7 steps to finding a financial adviser

When planning for the future, a financial adviser can help. If you want to know how to find a financial adviser, read our step-by-step guide.

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

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If you’re planning for the future, a financial adviser could help you to do this. If you want to know how to find a financial adviser, check out our step-by-step guide.

1. Be clear about why you need one

It’s a good idea to think about why you need a financial adviser before you start looking. It’s worth seeking professional advice and help with the following:

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  • Mortgage or equity release
  • Estate planning
  • Pensions and retirement planning
  • Life and health insurance
  • Long-term investment or savings plans


2. Make sure you understand the two basic types

There are two different types of financial adviser.

Independent Financial Adviser (IFA)

This type of adviser gives impartial advice about the total range of financial products available in the market.

Restricted Advisers

This type of adviser is restricted in terms of the subject area or range of products.

They may focus on one area, such as life insurance, but look at all life insurance providers. Alternatively, this type of adviser could focus on more than one area, but select from a limited number of products in the market.

3. Do your research

When thinking about how to find a financial adviser, research is key. Aim to put together a shortlist of 10 potentials. You can do this using a number of methods.

Word of mouth

Ask any friends or family if they have used a financial adviser. While this information will help you put together a shortlist, make sure you do your own research before making a final decision.


This may take time, but you could start by searching for financial advisers in your area.

Trade organisations

Many of these organisations have directories. You can use these directories to check membership. The main associations are as follows:

  • Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA)
  • Personal Finance Society (PFS)
  • Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI)

4. Check qualifications

All financial advisers must have the following qualifications:

  • Level 4 or above of the National Qualifications and Credit Framework
  • A Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) certificate

Bear in mind that the SPS certificate has to be renewed annually. Make sure that any adviser you select has an up-to-date certificate.

5. Check registration with relevant authorities

Make sure you select a financial adviser that is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This will ensure they meet the right standards.

If they are FCA registered and you are not happy with the service, you can complain to the Financial Services Ombudsman. You may also be eligible for compensation.


6. Ask about charges

By this step, you should have a shortlist of advisers that have been checked for registration and qualifications.

You need to think about how to find an affordable financial adviser. So the next step is to contact them and ask about their charges.

Fees and charges vary depending on the service you want. Ask about the type of service they provide and a possible estimate of the total cost involved. It is also worth asking if they offer a free initial consultation appointment.

For further information, check the Money Advice Service’s guide to financial adviser fees.

It is also worth asking about confidentiality. Ask them if your personal information will be used for marketing purposes.

7. Book an appointment and get prepared

Once you have selected a financial adviser, it’s time to book an appointment. On booking, ask them about any paperwork that you should bring.

It is advisable to take a list of relevant questions with you to the appointment. Also, take a pad and pen with you so you can take notes during the meeting.

Take home

Make sure you get the most out of your experience. Answer any questions that your financial adviser asks completely and honestly. Remember that they are there to help you.

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