Choosing a financial adviser
You can get financial advice from:
- Tied agents who advise and sell products from a financial services business they are tied to. They still have to give you a product that is suitable for your needs, but they cannot shop around on your behalf.
- Multi-agency intermediaries, such as investment brokers, advise on and sell products from a number of financial services firms.
- Authorised advisers are obliged to consider relevant products from all financial services businesses in the market.
- A mortgage broker acts as an intermediary between you and mortgage lenders when you are applying for a mortgage. They usually work with a number of mortgage lenders. Before you decide to use a mortgage broker, ask about their fees and charges.
The first time you deal with a financial adviser they must give you their ‘Terms of Business’, which explains their authorised status and a description of the services they offer. It will also tell you if they are tied to one financial services firm for any products they advise on.
The number of firms an adviser deals with may vary from one type of product to another. For example, a financial adviser might offer pensions and investments from six financial services businesses, but may be tied to one insurance company when selling home insurance.
Check if your adviser is authorised
Not everyone who calls themselves a financial adviser is authorised to give financial advice. Some may even be working illegally. You can check whether an adviser is authorised by checking the Central Bank’s registers website.
Always make sure that the adviser you use is authorised to give financial advice before handing over your money or signing any agreement. If they aren’t regulated and things go wrong, you may not have access to complaints procedures and compensation schemes. For example, the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman cannot investigate complaints against an unauthorised firm or adviser.
All authorised financial advisers have to meet the requirements of the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code when dealing with you.
You need to find an adviser who:
- Is authorised
- Listens to you and answers questions openly
- Has experience of situations like yours
- Is willing to take time with you and does not put you under pressure
- May be willing to negotiate fees and commission so you are happy with what you are paying
- Gives you advice on a wide range of products to suit your needs
Steps to take when choosing an advisor:
- Get a list of authorised advisers in your area from the Central Bank’s registers website or call 01 224 4000
- Talk to a number of financial advisers over the phone or in person before choosing one
- Ask them about their services and what type of advice they can give you
- Find out how many financial services businesses they deal with for the type of product you may need
- Ask how they get paid – is it through fees, commission from the financial services businesses or a mixture of both?
- Make a decision based on the adviser’s experience – have they dealt with situations like yours and can they give you the advice you need?