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Mystery Shopper: Maidenhead

Attfield James IFA 24 Queen St, Maidenhead SL6 1HZ

Speed of response: Time of call: 4.49pm. Call answered after six rings. 4/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and polite. 4/5

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Relevant qualifications: The adviser assured the shopper that all the firm’s advisers were fully qualified, before adding that they each specialised in different sectors. 3/5

Payment method:

He explained that the initial meeting was free, and thereafter a charge of no more than 1 per cent would be applied for setting up and running each investment. 5/5

Guidance given: The adviser began by explaining that his firm offered a platform service, which offers flexibility and the ability to invest in funds catering to the shopper’s own appetite for risk. Despite the shopper insisting that he is willing to tie up his investments for 10 years, the adviser was keen to talk up the benefits of liquidity that platforms offer. As a next point of call, the adviser recommended coming in for a free chat to better understand the shopper’s capacity for loss. 3/5

Knowledge: He showed a basic understanding of investment, but went on to say that his colleagues may be better placed to deal with specific investment queries. Nonetheless, he offered a comprehensive explanation of platforms and how they function. 3/5

Email/web presence: / 5/5


The adviser was polite and seemed genuinely keen to email over guidance on platforms. However, the shopper was concerned that except for catering to different risk profiles, the firm offered very little other variation to suit individual needs.

Score: 27/35

Adviser: A&J Financial Services Bigfrith Lane, Cookham, Maidenhead SL6 9PH

Speed of response: Time of call: 3.51pm. Told to call back in the morning. Managed to speak to an adviser at 9:34am, but it took two minutes to get put through. 2/5

Telephone manner: Initially not very keen to talk and slightly rude, but became friendlier as the conversation developed. 2/5

Relevant qualifications: The adviser seemed alarmed and irritated by this question, before confirming he held a CII diploma and is a FCA-regulated member. 5/5

Payment method: No charge for initial meetings. However, once an investment decision has been made, an initial charge will then be payable, as well as annual investment fees. 5/5

Advice given: The adviser was keen to state the importance of meeting face to face to discuss the shopper’s investment objectives. He stressed the need to complete a fact-find and thorough risk questionnaire before discussing specific investments and assured the shopper that there were a number of available vehicles to satisfy all investment needs. 3/5

Knowledge: The adviser discussed risk, volatility and steady recovery since the 2008 financial meltdown. While he did illustrate a fairly good understanding of equity markets, his heavy use of jargon confused the shopper. 3/5

Email/web presence: / 5/5