Mystery Shopper  

Mystery Shopper: Cardiff

Knowledge: She showed good knowledge of IHT, initially offering some information such as the 40 per cent tax cut for anything over the £325,000 threshold, with no IHT to pay if the value of the estate is anything below, and that when the gift is first made it is called a potentially exempt transfer as, assuming the person gifting lives for a further seven years, there will not be any IHT due. She also acknowledged there was a separate exemption for wedding and birthday gifts, but reiterated the information was all accessible online. 4/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: While mostly polite and evidently knowledgeable about the complexities of IHT such as the £325,000 threshold and different exemptions, the shopper was slightly put off by the practice manager’s attitude to wealth – first by being told to simply look online, then after clarifying her grandmother’s estate was around £1m, told seeking professional advice was in fact the right thing to do.

Total score: 30/35


Adviser: Hartley Ross (Independent)

Address: Forgeside House, Cardiff Bay Business Centre, Forgeside Close, Lewis Road, Cardiff CF24 5FA

Speed of response: 4pm. The shopper left a number with reception and received a call back from the adviser later that day. 4/5

Telephone manner: Very polite and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Senior partner with a Dip FA. 5/5

Payment method: Initial consultation would be free, upon which a fee for advice would be calculated based on the grandmother’s decision, but a range or method of calculating costs for advice was not discussed. 3/5

Guidance: The adviser offered to email the shopper more information from the government’s website, a fact find form and a ‘dynamic planner risk profiler’ form – to be filled in and posted prior to organising a meeting. He said a face-to-face consultation would be necessary to gain a better understanding of the grandmother’s financial situation and aversion to risk. If she worried about her grandchildren losing out on some of the money to tax, other ways of utilising it could be through a trust, investment, or a whole-of-life insurance plan. How much IHT would be paid, if she were to pass away within the next seven years, would depend on a number of things, but the adviser said this could all be worked out once they had more information. 4/5