The best financial adviser in Colchester?

January 9th, 2013 by

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Dan Woodruff

Dan Woodruff

Certified Financial Planner at Woodruff Financial Planning
I want to show you how to become financially secure so you can live your dreams. I do this through the process of Financial Planning & Investment Management. I am based in Colchester, Essex.
Dan Woodruff

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the best financial adviser in colchesterThis is a common question – who is the best financial adviser in Colchester. This article examines the qualities to look for when employing a financial adviser. We’ll also examine some of the competition but obviously we think we’re the best!

Key points:

  • How to find the best financial adviser in Colchester
  • Some candidates

How to find the best financial adviser in Colchester?

You need to think about what you want from that adviser. It goes without saying that not every financial adviser will be right for you. There could actually be many advisers who could be said to be the best, based on what they offer.

Services

You should start by asking what services you want from your financial adviser. Do you want a transactional piece of work, or a longer-term relationship? Do you want advice on an overall financial plan to reach your goals, or to focus on investments or inheritance tax? Each firm will have some or all of these types of service available. We focus on comprehensive financial planning and investment management.

Specialisms

The best firms will specialise, usually linked to the services mentioned above. Each adviser will have their own technical and practical specialisms, so you will need to align these with what you want. Avoid financial advisers who say they are good at everything, since this is not possible! Our specialisms are linked to our main services (see above).

Location

Some financial advisers will come to you, while others have offices. It all depends on what you want and expect from your adviser. Our offices are out of the town centre, which means that they are easy to get to and there is ample parking. We also have air conditioning, which makes for more comfortable meetings in the summer! Our rationale is that if you come to us you won’t be distracted. Also, we will have all the tools available to advise you properly.

Qualifications

All financial advisers have had to raise their qualification levels to a better standard than previously. This does mean that some financial advisers did not make the grade and are no longer trading. The best financial advisers in Colchester will either be Certified Financial Planners (like us), or Chartered Financial Planners. Certified Financial Planners are trained in preparing comprehensive financial plans so they look at your financial situation holistically. They help you to understand your financial needs in the context of your desired future lifestyle. Chartered Financial Planners have a more technical qualification, focusing on products as well as some financial planning. Both are rated the same in terms of standards, and both are valid. It all depends on what you want.

Experience

This can be as important as qualifications since experience will mean some track record.

Regulation

How financial advisers are regulated is complicated. The best place to start is to check the FSA register. There you can check that the financial adviser is regulated, and whether they have had any disciplinary action against them in the past. You can also see their work history. The best financial advisers in Colchester are directly authorised with the FSA (the financial services regulator). Other financial advisers tend to have another company as a buffer between them and the regulator.

Independent or Restricted

Since the start of 2013 all financial advisers must be independent or restricted. Independent means that there are no restrictions on the products the adviser can recommend. If the adviser is restricted, this means that they use a limited panel of product providers, or a limited list of products on which they can advise. The best financial advisers in Colchester tend to be independent, but this is not always the case. Check out their services to ensure you think that independence is strictly necessary. For us, we do not want to be restricted in the choices we can offer you.

Charges

How financial advisers charge will change drastically in the next few months.  Commission is no longer permitted to pay for many financial adviser services, so you need to be sure that you are getting value for money for the services you receive. Check out our article: how much do financial advisers charge.

Membership of a professional body

This is now a requirement under new rules. There are a few major trade bodies in the UK, and the best financial advisers in Colchester will likely be members of:

  • The Institute of Financial Planning (that’s our trade body as it focuses on the needs of qualified financial planners), or
  • The Chartered Insurance Institute (this is the largest trade body), or
  • The Association of Professional Financial Advisers
  • Part of their firm’s professional body for accountants or solicitors

It doesn’t matter too much to you which professional body your financial adviser belongs to as they will be bound by a code of ethics and subject to minimum professional development each year.

Length of time trading

This should be a good indication of stability, and the best financial advisers in Colchester have been trading for many years. Our firm will reach its 10th anniversary in March 2013.

Size of firm

This can be important, although not always, depending on the services you require. In some cases, larger can be better, since the firm will be likely to have more specialists to call on. However, in many cases you will not ever get to see other advisers within the firm anyway. Many firms have lots of self-employed financial advisers, so there is not usually much specialism within the firm.

Client recommendations

Recommendations are a good indication of trust, and delivery on service so the best financial advisers in Colchester will have a number of recommendations or testimonials for you to read. Check out the client testimonials page on our website.

Some candidates for the best financial adviser in Colchester

Obviously we think we are one of the best financial advisers in Colchester, but here are some of the other leading firms and what their websites say about them. If you think we have missed a firm, let us know!

Fiducia Wealth Management

“We are an established and award winning firm which provides a first class service covering all aspects of financial advice for private clients, business owners and trustees.While our offices are in Constable Country, on the Essex/Suffolk border, we act for clients throughout the East of England, London and nationally. Integrity and transparency are our core values.”

Birkett Long Financial Services

“Getting the right advice on your financial position and objectives both current and future is essential. Our clients come to us for financial advice for several reasons but not least because we are somewhat unique in being a key part of an large, established – and trusted – legal firm. In addition, we have a long and demonstrable track record of success which, in the current climate, provides our clients with much needed security and peace of mind.”

Scrutton Bland Financial Services

“Making decisions on personal financial matters has never been more complex. This is why more and more individuals, families and Trustees now rely on the services of an Independent Financial Planner to help them make such decisions.

At Scrutton Bland we pride ourselves on offering truly impartial professional fee based advice without the bias of third party commissions. We believe our relationship with you must be built on mutual trust and you must have complete confidence in your adviser.”

Richard Arnold Financial Management

“We are Committed to providing professional independent advice and to maintain our impartiality by not being backed or supported by outside institutions. Each Client’s situation is unique, and as independent financial advisors we offer the expertise and resources necessary to optimise their financial position in a complex financial world.  Services include mortgage advice, retirement planning, investments and many more for the individual client. Our independent financial advisors can also help companies and business clients with financing, tax mitigation, employee benefits and many more.”


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/indieflickr/

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