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Mystery shopper: Bedfordshire

Mystery shopper: Bedfordshire

Each week the mystery shopper seeks advice from independent and tied 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.

This week the shopper visits Bedfordshire. The 28-year-old shopper, who works as a graphic designer, is due to be shifted onto a self-employed contract by his bosses. As the sole provider for his wife and child, the shopper is seeking to protect against the event of debilitating illness or sickness.

Adviser (Independent):

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Clear Vision Financial Planning

6 Cherry Walk, Kempston, Bedfordshire, MK42 7PB

Speed of response:

Time of call: 2.20pm. The call was answered after three rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Very courteous. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Chartered and certified financial planner. 5/5

Payment method:

A choice of commission or fixed fee. 5/5

Guidance given:

The adviser outlined income protection as a suitable cover. He explained that the cover is designed to pay out monthly premiums up until retirement for individuals who are unable to work through sickness or injury. He suggested arranging an initial meeting to get a gauge of the shopper’s circumstances. He added he would also conduct a full review to establish whether other protection policies were necessary.

4/5

Knowledge:

The adviser seemed well versed on income protection.

5/5

Email/web presence:

maitchison@clearvisionfp.co.uk

www.clearvisionfp.co.uk

5/5

Verdict:

The adviser was notably polite and offered some helpful basic guidance.

34/35

 

Adviser (Independent):

Ash Tree Financial Services

Ash Tree House, 48 Sutton Mill Road, Potton, Bedfordshire, SG19 2QB

Speed of response:

Time of call: 12.30pm. The call was answered after three rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Very friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Level four diploma. 5/5

Payment method:

Commission. 5/5

Guidance given:

Not a lot. The adviser said an income protection policy would pay out a large percentage of the shopper’s salary. He then suggested arranging an initial consultation for a more in-depth chat. 3/5

Knowledge:

The adviser display basic knowledge on the topic based on the guidance given. 3/5

Email/web presence:

goodwin@ashtree.uk.com

www.ashtree.uk.com

5/5

Verdict:

So-so. The adviser’s friendly approach to the conversation was endearing but, unfortunately, the substance was lacking.

31/35

Adviser (Independent):

Cogent Financial Planning

Suite 6, Brewers Yard, Ivel Road, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5GY

Speed of response:

Time of call: 2.42pm. The call was answered after six rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Very friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Mortgage adviser. 3/5

Payment method:

Commission. 5/5

Guidance given:

The adviser gave a general overview of what is not covered under a self-employed contract – including statutory sick pay as well as the national minimum wage obligation. He added an income protection policy would not cover the entirety of the shopper’s salary, but only a portion – albeit a significant chunk. In addition, the premium paid out by the policy was tax free, he said.

5/5

Knowledge:

The adviser seemed to hold good knowledge on the topic.

5/5

Email/web presence:

steve@cogentfp.co.uk

www.cogentfp.co.uk

5/5

Verdict:

The adviser explained the basic procedures and additional features of income protection products with clarity.