Mystery Shopper: Burnley
She is looking for advice about the National Employment Savings Trust because she is not sure whether to opt in when it is introduced for her workplace, a branch of Barclays. She earns £25,000 and has saved the maximum amount in her Isa this year.
Financial Affairs, Standish Street, Burnley BB11
Speed of response: Time of call: 3.45pm. Three rings and a receptionist put the shopper through to an adviser. 5/5
Telephone manner: Professional and polite. 4/5
Relevant Qualifications: CFP. 3/5
Payment Method: Initial meeting free, followed by either a £150 hourly fee or commission, depending on which products are taken out. 5/5
Guidance given: The adviser said that the shopper’s best course of action depended on her situation, and particularly whether she had debts or not. He said it was probably wise to start considering Nest, particularly if your employer is matching your contributions. 3/5
Knowledge: The adviser demonstrated some detailed knowledge about Nest and pensions in general. 4/5
Email/web presence: email@example.com/ www.financialaffairs.co.uk 5/5
Verdict: The adviser was well informed about Nest, inspiring confidence and trust in the shopper.
McNeil Financial Services, Kingfisher Business Centre, Burnley Road, Rawtenstall BB4
Speed of response: Time of call: 4.35pm. Three rings and then through to adviser. 5/5
Telephone manner: Friendly, helpful and engaged throughout. 5/5
Relevant Qualifications: Diploma, plus several specialist qualifications for pensions, including G60. 4/5
Payment Method: Initial free meeting, followed by commission or hourly fees. The adviser said he preferred hourly fees as they were more transparent. 5/5
Guidance given: The adviser ran through the whole gamut of saving and pension options for the shopper, explained in precise detail what Nest would entail and recommended that the shopper make as much provision for her future as possible since the state pension was likely to reduce in future and longevity was set to increase. He recommended paying more into a workplace pension than a private scheme due to the employer’s subsidy for fund costs and the fact that employers match contributions. 5/5
Knowledge: The adviser demonstrated outstanding knowledge of the pension field, giving very clear, comprehensive information. 5/5
Email/web address: firstname.lastname@example.org/ www.mcneilfinancialservices.co.uk 5/5
Verdict: The adviser gave an excellent account of his firm’s practices, was very pleasant to talk to and provided the shopper with a wide-ranging overview of Nest and pensions in general.
Dickinson IFA, Valley Terrace, Burnley BB12
Speed of response: Time of call: 10.15am. Three rings then straight through to adviser. 5/5