How to find an independent financial advisor

Independent financial advisers (IFAs) are authorised to give you advice and recommend suitable pensions products and investment options, for you.

The Money Advice Service website provides help in how to choose an IFA.

There are several things you should think about when choosing an independent financial adviser:

  • Consider the level and experience that the adviser has, particularly in the areas where you think you need help.
  • Look at the typical clients the adviser looks after in their business, do they have needs similar to your requirements?
  • Think about whether you will be dealing with one adviser or different advisers, or, perhaps a team of people.
  • Look at what products they recommend for you. Do they recommend products from the whole market, or are they products tied to one, or a small number of providers?
  • Make sure you understand what the adviser will charge for their services and that you can afford to pay these charges.
  • If you are transferring to a defined contribution scheme providing flexible benefits and the total value of your LGPS pension benefits is more than £30,000 you will be required by law to obtain appropriate independent advice, at your own cost, from an authorised independent adviser, who is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In addition, the adviser must be qualified to give specific advice on transfers between pension schemes. From 6 July 2016 an appointed representative of an authorised financial adviser is also permitted to provide this advice, providing the authorised financial adviser has the permissions to advise on pension transfers themselves. It is important that you ensure that this is the case before agreeing to receive the advice. See the section on Freedom and Choice for further information.
  • You should always check that the adviser is authorised to provide financial advice. You can check the Financial Conduct Authorities' (FCA) Register, by clicking here.