM
    Finding an IFA you can trust... 11th Aug 17 at 5:21 PM
    Over the last 6 months or so I have met two IFAs from unbiased / vouched for. Sadly they both reminded me of shiny suited second hand car sales men that are purely driven by their own profit rather than whats right for me. Or at least thats the impression I get, I certainly don't trust them with the 150k I have to invest. An opening gambit where you say how massive your house is and expensive your car is doesn't work for me.

    They both said they were whole of market and independent but then start talking about things from some other company that their advice comes from. One of which was called 2plan which had various funds based on different risk levels. What is the IFA doing in this situation apart from taking 3pc of my investment up front and 1pc a year to talk to 2plan?

    I get the feeling I'm missing something so don't flame me, I really would just like to know what they do as the explanation I got from them was more than vague.
Page 1
    • eskbanker
    • By eskbanker 11th Aug 17, 5:47 PM
    • 5,562 Posts
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    eskbanker
    • #2
    • 11th Aug 17, 5:47 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Aug 17, 5:47 PM
    The way I read the http://2plan.com/ website is that they are a firm of IFAs rather than product providers, was the IFA you spoke to one of their employees/representatives rather than an arms-length freelancer?

    And although IFAs are bound to offer advice in the customer's interests, they are ultimately earning a living from the fees you pay, so they do have something of a vested interest and personally I think you should expect a salesperson/customer relationship rather than hoping for them to act out of pure altruism. Obviously they should abide by codes of conduct and so on though....

    I'd suggest that you speak to some more until you find one that you can strike up some rapport with and where you feel comfortable with what you'd get for your money.
    • bostonerimus
    • By bostonerimus 11th Aug 17, 6:03 PM
    • 965 Posts
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    bostonerimus
    • #3
    • 11th Aug 17, 6:03 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Aug 17, 6:03 PM
    I'd limit interaction with an IFA to one time bits of advice and planning. I would never employ one on an ongoing basis as I feel that a sensibly constructed portfolio of low cost trackers can be easily managed by anyone.
    Misanthrope in search of similar for mutual loathing
    • Matt002
    • By Matt002 11th Aug 17, 7:43 PM
    • 44 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Matt002
    • #4
    • 11th Aug 17, 7:43 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Aug 17, 7:43 PM
    Thanks chaps.

    It would appear he is a representitive of 2plan! I think I was thinking these guys would be more like consultants you use on a fee basis in a similar way you would engage a structural engineer etc.

    I do have another one lined up for next week but after some reading he seems to be a rep for intrinsic so I assume will be similar.

    Boston, how do you find one willing to do that?
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 11th Aug 17, 8:38 PM
    • 89,852 Posts
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    dunstonh
    • #5
    • 11th Aug 17, 8:38 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Aug 17, 8:38 PM
    It would appear he is a representitive of 2plan!
    so. a sales rep and not an IFA. Maybe that is why you got the sales approach.

    You mention of whole of market. That is a phrase also used often by FAs rather than IFAs. i.e. they say whole of market to hide their restrictions.

    I do have another one lined up for next week but after some reading he seems to be a rep for intrinsic so I assume will be similar.
    Intrinsic is a restricted network. not IFAs.

    If you want an IFA, you are best contacting an IFA and not FAs.
    • Matt002
    • By Matt002 11th Aug 17, 8:52 PM
    • 44 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Matt002
    • #6
    • 11th Aug 17, 8:52 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Aug 17, 8:52 PM
    Dunstonh, thats what I was trying to do. How was I supposed to know they are FAs if their website, vouched for and unbiased all say they are IFAs?

    They all say they cover the whole of market.

    Do I just trawl their websites and ensure it doesnt mention representitive in the small print?
    • Sue58
    • By Sue58 11th Aug 17, 9:00 PM
    • 83 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    Sue58
    • #7
    • 11th Aug 17, 9:00 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Aug 17, 9:00 PM
    It's the same as any trade there are always going to be good and bad! But I do know people that are perfectly happy with their IFA's.
    • DiggerUK
    • By DiggerUK 11th Aug 17, 9:34 PM
    • 2,763 Posts
    • 2,656 Thanks
    DiggerUK
    • #8
    • 11th Aug 17, 9:34 PM
    Kick the car tyres
    • #8
    • 11th Aug 17, 9:34 PM
    ......I get the feeling I'm missing something so don't flame me.....
    Originally posted by zzr-matt
    Doubting the abilities of advisors who act like sexed up sales reps, usually gets a very high and mighty response from 'the usual suspects' here......don't worry, many here will accept that your reservations are more than justified.
    You don't sound like an idiot, so what is the problem in accepting you can manage your own financial affairs. I was once told....."seek advice wherever you can, but at the end of the day, hold your own counsel" Words that have served me well.
    Here is as good a place as any to seek advice, and it's free! 150k is a goodly amount, but not so massive as to be impossible to manage yourself.
    If you could let posters know what you have done with it to date, and were you want to end up eventually, you'll find many ideas coming your way. Best of fortune..._
    I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Financial Adviser.
    Forward, to the 'British Spring'
    • aroominyork
    • By aroominyork 11th Aug 17, 9:42 PM
    • 229 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    aroominyork
    • #9
    • 11th Aug 17, 9:42 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Aug 17, 9:42 PM
    I have been through similar. I have had three IFAs over the years and all have turned out dire for one reason or another, which is why I have just started self-managing my investments.

