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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Finding the Right Financial Advisor in London and the Home Counties

by Kathryn Dawson

 With all the worrying news about the economy over the last few years, it's understandable that people are concerned about the value of their investments and their ability to fund their future, especially their retirement. If this is you, perhaps you've thought about turning to financial advisors in London and the Home Counties to find answers to your questions?

There are numerous issues to be considered. How to invest my money to minimise risk and make a good return, how to make sure I'm adequately prepared for my old age, how can I make sure my children are well-provided for, am I adequately insured?

Investing your money in a way that's both safe and offers an adequate return is vital for your continuing prosperity. However with interest rates at rock bottom, finding safe places to invest is now difficult. Likewise, insurance policies that properly cover us in all eventualities can be hard to identify. And worrying about having enough to enable us to retire comfortably is a concern for everyone. And this is where financial planning professionals, who are highly trained, can offer you effective financial advice.

One area in which a financial planner can offer vital advice is that of inheritance tax planning. Inheritance tax is paid on the assets of a UK domiciled individual who has passed away. Assets include everything from property to cars and cash. These assets can be anywhere in the world and the fact that the individual is not living in the UK doesn't mean he's not liable for UK tax.

There are ways to minimise the impact of inheritance tax, including insurance, wills or trusts and making a transfer to individuals, groups or organisations. However this should only be done through careful inheritance tax planning with the assistance of someone thoroughly familiar with the tax system and in conjunction with a lawyer. Essentially, estate planning needs to be done on a case by case basis as everyone's situation is different.

The need for a tailor-made approach to your finances means you need to find a financial planner who will first analyse your situation and your future goals to produce a custom made solution to handle your financial needs. Only such as detailed analysis can produce the optimum investment advice, retirement and tax planning, and personal insurance advice that are the cornerstones of a sound financial planning system.

Ideally you want someone who will sit down with you and help clarify the big picture regarding your finances. This will include investments, pensions and life insurance with special consideration of your income and tax position. You can then discuss your objectives and attitude to risk which will allow your personal financial advisor to make recommendations about structuring your financial affairs in the most effective manner.

When it comes to looking for a financial advisor, London and the Home Counties has its fair share and the internet has made it easy to find and qualify them. Look at their web sites for qualifications and experience before making a choice. The first thing to check is that the firm is FSA authorised. Companies offering advice on financial products must be authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). FSA authorisation guarantees a certain standard and adherence to certain rules regarding the type of service they offer and how they charge for it. The FSA's website contains a list of all authorised companies or you can call their consumer hotline to check out a particular entity.

Another sign that a firm is reputable is that it employs advisors with chartered financial planner status awarded by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Introduced in 2006, the title Chartered Financial Planner is awarded after the completion of a suite of qualifications designed to signal to the public that financial advisers and financial planners are 'fit for purpose'. To qualify, applicants must hold the advanced diploma in financial planning, have five years' relevant industry experience, adhere to the CII's code of ethics and conduct, and demonstrate three years' existing continuing professional development (CPD) and commit to maintaining this activity.

Kathryn Dawson writes articles for Tower Hill Associates, one of UK’s top financial advisor London and a team of highly regarded chartered financial planner providing an extensive range of financial services and independent advice tailored for customers. Employing a series of philosophies and listening to customers needs, the firm prides itself in giving bespoke financial services from investment planning, retirement planning to inheritance tax planning.

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