Fee only IFAs
How to find an IFA who accepts up-front fees rather than commission
by Merryn Somerset Webb
Most people pay for financial advice by commission. We don't think they should. We think they should pay fair, upfront transparent fees instead. So our directory only lists IFAs that we think are fee-only.
I say 'we think' because we can't be absolutely sure. We have done our best to vet the ones on the list but to a degree we have to rely on what they tell us about their charging structures. If you find that any of them do ask for commission and are therefore not eligible for inclusion in our list please let us know.
Our aim is not to list IFAs that charge commission or that offer a choice of fees or commission or that create commission offsetting arrangements. Some of the IFAs listed here offer separate wealth management services for which they will charge you an annual fee based on the value of the assets they are managing for you. In an ideal world it would be nice if this kind of service could also be fee based but as it never is we have allowed this firms on to the list - if we did not there wouldn't be any firms listed on it at all!
A lot of IFAs find our focus on fees very irritating. It's not how people pay for advice that counts, they say, it is how good the advice is when they get it. The problem with this is that how you pay for advice tends to have an impact on how good it is when it comes.
The articles listed below go into detail on the subject but the fact is that when people in any industry are paid by commission they will favour selling (perhaps consciously, perhaps unconsciously - we don't know) the products that pay them the highest commissions. Most IFAs will tell you this isn't true but if that were the case why would product providers compete to offer the highest commissions? And why would articles in trade magazines aimed at IFAs outline the commission arrangements for products before they even explain what the products are?
The truth is that the commission system is inherently corrupting and that, if IFAs want to be seen as the respected professionals some of the them deserve to be seen as, it has to go. And the only way for that to really happen is for the industry itself to reject it.
If you would like to find a fee-only IFA where you live, please select the area of the UK where you are based:
London - SE England & Channel Islands - SW England & Wales - Midlands - Northern England - Scotland
If you're a fee only IFA and would like to be added to our directory, email email@example.com