Mystery Shopper  

Mystery Shopper: Merton

Mystery Shopper: Merton

This week, the mystery shopper visits Merton, London. 

The shopper is joint owner of a property with her husband who has now passed away. He did not have any will and it is unclear whether the shopper will be getting a £320,000 death-in-service payout. The shopper is exploring how to pass on the property – worth £400,000 – to her son without him having to pay 40 per cent inheritance tax. 

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.


Adviser: MLP Wealth Management (independent)

Address: 17 Station Rd, Sutton, SM2 6BX

Speed of response: 2:23pm. The shopper is transferred to the switchboard after two rings, and after one ring to a financial adviser. 4/5

Telephone manner: The adviser was polite and patient. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Level 4 Dip PFS. 5/5

Payment method: The adviser said he wanted the shopper to think about her options before discussing pricing. After being prompted, he said prices depend on what services the shopper ends up getting, and said generally a 3 per cent fee is levied for up to £100,000 invested. 3/5

Guidance: The adviser asked the shopper several questions to understand her position, such as her salary, whether she is due any death-in-service payment, whether her husband wrote a will, her financial position, assets and pension benefits. He asked the shopper to check whether she had a tenancy in common or a joint tenancy when she bought the property. He said she could transfer the property to her son once the house comes to her estate. 4/5

Knowledge: The adviser demonstrated a thorough knowledge of IHT rules and probate fees. 5/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: The adviser was helpful and asked great questions that could help the shopper make the most informed decision.



Adviser: Keith M Jobson (Julian Harris Financial Consultants network) 

Address: Julian Harris House, Musgrove, Ashford, TN23 7UN

Speed of response: 3:10pm. The shopper is transferred to a receptionist after one ring and to a financial adviser after four rings. 4/5

Telephone manner: The adviser was compassionate and polite. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Level 4 Dip PFS. 5/5

Payment method: The adviser said the level of fees depends on whether the company's services are required on a more 'ad hoc' basis, or on a more regular basis. He said an hourly rate of £175 would be charged, or a 3 per cent fee for investments up to £50,000, and a 2.5 per cent fee if an investment of £100,000 is made. 5/5