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Mystery Shopper: Doncaster

Mystery shopper

FA (Restricted)

Van Der Meulen Associates, 33 Riverside Drive, Sprotbrough Doncaster DN5 7LH

Speed of response: Time of call: 10.11am. Five rings. 5/5

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Telephone manner: Very friendly and keen to help. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Chartered financial planner. 5/5

Payment method: No charge for “initial consultation”, and then the final fee would be a percentage of the product. 5/5

Guidance given: The adviser characterised equity release as a “last resort” that was made up of various different forms. She said it was difficult to get the full value of the property but that, despite being “intrusive” and “inhibiting”, it was sometimes necessary. 3/5

Knowledge: The adviser knew the basics, but admitted to being a bit rusty, as she had only advised three clients in the past 17 years on equity release. 2/5

Email/web presence: serena@vdmassociates.co.uk / http://www.vdmassociates.co.uk 5/5

Verdict: Although not able to give a lot of detail over the phone, the adviser left a good impression. She seemed to be well qualified, had good people skills, and was eager to look into the full list of options for the shopper.

30/35

(Independent) Proaktive, Proaktive House, Sidings Court, White Rose Way, Doncaster DN4 5NU

Speed of response: Time of call: 10.25am. 10 rings, answered by a receptionist, who then put the call through to an adviser. 4/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and engaging. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Chartered financial planner. 5/5

Payment method: A minimum fixed fee of £750, some of which would be paid for by the lender. Overall, she estimated the final fees, including legal costs, would reach about £1,500. 5/5

Guidance given: The adviser explained that equity release took two forms. First, there was the option to sell part ownership of a property, which she said was the least favourable, or alternatively to remortgage the property and pay the interest. She said there were lots of schemes out there and that the sector was increasingly becoming more flexible. 4/5

Knowledge: Very good. The adviser knew the ins and outs of equity release and answered all of the shopper’s questions without any hesitation. 4/5

Email/web presence: info@proaktive.co.uk / http://www.proaktive.co.uk 5/5

Verdict: The adviser was very knowledgeable and well-equipped to assist the shopper.

32/35

(Independent) IFS Financial Planning, 9 Malton Way, Ebor Court, Adwick-Le-Street, Doncaster DN6 7FE

Speed of response: Time of call: 10.40am. Five rings, answered by a receptionist, who then put the call through to an adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Very friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Level-four diploma. 5/5

Payment method: No charge for initial meeting, and then a one-off fixed set up fee. 5/5

Guidance given: The adviser explained that he was not an equity release specialist and that it would be better for the shopper to speak with one of his colleagues, who would call him back later in the day. He did, however, provide some information and explained how equity release paid a percentage of the property value based on the age of the homeowner. He added that the funds could be taken with the interest rolling-up until the date of death. 3/5