I'd be very happy to help if you want a quick chat, I'm an independent financial advisor with 12 years experience. This is me here: https://staddenforbes.com/team/paul-stewart/
I live locally and my office is 100m from Victoria Station if you prefer a more formal environment.
Otherwise a good place to look for a financial advisor on www.unbiased.co.uk
and I think Killik's look relatively interesting too - I signed up for their mailing list and they have some quite interesting talks I have not got round to attending yet.
In picking a financial advisor to discuss your savings and investments I think I would consider the following:
- Do they have their own investment solution? There are a surprising number of financial advisors out there using off the peg solutions you could have bought yourself for a fraction of the cost. An advisor that has an outsourced investment solution or using a "discretionary fund manager" is not an issue.
- Are they trying to sell you a product? While it's likely that if you are looking for savings and investment advice some kind of product sale will be appropriate look out for financial advisors who just want you to complete a risk profile and then recommend an investment that matches it. Presumably you want to save and invest for a purpose - find a financial advisor who understands that and who sees savings and investment products as simply one of the tools available to helping you achieve your goals.
- How much do they cost? Ultimately the return on your money is the investment performance minus the fees you paid to get that investment performance. Charges vary considerably between financial advisors - the only rule stipulated by the FCA is that advisors must offer a service for their annual fee. An expensive annual fee which pays for lots of services you value is a better deal than a cheap fee with no service at all. Therefore don't race to choose the cheapest advisor but always make sure that the services you are effectively paying for are valuable to you.
- Stay away from SJP - ok this last point may seem unfair or even self interested. It's statistically improbably for all SJP advisors to be substandard but there are some very real problems with the culture of that organisation (and I say this as someone who once worked there).
- They still have a sales culture rather than an advice culture
- They build in significant barriers to exit so that if you decide you don't like working with them it's very hard to move your money.
- Their much lauded (by them) investment committee is more noticeable for it's bizarre decisions than it's good ones
- They are expensive