Mystery Shopper: South Woodford

Adviser (Independent), Berns Brett, The Old Court House 191 High Road, South Woodford, London E18 2QF

Speed of response: Time of call: 2.49pm. Four rings then straight through to an adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and patient. 5/5

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Relevant qualifications: Chartered financial planner, which the adviser explained was one of the highest qualifications. 5/5

Payment method: Free first meeting to decide the best course of action, and after specific charges will be discussed. 4/5

Guidance given: The adviser was keen to persuade the shopper to come to the office to discuss the best possible pensions. He explained there were plenty of available options and different payment methods for schemes, before discussing the importance of completing an attitude to risk test to better understand the shopper’s suitability. Minimum pension payments are £20 but the shopper could put in as much as he liked and was best advised to increase it throughout the years. 4/5

Knowledge: When questioned the adviser seemed fairly clued-up although he did not go into great detail and insisted that it was generally better to meet face-to-face. 4/5

Email/web presence: 5/5

Verdict: The adviser was friendly and gave the shopper the impression he was in safe hands. Plenty of potential options were provided to cater to the shopper’s personal circumstances which left him feeling satisfied.


Adviser (Independent) Caton Fry Financial Services, Essex House, 7-8 The Shrubberies, George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1BD

Speed of response: Time of call: 3.54pm. Four rings and answered directly by the adviser. 5/5

Telephone Manner: Friendly, patient and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: G60 pension qualification and level-four professional diploma. 5/5

Payment method: Fees were generally paid upfront, either as a percentage or a flat fee. 4/5

Guidance given: The adviser was immediately keen to get some background information on the shopper’s employment and whether his company offered a pension. He stressed that the company could already have a scheme in place as part of auto-enrolment and that it could otherwise help to pay any upfront fees. Overall he said that setting up a pension is very straightforward and a number of options, including Sipps and stakeholder pensions, were available. 5/5

Knowledge: Good. The adviser answered all the shopper’s questions well and appeared very clued up on the different options available. 4/5

Email/web presence: 5/5

Verdict: A positive experience. The adviser patiently explained different pension schemes and how they worked and offered some good advice on auto-enrolment and the support employers should be able to provide.


Adviser (Independent) A R G Financial Services, Patman House, 23-27 Electric Parade, George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 2LS

Speed of Response: Time of call: 4.09pm. A receptionist answered after two rings, on hold for about 40 seconds before being put through to an adviser. 2/5

Telephone Manner: Friendly, calm and professional. 5/5