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Getting financial advice - Citizens Advice complaint definition fca

Getting financial advice This advice applies to England Table of contents Getting financial advice Advice or guidance? Types of financial adviser Making sure your adviser is qualified and registered How to check you're getting the right advice What to think about before you see a financial adviser What the financial adviser should tell you How much will the advice cost How to find a financial adviser Complaints about financial advisers Further help and information Getting financial advice

There will probably be times in your life when you're not sure what to do with your money or what decisions you need to make about your financial future. There are thousands of different financial products on offer and choosing between them can be difficult.

If you have little experience of dealing with finances or you're confused about making a decision, it may be helpful to get professional financial advice.

A financial adviser can help with things like:

planning for your retirement investing or saving money making the most of a lump sum of money such as a redundancy payment or an inheritance buying a property or taking out a mortgage when your life changes for example, you're starting a family, getting divorced or you've been widowed. Advice or guidance?

Some individuals and organisations – often advice charities - offer financial guidance. This is different to financial advice. Guidance provides you with information about the various options available to you, but should not recommend any particular option over another. Financial advice, however, informs you which specific product would best suit your needs.

For example, if you have a lump sum you want to save, someone giving guidance would tell you what your saving options are in broad terms. They may tell you about the pros and cons of regular savings accounts, ISAs and investments. They won’t tell you about specific products offered by named companies or what option might suit you best. A financial adviser would look at specific savings accounts, investments and ISAs offered by various companies and recommend a specific one that best suits your personal circumstances.

Guidance services are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means if things go wrong with your financial choice, you may not be able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

If you are not sure whether you are receiving guidance or advice, ask the adviser or organisation to explain.

If you are looking for financial guidance, instead of advice, you could contact a free, impartial organisation that specialises in financial guidance, such as the Money Advice Service.

On this page you can find information about:

types of financial adviser what you need to think about before you see a financial adviser what kind of information the financial adviser should give you what it will cost and how to pay where to get further information about financial advice . Types of financial adviser

Financial advisers look at your personal circumstances and your financial plans and recommend products to help you meet your needs.

There are two types of financial advisers:

independent financial advisers (IFAs) give unbiased advice about the whole range of financial products from all the different companies available restricted advisers give advice on a limited range of products. They may specialise in one area, for example pensions, or they may only offer advice on products offered by a limited number of companies.

It's usually best to get independent financial advice so that you can look at the widest range of advice and products available.

Making sure your adviser is qualified and registered

All financial advisers must have the following:

Level 4 or above of the national Qualifications and Credit Framework a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS). This means they have signed up to a code of ethics and have complete at least 35 hours of professional training each year. SPS certificates must be renewed annually so check your adviser‘s is up-to-date.

All financial advisers should be registered with the FCA. This means they meet the right standards and you get more protection if you’re not happy with the service. For example, you can complain to the Financial Services Ombudsman and may be able to claim compensation if things go wrong.

If a financial adviser is not registered with the FCA, you can make a complaint to the FCA.

Don’t be afraid to ask an adviser about their qualifications and Statement of Professional Standing.

To check a financial adviser is registered with the FCA see .

There's a full list of the different qualifications a financial adviser can have as well as the professional bodies that represent them on the website. Go to: .

How to check you're getting the right advice

When you see an adviser they should give you the right kind of advice for your financial needs. If they don’t, you may be able to complain.

The financial products that an adviser recommends should:

be affordable for you take account of whether you want to save for the long or short term be suitable for the amount of risk you want to take take account of whether you pay tax.

If an adviser ignores these points and recommends a product that is not right for you, and you later lose money because of this, you can complain.

An adviser only has to give you the right kind of advice within the limits of what they are qualified to do. For example, if you see a restricted adviser , they will only recommend a suitable product for you from the range of products they sell. A restricted adviser doesn't have to tell you that you could buy a similar product from another company at a cheaper price. If you later find this out, you would not be able to complain.

For this reason, it might be better to go to an independent financial adviser who will be able to look at products from the whole of the market.

If a financial adviser can't find a product to suit your needs, they must refer you to another adviser who can help you. If they don’t do this, you may be able to complain .

Checklist of things to do at your first meeting with an adviser

Here's some tips about things to do at your first meeting with a financial adviser:

check that the adviser you are seeing is qualified to give you the advice you need take notes so that you have a clear record of what was said at the meeting ask lots of questions and make sure you understand everything you are told take time to think about any decisions or to compare products with another adviser. You don’t have to sign up for anything on the spot be prepared to answer questions honestly. A financial adviser will ask you lots of personal questions about your financial plans and personal circumstances so that they can recommend the most suitable products for you check that your personal information is kept confidential, and find out whether it is used for marketing purposes. What to think about before you see a financial adviser

