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When making important decisions about your finances, it pays to get professional advice from a financial adviser. An expert’s guidance gives you peace of mind that you’re making informed decisions. But how do you select an adviser from the many on offer? Here are some tips on how to do just that.

Professional qualifications
Double check that the financial adviser is professionally qualified. Are they a member of the Institute of Financial Advisers which is the professional body for financial advisers? Are they registered with the Financial Markets Authority? How many years of experience do they have? Sadly there are some charlatans out there and a bona fide adviser will be more than happy to confirm their credentials.

Areas of expertise
Some financial advisers specialise in particular areas such as retirement, mortgages or investments. Others provide more generalised financial advice. If you have a particular issue or area of your finances that you want help with then you may want to engage the services of a specialist.

Customer service
It’s important to ascertain what kind of services you can expect. How does the adviser communicate with their clients and how often? What review process can you expect? Be clear about whether the level of service fits in with your expectations and requirements.
You may also want to check whether the financial adviser has any ties with a particular provider of financial products or whether they are free to recommend products without any affiliations. This will help you to determine whether there is any potential conflict of interest.

Fees and charges
You will want to be clear from the outset what the total costs will be both initially and on an ongoing basis. Ask the adviser for information on their remuneration structure. Having certainty about the costs from the start will mean that there are no surprises further down the line.

Personal relationship
This is perhaps the most important one of all. At the end of the day, choose someone that you feel comfortable with and that you can trust. It’s important that you have confidence in the relationship.

In addition, you could perhaps ask the adviser for the results of any client satisfaction surveys or for the details of some of their satisfied clients. Some form of testimonial or personal recommendation can be very helpful when making your decision.
Choosing a financial adviser is an important decision so don’t rush into it. Take your time and shop around. Compare the service offerings from two or three advisers and use this checklist to help you select the right financial adviser for you.