Mystery Shopper: 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.