HomeMoneyManaging your Money

What happens in your first meeting with a financial adviser?

4 min read

What happens in your first meeting with a financial adviser?
When looking for a financial adviser, it is important to shop around and know what advice you need, so we recommend using a comparison site like Unbiased. Once you’ve found an ideal financial adviser to suit your needs, what happens next?  
First, you’ll arrange a meeting to talk with your adviser over the phone or face-to-face, so you can discover:
  • How can a financial adviser help me?  
  • Is this adviser suitably qualified?
  • How can a financial adviser help me reach my goals?
  • What will be the cost of any advice?
  • What value or other benefits can I expect from any advice?
  • Is this financial adviser the right fit for me?
  • Do I want to proceed with financial advice?
By preparing for your meeting and having some questions to ask, you can make informed decisions about your next steps.
If you're at the start of your financial planning journey, it may be useful to learn about how a financial coach can help you.

What happens on your first phone call with an adviser?

Your first contact with your financial adviser will likely be on the phone, which is a good opportunity to clarify some details.
If you used Unbiased to find your financial adviser, ask them to tell you the name of their firm, and check that it’s the one named in the email you received.
This will ensure it’s not a cold caller and is the FCA-regulated firm that Unbiased has found for you.
Once you’ve confirmed the adviser’s identity, run through your reasons for wanting to speak to them. The adviser will let you know whether or not they can help, and you can arrange a time and place to meet.
Many advisers will agree to come and meet you at either your home or workplace.
Image of a lady sat on a chair with laptop on her knee and on her mobile phone

What questions should I ask my financial adviser in our first meeting?

‘Can you advise on the whole of the market?’
Advisers you can find via Unbiased are either independent or restricted whole-of-market advisers.
While the former can advise on all providers and product types, the latter can advise on all providers but only on a restricted range of product types.
It’s worth stressing both kinds of advisers provide independent advice and none found via Unbiased will be restricted by product provider - but those found through other sources may be.
‘What are your qualifications?'
You should ensure that your adviser is qualified in the advice area you need support with.
Make a note of any of their qualifications and look them up on Unbiased’s qualifications page so you understand what areas they cover and what the grading system means.
If you are seeking a specialist in a certain field, you’ll be looking for an adviser with a high-level qualification in that specific area.
‘What should I bring to our first meeting?’
Even if your first meeting is at home, you should have the necessary paperwork.
This should include documents about any savings, investments, insurance policies, pensions and your mortgage (if you have one) but ask your adviser if they need anything else.
Your adviser may ask you to complete a ‘fact find,’ which is a short document that outlines your financial circumstances either before the meeting or during it.

Handy tips for your meeting with your adviser

A few days before your meeting, set aside 15 minutes to think about what you want to achieve.
You might have a goal in mind, such as ‘I want to start accessing my pension pot’, or it might be more general, such as ‘I want to optimise my family’s finances.’ When you go into your meeting, you should have a set goal in mind.
Your conversation may cover many topics as your adviser will want a clear picture of your circumstances, lifestyle, responsibilities, goals and future plans, as well as your financial information.
Good financial advice needs to consider your situation, so this is a vital part of the process.
You may even discover that your original goal is not the best course of action and make alternative plans with your adviser’s input.
Image of two ladies sat at a table having a meeting

General guidelines for a successful adviser meeting.

1. If you have a partner, go and see an adviser together
It’s highly recommended that both partners are present for any discussion with a financial adviser.
The adviser must hear from both of you to form an accurate picture of your joint goals.
2. Ask as many questions as you can think of
When it comes to finances, there are no silly questions that you should avoid asking – and things you have always assumed to be true might be false.
So, don’t pass up the opportunity of having an expert on hand.
3. Check that you’ve understood everything
When your adviser explains something to you, make sure you understand what they mean.
For example, try to repeat the explanation back to them in your own words, so they can tell you if you’ve correctly interpreted everything.
4. Request examples
If you’re talking about a particular area of advice, ask your adviser if they have any case studies you can look at, to see how the process works in practice.
5. Have a conversation about risk
It’s important to know what advisers mean by ‘risk’, and to understand your own tolerance to it.
All financial products and transactions involve some risk, so a key aspect of advice is finding the right products that suit your risk profile.
6. Make sure they explain the benefits and disadvantages
You’ll want to know what you stand to gain if you choose to take advice.
Have your adviser explain clearly what services they will perform for you, and how you can expect to benefit in the short, medium and long term – via investment returns, peace of mind or something else.

Agreeing fees for financial advice

Before you decide to proceed with any financial advice, your adviser will tell you what their fees will be.
The whole point of financial advice is that it should make more money for you in the long run than the initial cost.
Consider the fees alongside the benefits that the adviser has explained and ask them to justify the costs if necessary.
You can get a rough idea of what you can expect to pay by using Unbiased’s cost of advice tool.
However, advice fees and scenarios can vary considerably, so always ask for a quote.
If the quote is very different from the estimate given by our tool, ask the adviser to explain why.
If you haven’t found an adviser yet, you can do so quickly by finding one near you here.
Image of a promotion for a financial advisor from Unbiased
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter
Banner image credit: Unsplash+
This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you

This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...