How to choose a financial adviser

The way we manage our finances has changed drastically over the years, partly thanks to modern technology.

Investments can be made from your phone anywhere in the world, and there are more financial products available than ever before.

With so many options and products on the market, knowing what the right one is for you can be confusing, and even daunting. That’s why some people turn to financial advisers to help them achieve their financial goals.

Let’s start by looking at what a financial adviser does and how you could benefit from speaking to one.


Financial Advisers 101

A financial adviser provides advice on managing your finances. The services that financial advisers offer is broad. Here are a few examples:

  • – Tax advice
  • – Setting up and managing pensions
  • – Using expert market knowledge to manage investment portfolios
  • – Setting up a savings plan
  • – Protection insurance. For example, life insurance or critical illness cover

Ultimately, their job is to help you achieve your financial goals.

Generally speaking, financial advisers will fall into two groups – independent financial advisers (IFAs) and restricted advisers.

As the name suggests, restricted advisers give advice on a limited range of products. They may also specialise in one area, such as pensions.

An IFA will provide unbiased advice on a range of products and services available in the market. This means that you get access to a more comprehensive range of products and impartial advice tailored specifically to you.


Why speak to a financial adviser?

There are two main reasons why you might speak to a financial adviser about managing your finances.

The first would be for expert advice on complex products. Some financial products, such as investments and pensions, can be confusing. 

Think about hiring a financial adviser like going to a hairdresser.

Sure, you could probably cut your hair yourself, and it might turn out ok. On the other (more likely) hand, it could go wrong, and you’re left wondering why you didn’t go and see a professional.

Buying into complex financial products uses the same logic, except there is more than a bad hair cut on the line.

The second reason for speaking to a financial adviser comes down to time.

Whether it’s setting up a savings plan or planning for retirement, managing your finances can be extremely time-consuming.

People who are juggling work, family, and life in general, will know that time is a precious commodity. Having someone manage your finances for you means you have more time for the other essential things in life.

Now we know what a financial adviser does and the benefits, the next step is finding the right one.

A financial adviser can make managing your finances less confusing
A financial adviser can make managing your finances less confusing

Choosing a financial adviser

Choosing a financial adviser means more than just going with the first one you find. The person you decide to work with will be managing your finances and helping you reach your financial goals. It’s an important decision and one you shouldn’t rush into.

Here is what you should look for when you’re choosing a financial adviser.

Independent vs restricted

As we mentioned earlier, financial advice will either be independent or restricted.

When selecting a product for you, an IFA looks at the entire market. They are not limited to particular products or companies like a restricted adviser would be.

This means an IFA can offer a broader range of products to best suit your needs and help you achieve your financial goals. For this reason, it’s a good idea to go with an IFA rather than restricting your opportunities.

When it comes to managing your finances, the more options you have, the better.

Qualifications and experience

All financial advisers need to meet a certain standard. This means being qualified to a certain level by the relevant exam bodies.

A level 4 qualification is the requirement to give financial advice. This is the equivalent of the first year of a degree.

A level 4 qualification covers the following topics:

  • – Regulation and ethics
  • – Personal taxation
  • – Financial protection
  • – Pensions and retirement planning
  • – Financial planning practice
  • – Investment principles and risk

Depending on your reasons for hiring a financial adviser, it’s worth looking at additional qualifications and experience.

For example, you might want advice on pensions. Speaking to a financial adviser that tends to specialise in that area would be beneficial for you.


Knowing the fees upfront is essential. Don’t be afraid to ask the financial adviser about their fee structure.

Financial advisers usually earn their money in a few different ways, which include:

  1. Flat annual fees: You pay an agreed-upon amount that covers their services for a set period.
  2. Hourly: You pay for their services on an hourly basis.
  3. Percentage of investment: This is usually for those investing larger amounts. A percentage of your assets are used to pay for the financial adviser’s services.

The Money Advice Service has a more detailed guide to fees if you would like to know more.

Building a relationship

Being able to build a relationship with your financial adviser is essential. After all, you’re trusting this person with your finances.

Investments are typically a long-term strategy for building wealth. If this is your goal, chances are you will be working with your adviser for some time.

Being able to speak to your adviser on a personal level and build trust is an essential part of a successful relationship.

By building a good working relationship with your adviser, you can avoid unnecessary hassle later down the road. The last thing you want to be doing is switching advisers and transferring everything.


Hiring a professional

Choosing a financial adviser to help you reach your goals means doing your research to find the right fit. 

At Holborn, we have over 20 years of experience helping people reach their goals. 

All of our IFAs are required to meet the highest standards in terms of qualifications and professionalism. If you would like to find out how we can help you, contact us using the form below.

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