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MSE News: IFA-finding website launches

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Savings & Investments
21 replies 3.4K views
Former_MSE_HelenFormer_MSE_Helen
2.4K posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Savings & Investments
"Consumers could get helping finding a reliable independent financial adviser if a new ratings website takes off ..."
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IFA-finding website launches

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  • DiggerUKDiggerUK Forumite
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    "Where an IFA disputes the review is from a client, VouchedFor will ask the reviewer for evidence."
    So, by this simple tactic of knowing that there is little chance of the client knowing exactly how to do this, the usual suspects can effectively close down any criticism of them, or give them the chance to delay it for ever and a day.

    Then there is the fabulously convenient "reviews only go live once an IFA has verified it's been written by a genuine client".
    It doesn't matter that they won't see the critique, the name will give away who it is, and will tip them off in advance if it is a likely 'troublemaker'

    Desperate spam this thread, absolutely desperate.
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  • This was actually mentioned on 20th June by bigfreddiel

    F4
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    Plus it launched in 2011 and found only 250 advisers out of 20,000.

    A quick look at the profiles of those that have signed up and it looks more like a marketing tool as the advisers are encouraged to get their clients to leave reviews. It seems a bit of love fest with clients leaving 5/5 reviews on bulk. Indeed, I looked at 6 pages of reviews and the lowest mark was 4/5. The majority had 5/5.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • I signed up for this ages ago, still not seen anyone from it lol!

    There are problems with this, yes, but it is better than anything else out there and gives people an idea of how good people are.

    It is a marketing tool, anything anyone signs up for is a marketing tool. If you have a service that you know people will benefit from, why wouldn't you want people to know about it?

    And it isn't a veto - if we don't like the criticism they have to prove it. If you are going to post potentially libellous material you damn well better have proof - that is simply common sense.
  • jamesdjamesd Forumite
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    Well, that's a concept that's going nowhere. The firms will simply filter the contents by client name. End of all chance of it providing anything other than positive PR. It also completely bars comments by those who chose not to do business with the IFA based on their thoughts about their quality during initial investigation - and I'm not going to become a customer of an IFA I don't want to do business with just so I can give negative feedback saying why I thought it was unwise to do business with them!

    Maybe later we'll see a useful review site for IFAs but this clearly can't be it with its current policies.
  • edited 10 September 2012 at 11:20AM
    jamesdjamesd Forumite
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    edited 10 September 2012 at 11:20AM
    Daniel, a fine example of how the system protects IFAs from deserved negative comments is an IFA who has posted here.

    Based on the posts here I could have correctly and usefully given the feedback that the IFA had not been properly keeping up with changes to regulations and had provided incorrect guidance as a result, without being able to say that the IFA had also done so to their paying customers or whether they had reviewed past business to correct any issues once they realised the problem. There was absolutely no ambiguity about proving incorrect guidance, it was such things as a clearly wrong statement that the triviality limit for pensions had fallen to £15,000 when in fact legislation had fixed it at the old value even though the lifetime allowance on which it was previously based had reduced.

    I could also have given the same feedback to the compliance team at the IFA's network , who would clearly have agreed that the guidance provided in those cases was wrong, though I did not do this.

    That would be an IFA that I would currently recommend people not use, because in my personal opinion they have not demonstrated sufficient competence in their comments here for me to want to entrust people to their care.

    I assume that they will or have fixed this so it may be simply a question of time for them to demonstrate that those changes have worked before my view would change.
  • edited 10 September 2012 at 11:29AM
    jamesdjamesd Forumite
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    edited 10 September 2012 at 11:29AM
    And it isn't a veto - if we don't like the criticism they have to prove it. If you are going to post potentially libellous material you damn well better have proof - that is simply common sense.
    I suggest you investigate the costs of defending a completely false claim of libel when the allegedly libelous comments were irrefutably provably accurate. The potential for threats of such actions can have a very chilling effect on those who may provide accurate negative comments about a business or individual, particularly in an area regarded as professional.

    While such a false claim of libel may be rejected very early in the process with penalties for being a malicious false claim it's still not inexpensive to get to that point.

    An IFA firm does not have to prove lack of libel, they just have to identify the individual and send them a letter effectively threatening bankruptcy if they don't withdraw accurate negative feedback.
  • Good point well made!

    I would imagine said IFA's would have felt incredibly foolish as they were actually doing the opposite of what they were here to do!

    To be honest I'd rather people used Google Maps/places/+ (whatever it's calling itself nowadays) more - That's a good feedback tool and much more independent.

    But I'm sure you take the point that if you are going to post POTENTIALLY libellous content then you better have proof as a statement is not libellous if it is factually accurate!
  • PincherPincher
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    You might as well have an NHS review site, where people tell of their smelly infections, and how it was handled wonderfully or it's got worse under a doctor or hospital.

    Somethings are private.

    I would have thought rich people would be extremely adverse to sharing information on their wealth.
  • Former_MSE_AndreaFormer_MSE_Andrea Former MSE
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    Hi

    The company has asked us to post a response. MSE doesn't endorse anything a company says on the forum.

    Hi DiggerUK,

    I'm one of the team. I can understand your reaction, but think I need to clarify how it works.

    If you leave a review, yes, we ask the IFA to verify you're a real client. If they say you're not, or they do nothing (for 1 week), then we email you and ask you to forward an email (or scanned letter) from the adviser, that therefore shows you are a real client. So, it's not too onerous, and means reviews can be left, whether they're good or bad, so long as you're a real client. We really don't want fake reviews on the website!

    There is admittedly one niggle with the site - we require IFAs to register with us before they are on the website. This is for privacy reasons - people are reviewing individual advisers, rather than firms, who rightly have privacy rights. Reviewers can review an IFA who is not on the site, which triggers an invitation for the IFA to register. But, the IFA does have the right to decline that invitation. Once they are on the site though, again, all reviews are published - good, bad or indifferent. We hope to soon make it possible to leave reviews for firms, not just advisers, which will help in this regard.

    I hope that clarifies?
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