Before you look for a financial adviser, try to work out what kind of advice you need. This will help you find the right adviser for your situation. Here's a checklist of some of the things to think about:

are you planning for a particular event? For example, your retirement or saving up to buy a house or your children’s college fees. You need to look at your life and work out what events you need to plan for financially do you have spare money to invest? Take a good look at your finances to see how much you can afford to save. Make sure you have cleared any outstanding debts, loans or bills first how much risk are you prepared to take with your money? When you invest money, there’s a chance you could lose money on your investment. Some investments are riskier than others but can make you more money if they do well. As a general rule, the longer you invest for, the more likely you are to make money, rather than lose it how long do you want to tie up your money for? The length of time you are willing to invest for affects the types of products an adviser will choose do you want advice on different kinds of investments? For example, ethical or environmentally friendly investments or financial products that invest according to Shariah principles? are you looking for advice or just information? You may want someone to advise you what to do with your money or ju IWC-Watches/Portugal-Series/Chronograph/IWC-Saint-Exupery/phpMyAdmin-2.7.5/scripts/IWC-Saint-Exupery/IWC-Saizsnufktr. moncler outletst information about a financial product so that you can make your own choice. Some financial advisers will provide both information and advice do you want one-off advice or advice on an on-going basis? Make sure you are clear about how much the advice will cost you and that you can afford it. What the financial adviser should tell you

When you first meet with a financial adviser, you should be given clear information on the services the adviser offers, including:

whether the advice is independent, or restricted . If the advice is restricted, the adviser should tell you how it is restricted. For example, whether they are only offering products from certain companies the level of advice you will receive. For example, you may just be looking for information to help you decide what to do, or you may need someone to suggest the best options for you how much you'll have to pay for the advice.

Your adviser should also give you a key facts document with information about:

the adviser or firm you are using and the services they offer the products they have recommended for you the right to change your mind about taking out a financial product and how long you have to do it your right to be given further information or an explanation if there is something you don’t understand how to make a complaint if you’re not happy with the service or product provided who the firm is authorised and regulated by the cost of the service and/or product.

If the adviser doesn't give you this information, make sure you ask them for it.

How much will the advice cost

You will have to pay for financial advice and you may also have to pay charges on the financial products you buy.

You need to be very clear about how much the advice is costing you and what the charges are on the products you are recommended. Make sure you understand all the costs involved and compare fees and investment charges between different advisers before you make a final decision. You may be able to get the same product at a cheaper price with another adviser.

Ways to pay

Advisers are no longer paid by commission. This means that the advice they give should not be influenced by any commission they may earn on a particular investment.

Advice can be charged as:

an hourly rate a set fee according to the work involved a monthly retainer a percentage of the money invested.

Your adviser should explain to you how much their advice will cost and together you will need to agree how to pay for this. You could pay them upfront or you may be able to agree that the adviser will take it from the sum that you invest.

Your adviser should set out the charges in a clear way and make sure you understand how much you are paying.

Fees may vary from adviser to adviser, so you should shop around to get the best deal.

There may be extra charges for looking after your investments or providing advice on a regular basis.

How to find a financial adviser

To get advice on the widest range of products and compare costs, you should look for an independent financial adviser. The following organisations can put you in touch with a qualified adviser in your area:

Unbiased at . You can find independent and restricted ‘whole of market’ advisers on their website. Restricted ‘whole of market’ means advisers who can offer available products from all companies, but who may specialise in a particular area, such as pensions.

Personal Finance Society at . You can find independent and restricted advisers on their website.

VouchedFor at . You can find independent advisers only on this website.

Ethical Investment Research Service .

You may already have financial links with a bank or building society and trust their products, so feel more comfortable about seeking their advice. This is called taking restricted advice.

If you decide to do this you need to be aware that there may be other financial products from other companies that are cheaper or better suited to your needs.

Complaints about financial advisers

You can’t complain to a financial adviser if your investment doesn’t make as much money as you’d hoped. But if you have lost money because of bad advice, wrong or misleading information or poor administration, you can complain to the adviser who originally gave you the advice.

You must follow the company's complaints procedure. If you’re not satisfied with the response, where you take the complaint next depends on who gave you the advice.

If the adviser you saw was authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), you should take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman. To find out if the Financial Ombudsman can deal with your complaint, you can call their consumer helpline on 0300 123 9 123 (8am to 6pm Monday to Friday). There’s also a special complaints form you can download and send to them by post. For more details, go to .

You can also find out from the consumer helpline whether the Financial Ombudsman can deal with a complaint about a company which is not authorised by the FCA.

If you received financial advice from a solicitor or accountant, who is authorised by the FCA to give financial advice, you may need to take your complaint to the professional body which regulates them.

If you’re not sure where to complain, you can contact the FCA consumer helpline on 0800 111 6768.

