What to Look for in an IFA

What to Look for in an IFA

What is an IFA

When making important financial decisions, it is vital when choosing an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) to look for various characteristics that in the long run, could save you money and could offer you the best service. The key factors to look for are:

  • Experience;
  • Qualifications;
  • Independent Vs Restricted and;
  • Charges.

Independent Financial Adviser Experience

Experience of an Independent Financial Adviser IFA is extremely important as it demonstrates a greater understanding of the industry and the way in which it works. Experience also generally generates confidence as it shows that they have remained in the industry for a significant period of time.


Having the relevant qualifications not only gives the title, but it provides the client with the security that you’ve got the intellect and ability to provide them with the appropriate service. It is a requirement by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that in order for an IFA to trade, they must be Level 4 qualified; this means the minimum qualification you must obtain to advise, is a Diploma in Financial Planning.

Advisers must also subscribe to a code of ethics and keep up to date with the financial markets through continuing professional development. Therefore, when considering a financial adviser, viewing their qualifications is fundamental.

Independent Vs Restricted

So what is an IFA? There are two different types of Financial Advisers; there’s an independent and a restricted Adviser. These different types can affect the advice you receive which therefore interrupts with your objectives.  An Independent Financial Adviser is able to consider and recommend you all types of retail investment products that could meet your individual needs. For example, the best companies for one client may be different to the best companies for another client. As a result, an Independent Adviser can complement the appropriate retail investment products, companies and funds within the market in order to provide the most successful route for the client to achieve their intention.

On the other hand, Restricted Advisers do not consider all types of retail investment products that may be deemed appropriate for consumers.  Therefore, they can only recommend particular investment products and can only focus on a particular market. For that reason, Restricted Advisers have to match their client’s objective with the investments product/providers they have available.

Consequently, Independent Advisers are said to provide a more fair analysis of the relevant market in regards to the advice being unbiased and unrestricted. However, due to the vast quantity of investment products available, it can be time consuming to Independent Advisers.

IFA Charges

Independent Financial Advisers must be upfront in regards to their costs and must agree in advance to the client what the fee will be. The fees financial advisers charge can vary depending on numerous factors including qualifications, the advice and work required and location.

We hope this post has gone some way to explain what an IFA is and how Independent Financial Advisers differ from many other advisers, if you have any other questions about the matter, please do not hesitate to get in touch.