Mystery Shopper  

Mystery Shopper: Loughborough

Mystery Shopper: Loughborough

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.

The mystery shopper visits Leicester. The shopper is calling on behalf of her aunt and uncle who want to release equity from their property valued at £450,000, which has an outstanding mortgage of £150,000. They are both in their early 60s and would like to use the money to purchase a buy-to-let property and to help some relatives get on the housing ladder.

 

Adviser: Tudor Franklin Independent Financial Advice (independent)

Address: 1st Floor, 3 Stadon Road, Anstey, Leicester, Leicestershire LE7 7AY

Speed of response: Time of call. 1.54pm. One ring and put through to an adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Diploma in financial advice. 5/5

Payment method: Charges will depend on service provided. 3/5

Guidance: The adviser explained that he was not keen on recommending equity release due to the high interest payments involved and would prefer other methods to raise equity. He wanted to arrange a meeting to discuss circumstances and options further. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser sounded knowledgeable but the shopper felt he did not give her a balanced understanding of the pros and cons of equity release. 4/5

Website: www.tudorfranklin.co.uk

Email: richard@tudorfranklin.co.uk 5/5

Verdict: The adviser was professional, but the shopper felt he could have gone into more detail about her options over the phone. 

32/35

 

Adviser: MSC Financial Planners (independent)

Address: 36 Station Road, Countesthorpe, Leicestershire LE8 5TA

Speed of response: Time of call. 2.18pm. One ring and put through to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: CeMap / DipPFS. 5/5

Payment method: Charges will depend on service provided. 3/5

Guidance: The adviser explained the main equity release repayment structures. With one option, the interest payments start immediately and in the other the borrower does not need to start paying straight away so the interest payments roll up. The adviser also explained that most customers are not encouraged to choose equity release if other options are open. Additionally, some lenders will not lend where the homeowners still have an outstanding mortgage. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser was knowledgeable and spoke in a lot of detail. 5/5

Website: www.mscfp.co.uk

Email: mark@mscfp.co.uk 5/5

Verdict: The adviser was helpful and gave the shopper detailed information on the options available to her.

33/35

 

Adviser: Wealth Help (independent)

Address: Mansfield Street, Quorn, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE12 8BE

Speed of response: Time of call. 2.39pm. One ring and call answered by adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: DipPS, Certs CII (MP & ER) 5/5

Payment method: Typical fee is £299. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser explained the different types of equity release options. He also said that although equity release was growing in popularity the amount that can be borrowed is restricted by the compound interest. Additionally, despite her aunt and uncle’s ages, there are a few specialist lenders who would consider a remortgage, if equity release was found to be too expensive or risky. 5/5