    The term IFA is a misnomer. Independent? They are often restricted to one form of investment or another. My last IFA would assess your risk and put you in one of the six portfolios they constructed. In pub terms they are tied houses not free houses. Financial? Only to a degree! I asked for advice about investing in property and was told they could not advise me on that – they only do stocks. Adviser? As already said … salesman!

    I also think their way of assessing risk appetite is inherently flawed. You fill in a load of questions but they do not give you any context by informing you of how markets move over long or short periods of time. So you answer whether you would mind losing capital for the chance of earning higher returns, but without them priming you to understand the difference between a 10 year and 30 year investment period that is meaningless.

    If an IFA has a limited number of funds for you to choose from, get clear graphs/data about how they have performed over a long period of time after accounting for fees, and then compare to Vanguard LifeStrategy that bostonerimus favours. You might find that a low cost tracker will do for you.
    • bostonerimus
    • By bostonerimus 11th Aug 17, 10:04 PM
    • 965 Posts
    • 494 Thanks
    bostonerimus

    Boston, how do you find one willing to do that?
    Originally posted by zzr-matt
    Bear in mind I'm in the USA so the landscape is a bit different. I DIY my investments and I think most people with a little common sense can do that. I do not use financial advisers at all.

    If you actually find an IFA rather than someone trying to sell you an investment scheme they should be happy to work with you however you want. If they are not then move on.
    Misanthrope in search of similar for mutual loathing
    • HappyHarry
    • By HappyHarry 11th Aug 17, 10:11 PM
    • 406 Posts
    • 480 Thanks
    HappyHarry
    Dunstonh, thats what I was trying to do. How was I supposed to know they are FAs if their website, vouched for and unbiased all say they are IFAs?

    They all say they cover the whole of market.

    Do I just trawl their websites and ensure it doesnt mention representitive in the small print?
    Originally posted by zzr-matt
    If they say they are IFAs on their website, and they turn out not to be, report them.

    All the good IFAs out there really want the charlatans kicked out of the business for good.

    Good IFAs are worth every penny. Assuming, of course, that you want to employ them for their planning skills.

    If you are just looking for a fund picker, then you are unlikely to get full value for your money.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser. Any comments I make here are intended for information / discussion only. Nothing I post here should be construed as advice. If you are looking for individual financial advice, please contact a local Independent Financial Adviser.
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 11th Aug 17, 10:21 PM
    • 23,079 Posts
    • 13,377 Thanks
    xylophone
    https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/key-questions-to-ask-your-financial-adviser

    https://www.unbiased.co.uk/financial-adviser/ifa-qualifications

    might be worth a look.
    • username12345678
    • By username12345678 11th Aug 17, 11:26 PM
    • 126 Posts
    • 49 Thanks
    username12345678
    Mine has invited me to dinner to 'meet the directors'.

    I'm almost tempted to keep the relationship with the IFA/WM going to see just what sort of 'freebies' they throw out.
    • HappyHarry
    • By HappyHarry 12th Aug 17, 6:47 AM
    • 406 Posts
    • 480 Thanks
    HappyHarry
    Mine has invited me to dinner to 'meet the directors'.

    I'm almost tempted to keep the relationship with the IFA/WM going to see just what sort of 'freebies' they throw out.
    Originally posted by username12345678
    I had a client leave a few years ago to an FA who offered "free golf days".

