This week the shopper visits Leeds.
The shopper is a 28-year-old retail assistant. She recently learned that one of her colleagues was off work for a long period and only received statutory sick pay from her employer.
The shopper is therefore looking to take out an income protection policy that will cost her no more than around £40 a month. The shopper is a smoker.
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: Sedulo Wealth Management (independent)
Address: St Paul's House, 23 Park Square, Leeds, LS1 2ND
Speed of response: 3.40pm. The adviser picked up after eight rings. 4/5
Telephone manner: The adviser was quite friendly and polite. 5/5
Relevant qualifications: Level 6 chartered financial planner. 5/5
Payment method: The shopper was told the protection provider will pay the advice company directly, with the fees levied to the shopper. 5/5
Guidance: The chartered financial planner told the shopper that the premium she will have to pay will depend on a number of circumstances. He told the shopper, given that she wants a longer deferred period, the premiums are likely to be less expensive. He suggested a face-to-face meeting with the shopper to assess further. 4/5
Knowledge: The financial planner demonstrated a very good understanding of the protection space. 4/5
Email: email@example.com. 5/5
Verdict: Shopper's choice. The shopper found this chartered financial planner helpful.
Adviser: The Pension Planner (independent)
Address: West One, 114 Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 1BA
Speed of response: 4.02pm. The shopper was connected to the switchboard after two rings and to a member of staff after three rings. 5/5
Telephone manner: The staff member was patient and friendly. 5/5
Relevant qualifications: The staff member said he was an administrator, not an adviser. 1/5
Payment method: The administrator said the shopper will not have to pay any fees to the company as the provider will pay a commission fee of approximately 1.5 times the annual premium to the advice company. 5/5
Guidance: The administrator explained how income protection works. He said the shopper will get about 50-75 per cent of her salary. He suggested the shopper opt for a longer deferred period given she wants to pay a lower premium of up to £40 a month. 4/5
Knowledge: He demonstrated a strong understanding of various aspects of income protection. 4/5
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 5/5