Equity Release  

Mystery Shopper: Bristol

Mystery Shopper: Bristol

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 Bristol. The shopper wants to look into equity release for her mother. She is divorced, but living in the family home, worth up to £300,000, which she  wants to renovate. She is 60 years old and working, and wants to know if equity release is the right solution for her and how to go about the process. 

Adviser (independent): Blue Financial Services

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Address: Dyrham Lodge, 16 Clifton Park, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 3BY

Speed of response (time of call): 3.09pm. The phone rang twice before it was answered. A receptionist took the caller’s name and put her through to an IFA. 5/5

Telephone manner: Very friendly and polite. 5/5

Relevant qualification: Advanced Financial Planning Certificate (AFPC), Certificate in Equity Release.  5/5

Payment method: None as IFA declined to take on this equity release case. 0/5

Guidance given: After having a brief chat with the IFA, the caller was told that although the firm had dealt with equity release cases, it was not his area of expertise and therefore recommended the caller go on the Unbiased website to search for a relevant IFA. 2/5

Knowledge: The IFA seemed hesitant to take on the equity release case, which raised questions in the caller’s mind about his knowledge and experience of the topic. 2/5

Website: www.blue-fs.co.uk


Verdict: Although the IFA did not take on the case, he was friendly. It was refreshing that he pointed the caller to the Unbiased website so that she could find an alternative adviser. 



Adviser (independent): Bluefish Financial Services

Address: 34 Claverham Road, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 2HS

Speed of response (time of call): 3.14pm. The phone rang around six times before it was answered. A receptionist took the caller’s name and put the caller through to an IFA. 5/5

Telephone manner: Very friendly and polite. 5/5

Relevant qualification: Certificate in Long-Term Care Insurance, Diploma for Financial Advisers. 5/5

Payment method: Mix of fee or commission depending on each case. 5/5

Guidance given: The IFA told the caller that in order to take things forward, the caller’s mother would have to have a face-to-face meeting with the IFA, which the caller would be able to sit in on. The IFA would do a full fact find and gauge the client's assets and needs. The IFA would look at why the client has requested equity release and check to see if a better alternative could be found. However, if equity release was the right solution for the client, then the IFA would make relevant recommendations. 5/5

Knowledge: The IFA seemed confident and knowledgeable about equity release and clearly guided the caller though the process. 5/5

Website: www.bluefishfs.co.uk


Verdict: The IFA seemed knowledge and experienced. 



Adviser (independent): The Clifton Business Consultancy

Address: 227 Canford Lane, Westbury-On-Trym, Bristol, BS9 3PD