What Is an IFA?

IFA stands for Independent Financial Advisor, within our industry there are two types of advisor, you have got the ‘Independent’ and the ‘Tied agent’.

Independent this means we are not affiliated to any specific company or product provider. What we do is search the market to find the best appropriate product for you, whether it is a mortgage, pension, life assurance or any other product from a long list of services we can provide.

Unlike tied agents who work for banks, building societies and other household names who are limited to only being able to provide services available through there companies product range therefore restricting them to offer what might not be the best product on the market; and with a limited product range might not be able to deal with all the areas of your needs.

We are qualified individuals who have undergone a lengthy training and examination process in order to reach an industry accepted standard, and strove past this to gain further accreditation by taking advanced examinations for specific areas of the financial service industry. We have taken this attitude from our own decisions in order that we may provide you with an excellent service.

The financial services industry is a much-changed area over the last few years, with the introduction of the Financial Services Act in 1986, a complex piece of legislation which introduced regulations which are getting tighter and tighter and a large area of focus being placed on the miss selling of products disadvantaging you the customer. Basically what this means is you should no longer be sold a product just to provide a commission for the advisor, sure we still get commission but know we have a strict ‘Code of market practice’ to adhere to; and if we breach any of these guidelines we can face fines, prosecution or even imprisonment.

Unless you can comprehend fully the complexities of a certain area to a degree, which we think is acceptable; you can’t simply just come to us and say, “I want some life insurance!” We have to complete a fact find to adhere to the ‘Know your client’ rule which states we must take reasonable steps to gather sufficient information so that the advise we give meets the ‘Suitability’ and ‘Best advice’ rules.

‘Suitability’ and ‘best advice’ means we have to assess various areas and be able to justify the reasons for our recommendation. Whether it be highlighting a need for the area of cover, the level of cover we have provided, the length of the term of the contract, the tax treatment of the product, the reason for placing it with a specific company, charges levied by the company and even your ability to sustain the payment of premiums/savings for the duration of the products life.


Jewell Pearce Davy & Co is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration No 118803
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