How do I check if an adviser is legitimate?

01.02.24 01:23 PM Comment(s) By Alicia

Choosing the right financial adviser might feel overwhelming, but if you need help with your financial planning, it’s well worth persevering. The right adviser can save you money and reduce stress.

Before trying to assess whether the financial adviser is legit, you need to make sure that you know the type of advice that you wish to receive. Financial advisers aren’t always referred to as a ‘financial adviser’. They will often specialise in certain products such as pensions or mortgages and will therefore be known as a pension adviser or a mortgage broker. 

If you are looking for guidance with a stocks and shares ISA, then a financial planner would be more suitable. Or perhaps you have started to consider your life insurance options but don’t know who to talk to, then an insurance or protection adviser is probably your best option.


Please note that there are two types of financial advisers:

· Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) give unbiased advice about the whole range of financial products from various companies.

· Restricted Advisers provide advice within a limited range of products. They may specialise in one area, for example protection products, and they may exclusively offer guidance on products available from a restricted number of companies. 

Once you have a clearer understanding of the type of financial adviser you would need, now would be the time to consider whether they are trustworthy or not.

Make sure your adviser is qualified and registered.

The first thing you should look for is whether the adviser has obtained a Level 4 or above of the national qualifications and Credit Framework. All financial

advisers must obtain a Statement of Professional Standing. This means that they have signed up to a code of ethics and have completed a minimum or 35 hours of professional training a year. It is important to check that the adviser’s SPS certificate is up to date, as these must be renewed annually.

Unbiased, a free service to match you to a fully regulated financial adviser, has created an informative article that breaks down the different qualifications here:

FCA – Financial Conduct Authority 

The Financial Conduct Authority is the regulator for the financial services industry in the UK. If you’re unsure about the trustworthiness of a financial adviser, we recommend visiting the FCA website to verify if the adviser is listed as being “authorised” on the register. The register lists all the firms and individuals that are involved with regulated activities. The register list also includes the different details unauthorised firms give out and whether they’re falsely claiming to be from a genuine, authorised firm.  

Final steps

Once you have checked whether the financial adviser is registered and authorised there is no harm in running a background check. Look for any disciplinary actions or complaints against the adviser or the firm. You can also check online reviews and testimonials but be cautious and verify the authenticity of such information. Be sure to look out for any complaints about the fee structure and whether they are transparent within their communication.

We hope that this article hasn't overwhelmed you, but instead has instilled confidence in your ability to choose the right financial adviser for your needs. We're here to assist in making your life easier and provide a complimentary callback service. During our conversation, we can explore ways to help you plan and secure the life you want to live.

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