Which Adviser?

The following webpages give a rundown of the main types of financial advisers and what they have to offer. For details of what protection and rights of action you have if things go wrong, see Section 8.

General investment advisers

Who they are They go under a variety of names - for example, personal investment adviser, investment manager, collective investment intermediary, investment dealer, investment broker. They should be prepared to give advice about the full range of available investments but some may turn out to be just insurance advisers.

What they offer General investment advice on, for example, pensions, unit trusts, life insurance policies, shares, advice on tax, their own investment management services.

What they charge Varies. With life insurance or unit trusts you pay nothing to the adviser because he gets commission from the company whose product he sells to you. If you ask him to take on lump sum management on your behalf, the charge will be on a percentage basis say, a half to one per cent of the value of your portfolio, charged on a yearly basis (sometimes, less for larger amounts). Or there might be a flat fee, or a slice of the profits.

Who they are authorised by Usually FIMBRA, IMRO or TSA.

TIP - Some advisers have more expertise in one area than another - ask whether they specialise before you do business.

Get Everything In Writing

An adviser must usually ask you to sign a 'client agreement' setting out the terms of the contract between you. Unfortunately, this requirement doesn't apply where the adviser is selling you just life insurance, unit trusts or pensions. The salient points of the agreement may be set out in terms of a business letter, but if they are not, or if there are additional points which you think should be noted, keep your own record of what was discussed and agreed.

Whether or not there's a client agreement, it's a good idea to keep a note of the time, date, person you spoke to, and content of... see: Get Everything In Writing

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