    The client couldn't grasp the concept that it was the increased fees they paid that actually paid for these "freebies".
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser. Any comments I make here are intended for information / discussion only. Nothing I post here should be construed as advice. If you are looking for individual financial advice, please contact a local Independent Financial Adviser.
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 12th Aug 17, 12:34 PM
    • 89,852 Posts
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    dunstonh
    Dunstonh, thats what I was trying to do. How was I supposed to know they are FAs if their website, vouched for and unbiased all say they are IFAs?
    Vouchedfor and unbiased are lead generation commercial sites. However, the FCA treat listings on those as financial promotions. So, if a firm is misrepresenting its status, then you should complain as it is a regulatory breach. Only IFAs can state they are IFAs.

    Vocuhedfor is an awful site. Damned expensive to use as a business (which you have no choice to pass on costs to the consumer). Unbiased watered down its status to include restricted firms some years ago as long as they are not single tied.

    Most IFA firms I know do not advertise at all. They dont need to and dont want to pay silly money to lead generation style listings. They get more than enough natural business through their local relationships (families, friends of clients, word of mouth etc).

    They all say they cover the whole of market.
    A play on words. A restricted firm is allowed to use the phrase whole of market in areas they do not restrict. For example, they could say that they use one platform but that has access to investments from the whole of market.

    Do I just trawl their websites and ensure it doesnt mention representitive in the small print?
    An IFA will make a point of stating they are independent financial advisers. An FA may try and use marketing speak to give that impression but they must never state they are IFAs or independent. I know of a tied agent who uses the fact he is whole of market on mortgages to give the impression he is whole of market on everything. He never says he is an IFA. He just words it in a way that the person associates whole of market with being an IFA.

    The term IFA is a misnomer. Independent? They are often restricted to one form of investment or another.
    That is incorrect. IFAs are not allowed to have any restrictions. FAs are. It sounds like yours were not IFAs.

    In pub terms they are tied houses not free houses.
    FAs are tied. IFAs are not tied.

    If an IFA has a limited number of funds for you to choose from, <snip>...
    ...then that would mean that they are not an IFA.

    There was some research some years back that found that over half the people seeing an FA actually thought they were seeing an IFA. So, this issue is not new.
    Last edited by dunstonh; 12-08-2017 at 12:38 PM.
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 12th Aug 17, 12:44 PM
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    xylophone
    Unbiased watered down its status to include restricted firms some years ago as long as they are not single tied.
    Some time after this (2008) article appeared?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/money-saving-tips/3108972/IFAs-How-to-choose-an-Independent-Financial-Adviser.html
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 12th Aug 17, 1:09 PM
    • 89,852 Posts
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    dunstonh
    I would be wary of looking at anything about distribution in 2008. Its pre-RDR. Since then things have moved on a lot. Network models of 30 years have changed massively since then (most have gone restricted or mortgage/insurance only). The commission ban, the tighter definition of an IFA, the destruction of the bank sales forces but the introduction of self directed options (to reduce liability) whilst still charging similar to before.

    I think unbiased changed in the lead up to RDR as they feared that there wouldnt be enough IFAs to support them commercially so needed to include some restricted FAs. It wouldn't have been as early as 2008.
    • aroominyork
    • By aroominyork 12th Aug 17, 2:56 PM
    • 229 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    aroominyork
    IFAs are not allowed to have any restrictions. FAs are. It sounds like yours were not IFAs.
    Originally posted by dunstonh
    My point is that they could invest anywhere in the market, but in practice they put you into one of their in-house constructed portfolios. The client has to best-fit into their portfolios (cautious, moderately cautious etc.), rather than the firm creating a bespoke portfolio.
    • Matt002
    • By Matt002 12th Aug 17, 4:02 PM
    • 44 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Matt002
    With the help of one of the chaps on here I have now got a bit of a clearer understanding of who I was talking to. So what the general verdict on Networked IFAs like the 2plan chap v directly authorised IFAs? Is that what you mean aroominyork, that a networked one could offer the market but in practice wont? That certainly seems to be my experience.

    Is a directly authorised chap likely to be a sole trader or will they nearly always be a few guys operating out of an office?

    I think the we come to you bit is a bit I dislike quite a lot, I'd rather see some one in an office!
    • aroominyork
    • By aroominyork 12th Aug 17, 4:38 PM
    • 229 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    aroominyork
    So what the general verdict on Networked IFAs like the 2plan chap v directly authorised IFAs? Is that what you mean aroominyork, that a networked one could offer the market but in practice wont?
    Originally posted by zzr-matt
    I don't know anything about networked IFAs; I have used three stand-alone firms. Instead I'll offer a health warning: what seems like informed advice on this forum might be from people who are only a small step ahead of you in their research/understanding. The advice might be from people who joined the forum to seek advice and then start offering it. (I am basically giving a health warning about anything I write )
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