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Many people still under-estimate the importance of making a will, assuming they are not wealthy enough or that their spouse will inherit everything.

Six Tough Questions You Need to Ask - Published in Nov 2017 by Raoul Ruiz Martinez

“Brexit, Expat, Pensions” – Read or Google any of these topics today and you may feel that the media advises you to rush or change your current portfolio or financial vehicles. Marry in haste, repent at leisure is my reply.

Our regulator, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) demands the highest level of suitability of advice from their advisory community, including acting only in a client’s best interest.  Is this enough to protect clients? Unfortunately, there’s always a degree of error.

Clients and investors should insist on a “competent adviser.” The term incorporates ethics and practices that go beyond just tick-boxing the regulatory boxes and performing the minimum amount required to follow the law.

Begin by eliminating bad apples before you begin interviewing potential advisers.

For example, the UK FCA provides many resources as a starting point where the register keeps a database of individuals or firms for proper registration, as well as a history of disciplinary actions and complaints.

With a short-list, you’ll want to evaluate how committed each one is to your financial success. Here are six ways to discern the key qualities that make an adviser a competent one:

How much time are they willing to spend with you to understand your financial goals?
Competent advisers begin every relationship with a robust fact find process so they know you and your needs front to back.

How do they charge?
What’s most important is that advisers are transparent about how they may charge you depending on the services they are appointed for. 

What professional qualifications do they have?
Competent advisers are likely to employ professionals specialising in areas like estate planning, taxes, and business financial planning.  The minimum requirement in the UK is Diploma-based in financial advice, otherwise “Level 4 of 6” across the EU.

Are they willing to customise investment strategies when needed?
Advisory fees are earned, not simply dropped on their laps.  A competent firm will research and innovate new strategies on their clients’ behalf.

Do they ask hard questions?
Advisers must be willing to have fearless conversations with clients.

Can they help you get any specific help you need?
Your adviser shouldn’t hesitate to dig in and help.  If their professional remit does not allow them to so, they must refer you to a colleague or 3rd party that is capable.

In short, competent advisers take those “old-fashioned” responsibilities like trust, duty, and care to heart.  The extra time you spend making sure you get one is well worth it.

This article is intended to provide a general review of certain topics and its purpose is to inform but NOT to recommend or support any specific investments or course of action.

Raoul Ruiz Martinez is a resident and independent consultant for Finesco Financial Services Ltd., Glasgow and advises clients on private financial matters in both the UK and throughout Europe under the MiFID regulation. Finesco Financial Services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Some of the services provided are not regulated by the FCA because they are not included within the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.  Raoul has a weekly radio feature (Raoul’s Rant) on the Owen Gee Solid Gold Sunday Morning Show as well as the Money Minute programme on the weekly Si Frater’s Breakfast Show, both on KissFM Portugal.

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