Mystery Shopper  

Mystery Shopper: Worcester

Mystery Shopper: Worcester

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 Worcester. The shopper is 37 years old and is looking at the possibility of starting an Isa as an alternative to a pension. The shopper is a self-employed project manager with two young children. She already has a small pension fund which she froze when she was pregnant with her first child, who is now six years old.

Adviser: Prosser Knowles Associates (independent)

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Address: 1 Castle Street, Worcester, Worcestershire WR1 3AA

Speed of response: 11.03am. One ring and put through to an adviser by the receptionist. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: DipFA and pensions transfer specialist. 5/5

Payment method:  Fee depends on the service option chosen, for example, on a £10,000 investment the fee is 1 per cent of the fund value. 4/5

Guidance: No guidance was given and the shopper felt the adviser was overly keen to arrange a meeting to discuss the various options. 3/5

Knowledge: The adviser sounded confident that he could help but, disappointingly, he was reluctant to provide much information over the phone. 3/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: The adviser came across well, but did not offer the shopper an overview of her options despite her requests for  background information over the phone.



Adviser: Temple Bar Independent Financial Advice (independent)

Address: Independence House, 4 Beckett Road, Worcester, Worcestershire, WR3 7NJ

Speed of response: 11am. One ring and transferred to an adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: DipFA. 5/5

Payment method: Fee will depend on what assistance the adviser can provide to the shopper. 3/5

Guidance: The adviser explained the major differences between Isas and pension, including the tax benefits. It was recommended that the shopper get information about her frozen pot, to help the adviser work out the best course of action for her. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser appeared knowledgeable about Isas and pensions and did a good job explaining how tax relief works. He told the shopper that once she knows more about her frozen pot he will be better placed to recommend a way forward. 5/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: The adviser knew his stuff and was able to pencil out a plan of action for her.



Adviser: Alexander House Financial Services (independent)

Address: 71 Droitwich Road, Worcestershire, Worcester WR3 7HX

Speed of response: 11.22am. One ring and put through to the adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Level four qualified and pension transfer specialist. 5/5

Payment method: Fee is dependant on the circumstances and could be a flat or an hourly fee. 3/5

Guidance:  The adviser was initially reluctant to give information over the phone, suggesting that he wanted to arrange an appointment to understand the shopper’s circumstances face-to-face. After the shopper explained she wanted background information the adviser was able to give her an explanation of the differences between an Isa and a pension. 5/5