Personal Pension  

Mystery shopper: Cambridge

Mystery shopper

Adviser (independent)

Money Wise IFA, 5b Clifton Court, Cambridge CB1 7QG

Speed of response: Time of call: 10.05am. Four rings, through to a receptionist then to an adviser. 5/5

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Telephone manner: Friendly.5/5

Relevant qualifications: Level-four diploma. 5/5

Payment method: £250 an hour. 5/5

Guidance given: The adviser explained that the shopper would have to remain in the same scheme if he still wanted his employer to contribute, even if that scheme offered a limited number of funds. He then explained how younger clients were put in riskier funds at the beginning as it offered the potential for greater returns and more time to make up losses, and advised the shopper to check the performances and profiles of funds online.4/5

Knowledge: The adviser seemed to be well-versed in pensions, auto-enrolment and investment markets.5/5

Email/web presence: 5/5

Verdict – SHOPPER’S CHOICE: The shopper appreciated the adviser’s honesty and patience in explaining the basics about how auto-enrolment schemes worked.


Adviser (independent): Chapel Independent Financial Advisers, De-Salis House, 6 Hillway, Linton, Cambridge CB21 4JE

Speed of response: Time of call: 10.20am. 11 rings. 3/5

Telephone manner: Very friendly and talkative. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Level-four diploma. 5/5

Payment Method: £100 for a house visit and, if required, £295 for a factfind report plus VAT. 5/5

Guidance given: After complaining about the lack of education on auto-enrolment from employers, the adviser explained the type of available funds in a typical workplace pension scheme and each of their basic characteristics. He suggested that the shopper could set up his own pension, which would provide more flexibility, but would also see him lose out on employer contributions and pay more in charges. 3/5

Knowledge: Very good. The adviser provided a comprehensive explanation in very simple and easy-to-understand terms. 5/5

Email/web presence: / 5/5

Verdict: A great service. The adviser generously explained everything and offered honest and very simple advice.


Adviser (independent): Colin Palmer Financial Services, 12 Rock Road, Royston SG8 5EU

Speed of response: Time of call: 10.38am. Five rings. 5/5

Telephone manner: Very down to earth and engaging. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Level-four diploma. 5/5

Payment Method: £190 per hour or an agreed fixed fee. 5/5

Guidance given: The adviser first explained that auto-enrolment schemes rarely offered much leeway in terms of choice, which he blamed on the government not wanting to take risks. Because financial advice was expensive, he recommended that the shopper consider the funds his scheme offers on the Trustnet website and only pay for advice if he wanted to set up an independent policy. 3/5

Knowledge: He seemed to know a lot about default workplace schemes and risk-rated funds. 4/5

Email/web presence: / 5/5

Verdict: Although the adviser explained that financial advice may not be worth it at this stage because of the costs, he kindly went into great depth about pensions and investments to help the shopper better understand how it functioned. 32/35