This week the mystery shopper wants to find out how her mother, who is 75 years old and lives in Richmond, can get an equity release for a property worth about £300,000.
Adviser (independent): The Private Office (formerly PQR)
Address: 1st floor, Dean Bradley House, 52 Horseferry Road, London, SW1 2AF
Speed of response (time of call): 10.55am. Answered by a PA after two rings who put the call through to an adviser. 5/5
Telephone manner: Polite. 4/5
Relevant qualifications: A chartered financial planning firm, but when prompted she did not expand on her own qualifications. 4/5
Payment method: Fixed fee depending on the level of service the mother requires. 4/5
Guidance given: The adviser spoke a lot about the type of firm The Private Office was and the service they provided. He said the mother would need to come into the office so her financial situation could be assessed. 4/5
Knowledge: Although the adviser did not want to take the caller through a lot of detail, she spoke with a confidence that indicated she understood her job. 4/5
Email/web presence: www.theprivateoffice.com email@example.com 5/5
Verdict: Although the adviser sounded confident and knowledgeable she was reluctant to explore details about the mother's circumstances.
Adviser (independent): Bunker Riley
Address: 118 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London, W1J 7NW
Speed of response (time of call): 11.15am. One ring then put straight through to an adviser. 5/5
Telephone manner: Very polite and friendly. 5/5
Relevant qualifications: Certificate in equity release. 5/5
Payment method: A £500 administration fee. Procuration fee from the equity release provider. 4/5
Guidance given: The adviser put the caller at ease and took the time to explain the difference between a lifetime mortgage and home reversion. The adviser also carefully explained what would happen when he met the caller’s mother and the subsequent steps. 5/5
Knowledge: A very good adviser who explained things in a simple and clear manner. 5/5
Email/web presence: www.bunker-riley.com firstname.lastname@example.org 5/5
Verdict: Shopper’s choice: The caller felt very comfortable and at ease with the adviser because of how carefully he explained the details about equity release.
Adviser (independent): Buckingham Gate Chartered Financial Planner
Address: 9-11 Grosvenor Gardens, Greater London, SW1W 0BD
Speed of response (time of call): 11.25am. One ring then put through to the adviser. 5/5
Telephone manner: Polite. 4/5
Relevant qualifications: Diploma in financial planning. 4/5
Payment method: Fee paid by client or payment made from equity release. 4/5
Guidance given: The conversation involved asking what the caller’s circumstances were. Although the adviser was not very conversational, he provided detailed information, particularly about the types of properties providers might accept or reject. 4/5
Knowledge: Despite sounding knowledgeable, it was his colleague who was the equity release specialist. However, the colleague needed a month’s notice to meet face-to-face. 3/5
Email/web presence: www.buckinghamgate.co.uk email@example.com 5/5
Verdict: Good advice from an adviser, although he explained it was his colleague who was the equity release expert.