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Mystery shopper: Hertfordshire

Mystery shopper: Hertfordshire

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.

The shopper visits Hertfordshire. He is seeking mortgage advice on behalf of his mother who wants to release £60,000 from her property – valued at £650,000 – to help him and his brother get on to the property ladder. The mother is aged 55 and earns £45,000 per annum. Her outstanding mortgage value is £120,000.

Adviser (Independent):

Feast Noble & Co LLP

1 Clockhouse Court, 5-7 London Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 1LA

Speed of response:

Time of call: 3.23pm. Answered by an automated system. The shopper was transferred within 30 seconds. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Polite and engaging. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Mortgage adviser. 5/5

Payment method:

Something that would be explored in an initial meeting, according to the adviser. 4/5

Guidance given:

The best course of action would be to arrange a meeting with the shopper’s mother to better establish her circumstances, the adviser said. Based on the information outlined above, he said remortgaging is probably the best solution to raise capital. The adviser also highlighted equity release as a potential solution, but then quickly dismissed it claiming it is not designed for debt consolidation, but for retirement income and/or to fund long-term care. 4/5

Knowledge:

The adviser seemed knowledgeable on remortgages and equity release. 4/5

Email/web presence:

graham@feastnoble.com

www.feastnoble.com 5/5

Verdict:

The adviser delivered some helpful information in a timely fashion. 32/35

 

Adviser (Independent):

Lonsdale Services

3 Curo Park, Frogmore, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL2 2DD

Speed of response:

Time of call: 3.33pm. Answered after three rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

Attentive and friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:

Mortgage adviser. 5/5

Payment method:

Commission from the lender. 5/5

Guidance given:

The shopper’s mother's ability to remortgage her property is largely based on her salary and age, the adviser said. On the latter, she added that most providers lend up to the age of 70, but some lenders enforces a slightly more generous limit of 75. The adviser said that while equity release is an option, it is unlikely to be the ideal solution in this scenario. 3/5

Knowledge:

The adviser displayed good knowledge on the remortgage process and an awareness of equity release. 3/5

Email/web presence:

akadir@lonsdale.co.uk

www.lonsdaleservices.co.uk 5/5

Verdict:

The adviser offered some helpful information, and her notably friendly approach to the conversation helped to put the shopper at ease. 31/35

 

Adviser (Independent):

Wealthcare Independent Financial Planning

1A High Street, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, WD4 8AB

Speed of response:

Time of call: 3.47pm. Answered after three rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:

The adviser was somewhat distracted. 2/5

Relevant qualifications:

Certified Financial Planner. 5/5

Payment method:

Something that would be explored in an initial meeting, the adviser said. 4/5

Guidance given:

The first port of call would be to arrange an initial consultation with the shopper’s mother for a better insight of her circumstances. He explained that her ability to secure a remortgage product is largely dependent on her income and age. 3/5