Further help and information The Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service is a free, independent service. Their website has lots of useful information to help you manage your money including borrowing money, savings and pensions and getting financial advice. Go to:

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Fast Answers Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

Nov. 8, 2013

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are investment companies that are legally classified as open-end companies or Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) , but that differ from traditional open-end companies and UITs in the following respects:

ETFs do not sell individual shares directly to investors and only issue their shares in large blocks (blocks of 50,000 shares, for example) that are known as "Creation Units."   Investors generally do not purchase Creation Units with cash. Instead, they buy Creation Units with a basket of securities that generally mirrors the ETF’s portfolio. Those who purchase Creation Units are frequently institutions.   After purchasing a Creation Unit, an investor often splits it up and sells the individual shares on a secondary market. This permits other investors to purchase individual shares (instead of Creation Units).   Investors who want to sell their ETF shares have two options: (1) they can sell individual shares to other investors on the secondary market, or (2) they can sell the Creation Units back to the ETF. In addition, ETFs generally redeem Creation Units by giving investors the securities that comprise the portfolio instead of cash. So, for example, an ETF invested in the stocks contained in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) would give a redeeming shareholder the actual securities that constitute the DJIA instead of cash. Because of the limited redeemability of ETF shares, ETFs are not considered to be—and may not call themselves—mutual funds.  

An ETF, like any other type of investment company, will have a prospectus. All investors that purchase Creation Units receive a prospectus. Some ETFs may furnish an investor with a summary prospectus containing key information about the ETF instead of a long-form prospectus. If an investor receives a summary prospectus, the ETF’s long-form prospectus will be available on an Internet Web site, and an investor can obtain a paper copy upon request and without charge. Some broker-dealers also deliver a prospectus to secondary market purchasers. ETFs that do not deliver a prospectus are required to give investors a document known as a Product Description, which summarizes key information about the ETF and explains how to obtain a prospectus. All ETFs will deliver a prospectus upon request. Before purchasing ETF shares, you should carefully read all of an ETF’s available information , including its prospectus.

The websites of the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ provide more information about different types of ETFs and how they work.  An ETF will have annual operating expenses and may also impose certain shareholders fees that are disclosed in the prospectus.

Most ETFs seek to achieve the same return as a particular market index . That type of ETF is similar to an index fund in that it will primarily invest in the securities of companies that are included in a selected market index. An ETF will invest in either all of the securities or a representative sample of the securities included in the index. For example, one type of ETF, known as Spiders or SPDRs , invests in all of the stocks contained in the S&P 500 Composite Stock Price Index . Other types of ETFs include leveraged or inverse ETFs, which are ETFs that seek to achieve a daily return that is a multiple or an inverse multiple of the daily return of a securities index. An important characteristic of these ETFs is that they seek to achieve their stated objectives on a daily basis, and their performance over longer periods of time can differ significantly from the multiple or inverse multiple of the index performance over those longer periods of time. ETFs also include actively managed ETFs that pursue active management strategies and publish their portfolio holdings on a daily basis.

Related Items:

SEC Investor Bulletin: Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs),

SEC-FINRA Investor Alert on Leveraged and Inverse ETFs,

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FCA finalises rules on complaints and call charges

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its long awaited Policy Statement on Improving Complaint Handling.

It sets out the FCA’s feedback following responses received to the consultation paper issued in December 2015 and the final changes to the complaints handling rules as a result.

The new rules include changes to how FCA regulated firms charge consumers for calls made to seek post-contractual assistance or to make a complaint to the firm.This means that they must limit the cost of calls consumers make to them for all post-contractual and complaints calls to a maximum ‘basic rate’ charge.

The FCA stated that “Consumers and firms should benefit from better complaint handling, as a result of new rules published (in July 2015) by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In addition, financial services firms will be unable to charge their customers premium rates when they make telephone calls to ask for assistance or to complain.”

Timeline for implementation of the changes

The FCA set out a timeline of implementation dates for the changes. Most of the changes need to be implemented by the end of June 2016, but the changes to call charges are required much sooner.

Deadline 26 October 2015

FCA regulated firms, including insurance providers and brokers, had until 26 October 2015 to ensure they comply with the changes limiting the cost of both complaint and post-contractual calls.

Given the technical changes that may be required, Callstream recommended prompt action to review the charging structure currently in place for numbers advertised for post-contractual and complaints calls by insurance providers and brokers.

What options does your business have?

Option 1: (£££)

Replace all 0844/5 numbers with 0800 numbers

In our experience, 0800 numbers do increase call volumes as customers appreciate the ability to contact their broker / insurer without charge. However, the cost implications from the lost revenue of the 0844 calls and new cost of the 0800 calls needs to be evaluated. 0800 numbers are now free to call from landlines and mobiles.

Option 2: (££)

For insurers and brokers where the cost of a complete shift from 0844/5 to 0800 isn’t affordable and they want to only advertise a single non-geographic number, they have the option of switching to an 034x number.

034x numbers are non-geographic standard rate numbers that charge consumers in the same way as 01 and 02 numbers and importantly, they also qualify as part of mobile phone users’ free minutes.

Option 3: (£)

Publish different numbers for sales calls and post sale calls.  Keep original 0844/5 number for sales calls and have a new 034x number alongside it for post sale & customer service calls. A recorded announcement can be played at the start of 0844/5 calls to inform existing customers that there is an option to dial a cheaper 034x number. This is the lowest cost approach to meet the directive’s standards, without sacrificing all of the revenue from 0844/5 numbers.

If you would like advice and assistance regarding these changes please contact our team on the number below.