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How to find a financial adviser

By Michael Trudeau

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How to find a financial adviser

Learn how to find a financial adviser who is suited to your needs.

Once you've decided you need the help of a financial adviser, the next step is selecting one. 

The following resources can help you find the best adviser for you. It's best to draw up a shortlist of at least three financial advisers and ring them all before deciding on one.

Finding a financial adviser

The Which? Money Helpline is available to all Which? members, and our team of qualified experts can help with how to choose a financial adviser, or any other financial matter. 

Other ways to find an adviser

  • Which? Local – find a financial adviser near you, based on recommendations from Which? members.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority register – the FCA's register lets you check whether your adviser is properly authorised.
  • Standards International – browse a list of advisers and advice firms that currently hold the extra qualifications ISO 22222 and BS 8577
  • Society for Later Life Advisers – a searchable directory of advisers that specialise in later life advice
  • Personal Finance Society – a searchable directory of PFS members, who could hold certifications including Chartered Financial Planner.
  • VouchedFor.co.uk – a website that features reviews and ratings by genuine clients of financial advisers.
  • The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) – a trade body for financial advisers. Use its Wayfinder tool to search for financial planning firms by post code that hold CISI accreditation.

What should I look out for when choosing an adviser?

Know your needs – if you need retirement advice, it might be best to go for an adviser who specialises in pensions. If you need a complete financial plan, go for an adviser who offers the whole package rather than just focusing on, say, investment advice.

Check their qualifications – although the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) legislation requires that all advisers are qualified to a certain level, it's worth checking that they actually are. Look out for extra qualifications too, as that will show they’ve gone the extra mile. Find out more in our guide to financial advice qualifications

Negotiate fees – don't take the fee the adviser quotes as gospel. If you think you should be paying less, discuss it with them. Find out more in our guide to how to pay for financial advice.

Get it in writing – ask for a hard copy of the adviser's recommendations in case anything goes wrong. If you don't understand something, ask the adviser to explain it.

Make sure it's a personalised service – be sure you're not receiving generic advice that could apply to anyone – ask questions about the suitability of the recommended products with your situation.

Make sure you can forge a relationship with your adviser – you're trusting this person with one of the most important things in your life – your financial wellbeing – so they need to be right for you.

Do the fact find in advance – this will prepare the adviser for what you're like and save time at your first meeting. Ask your adviser to send you the form before your first meeting.

  • Last updated: November 2017
  • Updated by: Michael Trudeau

Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.