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Webster warns of Unbiased’s proposed free advice service

The managing director of Kent-based Facts & Figures Financial Planning said the idea, mooted by Karen Barrett this week, was “intelligent”, but could be deemed unnecessary by the majority of advisers who already offer a free 30-minute consultation.

This week, Ms Barrett said advisers could “showcase their knowledge” by posting free responses to financial questions from website users.

But Mr Webster said it had taken him many years to build a chargeable service, and that he would not give it away without a price, although he welcomed any initiative that would increase engagement between advisers and the public.

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He said: “I already offer a free half-hour consultation as a matter of course, so I could be losing chargeable time each week if you have a few enquiries through a website. I am not a huge fan of giving advice away, as it has taken me 30 years to get to a point where I can give fairly sensible advice fairly quickly, and that is a chargeable service.”

He also questioned how many queries an adviser would have to answer in order to produce new business.

Adviser view

Steve Farrell, IFA at Hampshire-based Lawrence Clarke, said: “We would want to go through a proper fact find before we gave any advice, as this would be with a view to looking after all their financial needs for years to come, not just a one-off sale.”