Mystery Shopper  

Mystery Shopper: Cardiff

Total score: 31/35


Adviser: Niche Chartered Financial Planners (Independent)

Address: 8 Pen-Y-Lan Oval, South Glamorgan, Cardiff, CF23 6AU

Speed of response: 11am. Connected to an adviser immediately. 5/5

Telephone manner: Polite and professional. 5/5

Qualifications: Dip PFS, associate of the Personal Finance Society, chartered member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment. 5/5

Payment method: Following a free consultation, where an adviser would set out proposals and services, once a clearer picture of the grandmother’s goals and finances had been gained, the rate for advice would be £150 an hour. 5/5

Guidance: Given the information provided, which the adviser said was still too vague, IHT would likely have to be paid in the future, but to know exactly how much would require more information. He said the amount of IHT would vary depending on whether her grandmother’s wealth passed on to direct descendants, if she had a will and any other savings in her name. He said a lot of other questions exist around IHT, and so to have any meaningful discussion, the grandmother would need to be present. 3/5

Knowledge: The adviser demonstrated good knowledge of IHT, explaining the shopper’s grandmother can give away £3,000 worth of gifts each tax year without it being added to the value of her estate, and another £2,500 as a wedding gift for a grandchild. But to know the extent of potential IHT, more information was necessary. 4/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: Shopper's Choice: The adviser was polite and offered a good description of what would be involved in the first consultation, offered a fee for the service and showed sound knowledge of the different exemptions. He did not hesitate to give his email, but without more information, he was reluctant to give any other details over the phone.

Total score: 32/35


Adviser: NTM Financial Services (Independent)

Address: Unit 12, Cwrt Y Parc, Earlswood Road, Llanishen, South Glamorgan, Cardiff, CF14 5GH

Speed of response: 11:30am. The shopper was transferred to the firm’s first point of contact – a practice manager – who offered to schedule a meeting with an adviser. 4/5

Telephone manner: Professional and moderately friendly. 5/5

Qualifications: Practice manager with a level 3 Diploma in Business Administration and a level 4 Diploma in Leadership and Management. The shopper would, however, be advised by a certified financial planner with a Dip PFS. 5/5

Payment method: She said there would be no obligation to pay during the initial meeting, but that a charge would be incurred for subsequent meetings and advice. She did not give an estimate of the cost, or on what basis rates are charged, explaining the process was extremely complex and would depend on a number of things. 3/5

Guidance: At first, under the impression the shopper’s grandmother’s estate was valued at less than £500,000, the office manager suggested general IHT information was available online. However, when the shopper clarified her grandmother’s property was worth £500,000, not her whole estate, and that she also had another £500,000 in cash savings taking the overall estate to £1m, the manager said the grandmother would, in that case, be better off seeking further advice with a qualified adviser, suggesting an appointment was necessary to gain more in-depth information as IHT was a sensitive issue. 4/5