Independent versus restricted advice status
One of the first parts of our discussion will be to agree the status under which we will advise you. As part of the above mentioned RDR legislation, from 1st January 2013 our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, passed legislation to give advisers two different status groupings when offering investment and pensions advice, called ‘Independent’ and ‘Restricted’. We have chosen to offer advice under both of these headings, as we feel that there will be occasions where your needs will be covered under either or both of these processes. Other financial services advice in areas such as mortgages and insurance will remain broadly the same as they have been up until the present day, entailing advice across the whole of the lending and insurer markets.
Independent advice has been a term used for years in Financial Services, and one that many of you will be used to and have based your decisions on in the past. However, the meaning has changed recently in the advent of the RDR, in that under this status, we will give advice from across the WHOLE product universe of the retail investment market. Of course, many of these products will be eliminated from our search if they are deemed too risky for your particular risk tolerances, or if they tie your funds up for longer periods than you are prepared to accept. For our part, this extensive search will involve the most work in maintaining knowledge of all suitable products, explanation and reporting on the rationale in eliminating or including various products, concluding with providing a final suitability report documenting our advice in full. As you will see from our services and costs document, our Company’s Independent advice offering stretches far beyond this. It also entails offerings in other advice areas such as alternative investments, giving diversity aimed at reducing risks across all your money sources. As a consequence, the advice cost will be higher for independent advice than it will be for the restricted alternative.
Restricted advice is a new process introduced from the Retail Distribution Review. The title itself may appear misleading, and should not be interpreted as a choice of lesser quality advice. With Restricted, the idea is to simplify the process and concentrate on a predetermined, limited set of parameters or product offerings from which we will advise. For example, it may typically involve advice from a limited panel of 4-6 providers who are representative of the best terms and conditions available across the whole of the market at any given time. It may also limit the advice to just one provider offering a platform of funds across 40-50 investment Companies, with access to thousands of underlying funds.
Crucially, with the restricted offering we can still access the whole of the market for any products available that suit your circumstances and needs.
Of course our advice may involve keeping some of your existing products intact, or not involve a product sale at all.