Investments  

Mystery shopper: Northamptonshire

This week the mystery shopper visits Northamptonshire. He is seeking advice on saving and investments with a view of purchasing a home in five years’ time. The shopper, 26, earns £35,000, and has a significant surplus of cash every month.

Adviser (Independent):

Anderson’s Independent Life & Pensions, 92 Glenfield Drive, Great Doddington, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, NN29 7TE

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Speed of response:

Time of call: 10.22am.
The call was answered after two rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Very polite and welcoming. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Level four diploma. 5/5

Payment method:

No charge for initial meeting. No set costs. An ongoing fee of 0.5 per cent. 5/5

Guidance given:

The adviser said that a stocks and shares Isa could achieve his aims of significant capital growth over five years, but would be subject to risk, and the shopper would have to assess his capacity for loss. On the other hand, putting money into cash Isas is a safe investment – although the low rate of interest currently offered by providers is a turn-off. 4/5

Knowledge:

The adviser demonstrated good knowledge of investment and cash Isas. 3/5

Email/web presence:

georgeanderson@btconnect.com
www.financialadvisernorthampton.com/home 5/5

Verdict:

Good. The conversation – lasting just under five minutes – was perhaps too brief, but the shopper was happy with the guidance offered.

32/35

Adviser (Independent):

Curo Wealth Management, The Stables, Towcester Road, Milton Malsor, Northampton, NN7 3AP

Speed of response:

Time of call: 10.31am.
The call was answered after one ring. 5/5

Telephone manner: Professional yet friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Level four diploma. 5/5

Payment method:

No charge for the initial meeting. Later charges would depend on individual circumstances. 5/5

Guidance given:

The adviser said the first point of call would be to arrange an initial meeting to explore the shopper’s current circumstances, objectives and attitude to risk. The meeting would delve into costing and further explain how the adviser could add value. 3/5

Knowledge:

The adviser gave off an impression that he was knowledgeable in the area without actually exploring any saving and investment products. 3/5

Email/web presence:

paul@curowealth.com
www.curowealth.com 5/5

Verdict:

The adviser was all right. The conversation sounded more like a sales pitch – albeit delivered in a friendly manner. The adviser spent the best part of the conversation discussing his background, and how he could add value, rather than offering guidance.

31/35

Adviser (Independent):

Robert Bruce Associates, 73 St Leonards Road, Northampton, NN4 8DN

Speed of response:

Time of call: 10.43am.
The call was answered after five rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Very friendly and helpful. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Level six. Chartered and certified financial planner. 5/5

Payment method:

Latter charges dependent on individual circumstances. 5/5

Guidance given:

The adviser said that the new help-to-buy Isa could be the best product available to meet the shopper’s objectives. He explained that the government would top up contributions by up to 20 per cent.

He added that investment Isas could generate impressive returns but come with a heightened risk, which might not be worth taking. 4/5

Knowledge:

The adviser spent more than 10 minutes exploring the ins and outs of the help-to-buy Isa. He went out of his way to research the product to verify his knowledge to ensure that the shopper was not misinformed. 4/5