Mortgages  

Mystery Shopper

Each week the mystery shopper seeks advice from independent and tied advisers in the UK. The aim is to find out whether advisers are delivering the goods when it comes to the all-important initial telephone contact between client and adviser. It is only intended to evaluate this first interview, and it is understood that further meetings would be necessary before final decisions could be made. The purpose is not to expose poor selling practices, but to show constructively any weaknesses in the advice process.

This week, the mystery shopper visits the Hertford area. After years of renting, he and his partner are looking to purchase a property for the first time. They have £50,000 in savings and a joint income of £54,000. They are seeking to buy a property in the region of £250,000.

Adviser (Independent): Myers Davison Ginger Ltd

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24 The Finches,

Hertford, SG13 7TB

Speed of response: Time of call: 3.44pm. Answered after one ring. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Polite and friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Level four diploma. 5/5.

Payment method:

The adviser said that it would be explored by his referral colleague. 4/5

Guidance given:

The adviser explained he stopped advising on mortgages before the financial crash and refers all mortgage-related enquiries to his colleague. He said this individual would conduct a fact-find to identify the most suited solution for the shopper. 2/5

Knowledge:

Difficult to gauge. The adviser admitted to no longer operating in the space. 2/5

Email/web presence:

neiljohnson@mdgmortgages.com

www.mdgifa.com

5/5

Verdict:

The adviser came across well and seemed keen to help the shopper get in contact with his referral colleague.

28/35

Adviser (Independent):

Thompson Riddle Associates Ltd

Headstart House, 39 High Street, Ware,

Hertfordshire, SG12 9BA

Speed of response: Time of call: 3.49pm. Answered after two rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Notably friendly and polite. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Advanced Certificate in Mortgage Advice. 5/5

Payment method:

£199 plus commission from lender.

5/5

Guidance given:

The first port of call would be to arrange an initial face-to-face meeting which would delve deeper into the shopper’s circumstances to find the best solution, according to the adviser. The meeting would be set up at the adviser’s expense. 3/5

Knowledge:

Again, difficult to gauge, as he wouldn’t be giving guidance until the initial meeting. 3/5

Email/web presence:

simon@themodernifa.co.uk

www.themodernifa.co.uk

5/5

Verdict:

The adviser came across exceptionally well but the shopper would have liked more on the guidance front over the phone.

31/35

Adviser (Independent):

Robinson George Financial Management

Beech House, 3 Beechwood Close,

Hertford, SG13 7HW

Speed of response: Time of call: 3.55pm. Answered after five rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Friendly, attentive and helpful.

5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Chartered financial planner.

5/5

Payment method:

Up to £1,500 – covered by a flat fee and provider commission.

5/5

Guidance given:

The adviser kicked off the conversation by asking for basic details, including the dates of birth and joint income of the shopper and his partner. After taking a brief pause to crunch numbers, the adviser said the couple were likely to be able to secure an 80 per cent loan-to-value mortgage – assuming that their credit history was not affected by defaults.

5/5

Knowledge:

The adviser was notably well versed on the area. 5/5

Email/web presence:

tony@purewealthltd.com

www.robinsongeorge.com

5/5

Verdict:

Very good. The adviser took time to make calculations to offer more tailored guidance, to his credit.