Have you ever used a financial adviser to help you out with a money decision? Did you stop to ask about their qualifications? Most of us don’t, and yet a ‘qualified advisor’ may only have an A-level equivalent.
When you take financial advice, whether it’s about planning for your future, investing money or choosing a pension, you’re putting your money and future in the hands of others.
You’ll probably assume that your adviser is qualified, but have you ever stopped to wonder what these qualifications actually mean? And did you realise the minimum qualification for an independent financial adviser (IFA) is only equivalent to an A-level?
Standard of advice needs to improve
The impact of receiving bad advice can be disastrous. Standards of advice can be shockingly low and our mystery shopping of the sector always reveals worryingly poor performance – 60% of advisers failed to pass all our benchmarks for good investment advice, for example.
The industry’s been dogged by mis-selling scandals and horror stories of elderly people losing thousands of pounds due to poor advice from Barclays. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture, but thankfully our campaigning is paying off and the regulator has agreed that standards must rise.
Still, the proposals are now facing a backlash from a small number of IFAs who don’t want to raise their qualifications, so the practice continues.
When I eventually need to seek ‘professional financial advice’ I would expect the adviser to be at least qualified to the first year of a degree, and if I’m honest, even higher than that. I now know I need to be extra vigilant about checking the next time I have any life-changing financial matters to sort out.
What’s been your experience of IFAs? Do you think the current standards are high enough or are you shocked to hear about the current minimum requirements?
Do you support plans to increase the qualifications of IFAs?
Yes – they should be higher-qualified than A-level equivalent (81%, 112 Votes)
No – A-level standard is sufficient (19%, 26 Votes)
Total Voters: 138