Mystery Shopper: Stafford
This week the mystery shopper visits Stafford.
She is concerned about the impact of the eurozone crisis on her portfolio and wants to reduce the risk it poses to her investments and savings. She has around £24,000 invested in a stocks and shares Isa and around £2000 deposited in a cash Isa.
Staffordshire IFAs, Sterling House, Lichfield Road, Stafford ST17
Speed of response: Time of call: 12.05. One call, questioned by receptionist and then put through to an adviser. 5/5
Telephone manner: Polite, engaged and asked lots of questions. 4/5
Relevant Qualifications: Diploma. 4/5
Payment Method: Initial meeting free, then a fee would be agreed based on time and work spent on assessing portfolio. 4/5
Guidance given: The adviser said he would still stand by funds for a decent spread of investments, and added that it was important to strike a balance between active and passive. The firm would put a special emphasis on value stocks, those poised for recovery and special situation-style funds. The adviser recommended a full review of the shopper’s portfolio and attitude to risk, as well as asking what her capacity for loss would be. 4/5
Knowledge: The adviser seemed to have a wide-ranging knowledge about investments, and had clearly defined ideas about what might work best for the shopper’s portfolio. 4/5
Email/web presence: email@example.com www.staffordshireindependent.co.uk 5/5
Verdict: The adviser gave a very helpful indicator of what a sensible investment strategy would be, and did a lot to endear himself to the shopper.
HCL Investment Services, Church Road, Brewood, Staffordshire ST19
Time of call: 12.20pm. One ring and a receptionist put the shopper through to an adviser. 5/5
Telephone manner: Very pleasant and professional. 5/5
Relevant Qualifications: Working towards a full diploma. 3/5
Payment Method: Initial free meeting followed by either fees, commission or a combination of the two. 5/5
Guidance given: The adviser did not give much in the way of guidance, but said the firm had made the decision to de-risk some of its portfolios about three years ago, and agreed it was a sensible time for the shopper to reassess her investments. The firm had a mixture of passive and active funds, and the adviser said he favoured both for a balanced investment portfolio. He would ensure the shopper’s investments were graded on a risk scale of 1-10. 3/5
Knowledge: It was hard to assess the adviser’s knowledge based on the phone conversation, but he seemed reasonably well-informed and offered to email more information ahead of a consultation. 3/5
Email/web presence: firstname.lastname@example.org www.hclinvestments.co.uk 5/5
Verdict: The adviser did not give much information over the phone, but was very friendly and seemed eager to accommodate the shopper.