Mystery Shopper  

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 is in Liverpool. Now 45, married and with two children, the shopper is looking for advice on defined contribution scheme death benefits and writing a will. He has income protection but his wife, who works, does not. Neither have life insurance but the shopper wants to ensure his family’s financial security. 

Pavis Financial Management (Independent)

4 St. Paul's Square, Liverpool L3 9SJ

Speed of response (time of call): 11.09am. Three rings and an adviser answered. 5/5

Telephone manner: Polite and professional. 4/5

Relevant qualifications: Chartered financial planner. 5/5​

Payment method: Fee would be split between life cover and pension advice – £1,000-£1,500 for shopper’s £25,000 pension pot, and ongoing advice fee of 1 per cent. 4/5

Guidance given: The adviser said the shopper would need to complete an expression of wishes form. She also explained tax implications for the shopper’s wife if he died after the age of 75 and his wife withdrew the pension in a lump sum. 4/5

Knowledge: The adviser had sound knowledge of the tax liabilities for the shopper’s wife if she was the sole beneficiary, as well as knowledge of annuities that would be relevant if he passed away. 4/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: Although the fees were unclear, the adviser succinctly outlined what the shopper’s wife needed to be prepared for, depending on what age the shopper passed away, and what to consider when completing the expression of wishes form.



Parsonage Financial Planning (Independent)

1 Dunham Road, Altrincham WA14 4NX

Speed of response (Time of call): 11.40am. Two rings and VouchedFor arranged a call back, which came two hours later. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly, clear and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Chartered financial planner. 5/5

Payment method: Fixed fee but shopper’s circumstances may mean hourly rate (£210 per hour). This would be made clear at appointment. £700 per year retainer. 5/5

Guidance given: The adviser gave comprehensive information on the annuity, lump sum and beneficiary drawdown elements typical to defined contribution (DC) schemes. She also explained why inheritance tax was not an issue, and outlined a case study of a previous client who was the beneficiary of a return of funds. She helped the shopper weigh up what to include in the expression of wishes form. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser was extremely knowledgeable on the options typical of many DC schemes, and the practical details of how transfer of funds work in practice. 5/5