Mystery Shopper  

Mystery Shopper: Oxfordshire

Mystery Shopper: Oxfordshire

This week, the mystery shopper visits Oxfordshire.  

The shopper, aged 29, a self-employed project manager at Barclays is looking to take out an income protection policy that will cover her. 

Each week the mystery shopper seeks advice from independent advisers in the UK.

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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: Austin Chapel Independent Financial Advisers (Independent)

Address: Clarendon House, 52 Cornmarket Street, Oxford, OX1 3HJ 

Speed: The adviser picked up immediately at 11:03am. 5/5

Telephone manner: The adviser was reasonably friendly. 4/5

Qualifications: Level four Dip PFS. 5/5

Payment method: The adviser said the advice company will be paid commission directly by the protection provider. He said this is about 175-200 per cent of the premium. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser said he would like to learn more about the shopper’s overall financial circumstances. He went into discussion about how the deferred period works and asked the shopper whether she would want cover from day one or can afford to wait longer and choose a policy with a longer deferred period. 4/5

Knowledge: The adviser demonstrated very good knowledge of how income protection works. 4/5


Email:  5/5

Verdict: The adviser gave a good oversight to the shopper on how income protection works. 


Adviser:  Polestar FA (part of Positive Solutions – Restricted)

Address: 88 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6JT

Speed: The adviser picked up at 11:27am after two rings. 5/5

Telephone manner: The adviser was very friendly. 5/5

Qualifications: Level four Dip PFS. 5/5

Payment method: The adviser said the shopper will not be charged a fee. The provider will pay the company about 20 times the size of the premium. 5/5 

Guidance: The adviser held a thorough discussion with the shopper on why income protection is the most suited policy for her compared to critical illness cover as the payout for IP does not depend on any “list” of illnesses. The adviser also asked the shopper if she wanted cover until she gets her pension, and how long she plans to be self-employed. He also urged the shopper to think about taking out a policy that will rise in line with inflation. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser demonstrated outstanding knowledge of income protection. 5/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: This adviser stood out most to the shopper as he gave the best advice and held the most detailed conversation. 


Adviser: Herbert & Webster Ltd (Restricted)

Address: Regus, John Eccles House, Robert Robinson Avenue, Oxfordshire, Oxford, OX4 4GP