How to choose a financial planner

How to choose a financial planner

Andy Cowan
Published: 06 Oct 2017 Updated: 13 Jun 2022

You’re thinking about taking financial advice but you’re not sure what your next steps should be. Where do you start in your search for a good financial planner?

The need for good financial advice

Money can be difficult and time consuming to look after. People want to gain control and peace of mind over their finances, so they often draft in professional financial planners to help. Financial planners have the skills and qualifications necessary to help you make effective financial decisions, bringing you closer to achieving your aspirations in life.

It’s important that you have a sense of what your goals are before seeking advice. It could be as simple as wanting to ensure you have enough money to live the life you want to in the future, or you might have a more specific goal such as how to invest a lump sum tax-efficiently, in an ISA or a pension for example.

Always keep in mind that poor financial advice makes choosing the right financial planner important. They need to put you and your long-term future at the centre of what they do. When you find a good one, you can be sure that they will want to build a trusted relationship with you. You can also be sure that they will agree on fees with you upfront, putting them in the best position to provide good financial planning rather than focus on selling products.

And we believe that it does pay to pay for financial advice – unless someone is a qualified and professional financial planner, you can’t be certain that you’re getting the best advice.

How can I find a financial planner?

You may want a financial planner who is local to you and you could seek personal recommendations from friends and family members. Financial planners can set up shop on their own and you can find them working within the big high-street banks. They also operate alongside accountants, as well as in specialist financial planning and investment companies such as Tilney.

The way that financial planners work differs from institution to institution. If you meet a financial planner at your bank, they can usually only recommend the bank’s products and services whereas other financial planners have access to a much wider choice of products and services. What the bank offers might not always be suitable for you – it’s always best to ask whether a financial planner is limited to certain products and services.

You might hear a financial planner also referred to as a financial adviser, IFA (Independent Financial Adviser) and wealth manager.

Choosing a financial planner

As you find with builders, dentists and doctors, some financial planners are much better than others. In the same way you carefully choose the right people to carry out any sort of service, it’s very important to identify the best.

When choosing a financial planner, you should keep in mind that they need to be a qualified expert who understands all the technical details involved with giving advice. Anyone giving such advice must be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which regulates financial services companies, and hold an FCA-recognised qualification.

Questions to ask a financial planner

Financial planners offer an initial no-obligation consultation and we believe that there are questions you should prepare for them at this first meeting, including:

  • What services do you offer?
  • What qualifications do you have?
  • What are the fees for financial planning?
  • What will any future advice look like?

When it comes to qualifications, chartered financial planners will have FPFS or APFS after their name. Being Chartered means that they are qualified to an industry-recognised high standard.

How can Tilney help?

In a series of recent videos, our clients talk about the Tilney experience and about how we help them achieve what they want from life.

Through Tilney, we have a UK-wide team of financial planners meaning that you should find one local to you. All of our financial planners hold or are working towards either Certified or Chartered status, so they have the qualifications necessary to provide advice.

We centre our service on you and your goals and aspirations. This is the same whether you want one-off advice on a specific goal or you want to create a plan for your overall finances, with regular reviews of your situation and ongoing support on your investments.

There is no charge for your first conversation with a financial planner and we will always agree all fees in writing before starting work together. You can use this form to book an initial consultation – a member of our team will be in touch. Alternatively call us on 020 7189 2400 or email for more information.


This article was previously published on Tilney prior to the launch of Evelyn Partners.