This week, the mystery shopper visits Plymouth. He is seeking advice on income protection on behalf of his uncle, who recently returned to work from a six-month lay-off following a back injury. The uncle is 47, and has had no other ailments in the past.
Adviser (Independent): Goodmans Financial Planning, 6 Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AQ
Speed of response: Time of call: 2.18pm. Answered after two rings. 5/5
Telephone manner: Friendly and helpful. 5/5
Relevant qualifications: Chartered financial planner. 5/5
Payment method: Choice of fixed fee or commission. The adviser gave a brief history of adviser charges pre-RDR. 5/5
Guidance given: The adviser said there are a limited number of providers that would offer the shopper’s uncle a policy because of his recent injury. Many providers exclude back conditions as part of any cover, he added. The adviser offered to arrange a meeting to delve deeper into the uncle’s circumstances. 5/5
Very good. The adviser appeared well-versed on income protection. 5/5
Verdict: The shopper was impressed by the adviser, who was attentive and delivered helpful guidance.
Adviser (Independent): Francis Clark Financial Planning, North Quay House, Sutton Harbour, Plymouth, PL4 0RA
Speed of response: Time of call: 2.30pm. Answered after three rings. 5/5
Professional and helpful. 5/5
Level four diploma. 5/5
Fixed fee. The adviser said the charges are calculated on a case-by-case basis. 4/5
Guidance given: The adviser explained that some companies might offer a policy to the shopper’s uncle in exchange for inflated monthly premiums – to reflect the risk the business presents to the insurer. He added that most providers exclude back conditions from income protection policies. 5/5
The adviser appeared to have a good understanding of the topic area. 5/5
The adviser listened patiently to the scenario before giving a comprehensive and detail response. The shopper was more than satisfied.
Adviser (Independent): Parkhurst Hill Financial Planning, Lawrence Rd, Mount Batten, Plymouth, PL9 9SJ
Speed of response: Time of call: 2.52pm. Answered after two rings. 5/5
Professional – albeit to the point. 4/5
Level four diploma. 5/5
Commission or fixed fee. 4/5
Guidance given: The adviser kicked off the conversation by asking the name and age of the shopper’s uncle. He said he would need to meet with the uncle to conduct a fact-find for a better understanding of his circumstances before offering advice. 2/5
Difficult to gauge, as the adviser did not offer any guidance. 2/5
Verdict: The shopper understood the need for the adviser to conduct a fact-find before offering advice, but he would have appreciated any form of guidance.
Provider: Vitality Life
Speed of response: Time of call: 2.56. The call was answered by an automated machine. The shopper was transferred to a representative within 50 seconds. 4/5
Polite and professional. 5/5
The adviser said he was qualified to advise on protection products. 4/5