FT Adviser – Mystery Shopper

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The below has been taken from the FT Adviser website published on 18th April 2018 (https://www.ftadviser.com/your-industry/2018/04/18/mystery-shopper-hayes-west-london/):

Each week the mystery shopper seeks advice from independent advisers in the UK. The aim is to find out whether advisers are delivering the goods when it comes to the all-important initial telephone contact between client and adviser. It is only intended to evaluate this first interview, and it is understood that further meetings would be necessary before final decisions could be made. The purpose is not to expose poor selling practices, but to show constructively any weaknesses in the advice process.

This week, the mystery shopper visits Hayes in West London where she is seeking advice on inheritance tax and estate planning. The shopper is in her late 30s and will marry by the end of the year. Both she and her partner have their own properties. Hers is a four-bedroom house worth just over £500,000 and left to her by her mother, while her partner’s flat is valued at about £350,000. The shopper has a 10-year-old son from a previous relationship and would like to find out what protection she can leave in place for the child.

Adviser: Ward Williams Financial Services (independent)

Address: Bay lodge, 36 Harefield Road, Greater London, Uxbridge UB8 1PH

Speed of response: 10.55am. One ring and transferred to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: DipPFS 5/5

Payment method: The fee will depend on how complex the shopper's needs are. Wills start from about £600. A financial planning report ranges from £500 to £3,000. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser told the shopper she and her partner should draw up wills, which would then need to be updated after they got married. In her will she should consider leaving her assets to her son in a trust and also stipulate who will be his guardian if his father is not in the picture. Inheritance tax is not an issue at the moment because the couple’s combined tax threshold exceeds the value of their properties. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser came across as very knowledgeable. 4/5

Website: www.wardwilliamsfs.co.uk

Email: cliff@wardwilliams.co.uk 5/5

Verdict: The adviser was professional, helpful and knew his stuff.