Mystery Shopper: Bath

Mystery shopper

Adviser (Independent) Money Wise IFA, 7 Chapel Row, Queen Square Bath BA1 1HN

Speed of response: Time of call 11:51am. Answered after five rings by a receptionist, who immediately put the call through to an adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Extremely friendly, outgoing and professional. 5/5

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Relevant qualifications: Level four diploma. 5/5

Payment method: Standard flat charge of £495 for mortgage advice plus a procuration fee, which is taken from the amount borrowed. 5/5

Guidance given: After asking a lot of questions about the shopper’s financial position and lifestyle, the adviser explained the different types of mortgages available and that anyone self-employed must provide three years of accounts. He then calculated the shopper’s details and gave an estimate that the shopper and his partner could spend in the region of £300,000 on a property. He advised, however, spending about £250,000 in light of there being better deals on lower LTV mortgages, likely interest rates rises and stamp duty thresholds. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser had a very solid understanding of mortgage and regulatory changes and conveyed his knowledge in a very clear and simple fashion. 4/5

Email/web presence: / / 5/5

Verdict: Highly recommended. The adviser took time and care to explain all aspects of buying a property and was very transparent in all areas of communication.


Adviser (Independent) Combined Financial Strategies, Suite 155, 3 Edgar Buildings, George Street, Bath BA1 2FJ

Speed of response: Time of call: 12:13pm. Two rings. 5/5

Telephone manner: Pleasant. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Chartered financial planner. 5/5

Payment method: An overall fee of £600 for researching the market and implementing advice plus a procuration fee, which is taken from the amount borrowed. 5/5

Guidance given: The adviser first warned the shopper that his partner’s job transfer to Bath could reset a probation period and discussed the requirement for the self-employed to present three years worth of accounts. While he said the couple’s deposit was great, he explained that income was the most important factor and it must be demonstrated that there is enough money to live on after expenditures. He also warned that stamp duty and refurbishment costs must be considered. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser displayed a very impressive level of knowledge on the mortgage sector, MMR and market trends. 5/5

Email/web presence: / 5/5

Verdict: The adviser was very professional and provided a great deal of honest and insightful information to help the shopper at this early phase.


Adviser (Restricted) Hallmark Independent Financial Services, Bodieve House, 61 North Road, Midsomer Norton, Bath BA3 2QE

Speed of response: Time of call: 12:30pm. Two rings. 5/5

Telephone manner: Temperamental - friendly but occasionally hostile. 3/5

Relevant qualifications: When asked twice the adviser said he was “fully qualified” to give mortgage and protection advice. 3/5

Payment method: A flat charge of £250 for the advice, though no charge for the initial consultation.5/5