Independent financial advice
Types of financial adviser
Financial advisers look at your personal circumstances and your financial plans and recommend products to help you meet your needs.
There are two types of financial advisers:
- independent financial advisers (IFAs) give unbiased advice about the whole range of financial products from all the different companies available
- restricted advisers give advice on a limited range of products. They may specialise in one area, for example pensions, or they may only offer advice on products offered by a limited number of companies.
It's usually best to get independent financial advice so that you can look at the widest range of advice and products available.
Making sure your adviser is qualified and registered
All financial advisers must have the following:
- Level 4 or above of the national Qualifications and Credit Framework
- a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS). This means they have signed up to a code of ethics and have completed at least 35 hours of professional training each year. SPS certificates must be renewed annually so check your adviser‘s is up-to-date.
All financial advisers should be registered with the FCA. This means they meet the right standards and you get more protection if you’re not happy with the service. For example, you can complain to the Financial Services Ombudsman and may be able to claim compensation if things go wrong.
If a financial adviser is not registered with the FCA, you can make a complaint to the FCA.
Don’t be afraid to ask an adviser about their qualifications and Statement of Professional Standing.
Check a financial adviser is registered with the FCA.
Download our printable guide about getting financial advice