This week, the mystery shopper visits the City of Westminster.
The shopper wants to set up a Junior Isa for her six-month-old daughter, after receiving a £10,000 gift from her grandmother. She is planning to add £5,000 later in the year and top it up annually. Is this a good idea? What other long-term investments or savings plans are available for children? The shopper also wants to know what insurance and/or protections she and her husband should put in place.
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: Strabens Hall (Independent)
Address: D’Arblay House, 16 D’Arblay Street, London W1F 8EA
Speed of response: At 12:15 the shopper was transferred to an adviser straight away. 5/5
Telephone manner: The adviser was friendly and polite. 5/5
Relevant qualifications: Other than saying he had the basic qualification of an adviser – and despite various prompts – he was not specific. 3/5
Payment method: The adviser said it was likely to involve a fixed fee, ranging from about £1,500 to £2,000. 5/5
Guidance: The adviser explained various options, such as a Junior Isa or a private pension pot, but did not give much detail. However, he said it was important to check the benefits such as insurance offered by her employer first, and revert back to him. Due to the cost of the adviser fee, he said it might be more cost-effective to look at some options online first. 4/5
Knowledge: The adviser was fairly knowledgeable. He suggested a Jisa had more options available, with good rates, often better than a cash Isa, but did not give any more details. 3/5
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 5/5
Verdict: The adviser was fairly knowledgeable and offered some good guidance, but needed some prompting. The shopper appreciated his honesty about the fees and about being cost-effective.
Adviser: Tankard Wealth (Independent)
Address: 27 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LY
Speed of response: At 12:45 the adviser answered the phone straight away. 5/5
Telephone manner: The adviser was friendly and professional. 5/5
Relevant qualifications: Chartered planner, CISI qualified. 5/5
Payment method: The adviser said the fee would either be worked out on a percentage basis or an hourly basis, depending on the situation. 3/5
Guidance: The adviser said there was a range of options: a Jisa, setting up a pension pot, or a trust. But he made it clear he would need to know more about the shopper’s individual circumstances, savings, mortgage etc. The adviser was keen to set up a meeting and provide more detailed information upon receiving a fact find form from the shopper, which he offered to email immediately. 4/5