Mystery Shopper  

Mystery Shopper: Chelmsford

Mystery Shopper: Chelmsford

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 shopper is in Chelmsford wondering if he should hold onto his Lifetime Isa after hearing the product may be scrapped. The shopper opened a Lifetime Isa in April 2017 and has saved the maximum (£4,000) in each tax year since it was introduced, but wants to know more about his future options.

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Adviser: Fairey Associates (Independent)

Address: Alexandra House, 36A Church Street, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 7HY

Speed of response (time of call): 11.18am, three rings, transferred immediately to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: CII diploma in financial planning. 5/5​

Payment method: £1,000 minimum on savings. The adviser explained when charges would and wouldn’t apply. 4/5

Guidance given: To hold tight on any final decision until the government issues clarity on the future of Lifetime Isas. He explained the negatives around current cash Isas. 3/5

Knowledge: The adviser didn’t have to hand detailed knowledge of the flexibilities of a Lifetime Isa compared with a Help to Buy Isa. 3/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: The adviser focused on the important factor – the need to wait and see, but more precise knowledge about Isas would have been preferred.



Adviser: Birkett Long (Independent)

Address: Ground Floor, Faviell House, 1 Coval Wells, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1WZ

Speed of response (time of call): 10.13am, call transferred to an adviser who asked to call back later with wider information. 5/5

Telephone manner: Professional. 4/5

Relevant qualifications: Level four diploma in financial planning. 5/5

Payment method: 3 per cent of amount invested, varying by case, plus 0.75 per cent ongoing advice fee. 5/5

Guidance given: The adviser explained the need to hold fire for now. He outlined the differences the shopper ought to know between a Help to Buy Isa and a Lifetime Isa if, in future, the shopper decided to transfer funds into a Help to Buy Isa. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser explained the different types of Isas, what they might pay out depending on circumstances, the Isas more suitable to the shopper and finally, the risks. 4/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: The adviser gave full and specific information on the different Isa options, giving the shopper some tools to make a decision, once the government takes a definite stance on Lifetime Isas.



Adviser: Atlantic Wealth Management (Restricted)