Mystery Shopper: Liverpool

Mystery Shopper: Liverpool

Each week the mystery shopper seeks advice from independent 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 Liverpool. The shopper is a 47-year-old HR manager who is looking for a protection policy for herself or a joint policy with her husband. They live in a property with a mortgage of approximately £250,000, which is in her name.

Adviser: ES Walton and Company (independent)

Address: 70 Tradewinds, Liberty Place, East Village (off Duke Street), Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 5BG

Speed of response: 12.27pm. One ring and put through to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly. 4/5

Relevant qualifications: DipFs - Personal Finance Society Diploma. 5/5

Fees: Commission. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser said the type of cover the company offered under income protection was permanent health insurance, designed to offer protection for the rest of the shopper’s life. He took some of the shopper’s personal details and said he would email information to her, so she could decide if the cover available was within her budget. If the shopper was happy with what she saw, then they could proceed with a face-to-face conversation.  4/5

Knowledge: The adviser sounded knowledgeable, although he spoke more about the permanent health insurance than the cover for a shorter period of time.  4/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: The shopper said the adviser was helpful, but as he only offered permanent health insurance the shopper was unable to ascertain whether the lifetime or short-term cover was more suitable for her.



Adviser: Beatties Financial Services (independent)

Address: Suite 518B Cotton Exchange, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L3 9LQ

Speed of response: 12/05pm. One ring and put through to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Polite and friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: DipFs 5/5

Fees: Commission. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser told the shopper there were a lot of variables and different factors that would have a bearing on the type of cover that would be appropriate for her. The adviser also said the shopper could get cover for a fixed term or for an indefinite period of time until her retirement. He also gave her a ballpark figure of what a possible monthly premium could be, depending on how much she wanted to be covered for each month.  5/5

Knowledge:The adviser was very knowledgeable about the different types of cover in the market.  5/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: Shopper’s Choice. The shopper liked the fact the adviser went into detail to give her an idea of much she could potentially pay in premiums on a monthly basis.



Adviser: Catterall Keating Financial Planning (independent)

Addes: Springwood House, 4 Rose Lane, Mossley Hill, Liverpool, Merseyside, L18 5ED

Speed of response: 12.40pm. One ring and put through to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly. 4/5

Relevant qualifications: Chartered financial planner 5/5

Fees: Fees or commission depending on type of cover. 5/5