Ethical Investing  

Mystery Shopper: Swindon

Mystery Shopper: Swindon

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 Swindon. The shopper has inherited £70,000 from her grandparents and would like to put the money in an ethical investment.


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Adviser: Alexander House Financial Services (independent)

Address: 42 Bosworth Road, Swindon, Wiltshire SN5 6AL

Speed of response: 10.03am. One ring and put through to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly, but the adviser failed to properly introduce herself. 4/5

Relevant qualifications: DipFS and chartered financial planner. 5/5

Payment method: Typically on a £70,000 investment there is a 3.5 per cent fee for the initial investment. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser said ethical investing can be used to filter out unwanted investments, such as tobacco-related companies, for example. However, she warned ethical investing may narrow the field of available funds and it is possible that the ethical fund does not perform as well as a mainstream fund. 4/5

Knowledge: The adviser sounded knowledgeable, but the shopper would have preferred a more probing approach with more information offered about the various options open to her. 4/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: The adviser behaved in a fairly professional manner and was keen to arrange a face-to-face meeting, but was a bit reluctant to offer an overview over the phone.



Adviser: Roy Chambers Associates (independent)

Address: 12 Manor Park, South Marston, Swindon, Wiltshire SN3 4RR

Speed of response: 10.15am. One ring and put through to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: DipFS. 5/5

Payment method: On investments up to £50,000 the fee is 3 per cent, £50,000 to £100,000 it is 2.5 per cent and more than £100,000 it is 2 per cent. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser said there are different types of sustainable investments with different guiding factors, then suggested a face-to-face meeting. 4/5

Knowledge:  The shopper did not feel that the adviser gave her an overview of the market for someone in her circumstances. He seemed more keen to arrange a meeting so that they could go through a fact find. 3/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: The shopper would have liked if the adviser had taken more time to explore her circumstances over the phone and to offer a snapshot of the market and her options.



Adviser: Inspire Financial planning (independent)

Address: Redwood House, Templars Way Industrial Estate, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire SN4 7SR

Speed of response: 10.35am. One ring and put through to an adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Chartered financial planner. 5/5

Payment method: Initial report fee of £970. If the investment goes ahead the £970 is offset against a 3 per cent fee of the initial amount, and the remainder is paid. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser explained how socially responsible investing works and described its growing interest in the last few years. Additionally, the adviser offered examples of an ethical approach governed by negative and positive guiding factors. 5/5