What is an Independent Financial Adviser?
Mike Oliver Associates used to be part of the Sesame Network until the network decided to change their business model from independent to restricted (what does that mean? See below). We felt strongly that in the best interests of our clients, we must maintain our independence, so we became a firm directly authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in 2015.
Broadly speaking Advisers are divided into one of two types.
- Independent Financial Advisers. IFAs are unbiased and can advise on and arrange products from any provider right across the market. They are required by the Financial Conduct Authority to give ‘best advice’. This means that an IFA is morally and legally obliged to act as the Agent of the Client rather than that of any product or service provider.
- Restricted advisers. These are the type of advisers you’ll often find in high street banks, or those who have chosen to specialise in certain providers’ products or certain areas of advice. Their ‘restricted’ status means that they can only sell and advise on a limited range of products, or from a limited number of firms.
If you’re going to get professional advice, check it’s from an Independent Financial Adviser. This is best if you’re starting out with financial advice, as it is important to identify why restricted advisers are restricted – some will be by product, and some will be by provider.
This terminology is a legal distinction, so ask them, “Are you an Independent Financial Adviser?” Don’t accept any hedged answers. Key Facts about our services and Guide to Our Services documents are designed to inform you as to which category an adviser belongs. Please ensure you are given a copy of such documents prior to any decisions being made.