Find an online
Looking for an online independent financial advisor who can give you remote advice? Many more IFAs are now offering their services over the internet and by phone. Here’s what your online financial planner can do for you, and how to find one.Find an Online IFA
Why you might need remote financial advice
The COVID-19 lockdown has required people to restrict their movements and interactions as much as practicable. This has led to a rise in the numbers of financial adviser and mortgage brokers offering remote services online. However, even post-lockdown there are many reasons why you might need or prefer to take advice online as an alternative to (or in addition to) meeting an adviser face-to-face.
What kind of financial advice can I get online?
Remote IFAs typically provide exactly the same services online as they do face-to-face. These include advice on:
· Accessing your pension
· Pension consolidation
· Pension planning
· Pension transfers
· Investments & savings
· Wealth management
· Life insurance, critical illness and income protection
· Paying for elderly care
Not all advisers offer all services, but you can specify which ones you need when finding your adviser on Unbiased.
Online advice might be suitable if you:
· Do not have many financial advisers locally
· Want to use a particular adviser based some distance away
· Have a busy lifestyle
· Travel a lot
· Have mobility or health issues
· Need frequent occasional advice that may not require a full meeting
· Simply prefer it
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the advantages of online remote advice?
Advantages of remote advice include:
Less time travelling The average travel time between financial adviser and client is up to an hour. Taking advice remotely allows for more discussion time, and potentially enables some advisers to reduce their fees.
Remote advisers can fit more clients into their working day. Clients too can see advisers in a free hour. This increases the chances of a chosen adviser being available.
Previously, you may have been restricted to the selection of advisers within easy travelling distance of you. With remote advice, you could potentially consult an adviser anywhere in the country.
More suited to modern lifestyles
In a survey by one IFA firm, 73% of their clients said they would be happy to take financial advice remotely, while a third of these said they would like a mix of remote advice and face-to-face. Many people feel comfortable seeing an adviser in person once, and then taking advice remotely.
Higher family engagement
Seeing an adviser online makes it easier for couples to consult their adviser together, as there no need to find an appointment slot when both are free. Partners can even see their adviser together when they themselves are not in the same place.
Are there disadvantages to remote advice?
Although taking advice face-to-face is not essential, most advisers and their clients agree that a personal approach is best. If you find an IFA to give you advice online, make sure you will be dealing with the same individual on a regular basis, so that they get to know your circumstances in detail. If you can arrange it, it is also good to meet your financial adviser in person at least once. This will enable you to get to know them better, and give them a chance to get a better feel for your priorities and life goals.
What is robo-advice?
Sometimes online financial advice is referred to as ‘robo-advice’, but this isn’t an accurate description as you will be dealing with a human being. In reality, robo-advice refers to any online tools or apps that may be used to replace some aspects of a financial advisers services. Examples might include the Unbiased Pension Calculator or Mortgage Calculator, or our Mortgage Checklist. Some online investment platforms also offer forms of ‘robo-advice’. However, to date there is no technology in existence that can provide actual advice in the way that an IFA can. All these tools should really be called ‘robo-guidance’ as they cannot make recommendations and are for information only.
How much does remote financial advice cost?
The cost of remote financial advice provided online is broadly similar to advice given face-to-face. However, some individual advisers may lower their fees or offer small discounts at their own discretion for advice offered remotely.
Use our Cost of Advice tool to get rough estimates of average IFA fees. Find out here about mortgage broker fees.
How can I choose a good online financial adviser?
Your first consultation with an IFA online will be free, so use this opportunity to check their credentials and see if you would be happy using their services. Here is a checklist of things to cover in your first meeting:
· Are they a specialist in the advice I need (e.g. pensions)?
· What are their qualifications? You can ask to see these
· Do they have any case studies of similar clients that you can see?
· What are their fees for the type of advice you need?
· Ask them to explain what you will receive for their fees, and why this is value for money
· Do you connect with them on a personal level? Do they ask you the right questions? Having a rapport is important, especially when advice is received online.
How to find an online IFA or mortgage broker
You can find an independent financial adviser or mortgage broker using the Unbiased search. The tool will ask you to enter a postcode so it can search in a particular area. You can enter your own postcode (a good idea if you plan on meeting your adviser at some point) or choose a different one. When the tool asks you for more information about your enquiry, specify that you’d like to receive online advice remotely.