Mystery Shopper  

Mystery shopper: Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

Mystery shopper: Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

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.

This week, the mystery shopper visits Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. The shopper has left her employer after six years to become self-employed. She would like advice on whether she can stick with her occupational pension or whether she has to set up a personal pension.


Adviser: Hyperion Financial Planning (independent)

Address: Basepoint D22, 110 Butterfield, Luton, Bedfordshire LU2 8DL

Speed of response: 10.25am. Transferred to adviser by receptionist after two rings. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Qualified financial adviser.4/5

Payment method: Fee of £850. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser said that the options available to her would depend on the type of work pension she had set up. He also explained that if she were to set up a private pension she would need to consider whether the companies she invests in are aligned with her ethics. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser sounded fairly knowledgeable, but could only spend about a minute on the phone with the shopper as he had another appointment. 4/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: Shopper's Choice: The adviser behaved in a professional manner despite not being able to speak on the phone for long.



Adviser: Caliber Financial Management (independent)

Address: 18 Harmill, Grovebury Road, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire LU7 4FF

Speed of response: 10.35am. Call transferred to adviser after one ring. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Level 4 in diploma in financial advice (CII). 5/5

Payment method: If the shopper decided to go ahead with a brand new pension from scratch the fee would be £500. 5/5

Guidance: Adviser said he wanted to meet with the shopper to look at her current arrangement and gather the facts before he could give his recommendation. 3/5

Knowledge: The adviser sounded quite confident about the matter, although he did not speak in as much detail as the shopper would have liked. 4/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: The adviser behaved in a fairly professional manner, but the shopper would have liked a bit more detail.



Adviser: AMR Financial Management (independent)

Address: Chiltern House, 433 Luton Rd, Harpenden AL5 3QE

Speed of response: 11.10am. Call transferred to adviser after one ring. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Qualified financial adviser and pension transfer specialist. 4/5

Payment method: Adviser said the fee could be an hourly rate depending on what was discussed. 3/5

Guidance: He also said that as she had left full-time employment it was unlikely she could carry on paying into the scheme. Adviser told the shopper that putting money into a personal pension in the early stages of becoming self-employed was not necessarily the best thing as she has only just started earning. He suggested she wait a full tax year before looking to set up her pension. 5/5

Knowledge: Adviser sounded like he had a lot of knowledge about options available to the shopper when it comes to setting up a pension. 5/5