Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

IFAs urged to reveal fees online

The fees charged by independent financial advisers vary greatly across the country, according to Which?

Independent financial advisers (IFAs) should be forced to publish a guide to their rates on their website, Which? has said, after finding that fees for doing the same job can vary by thousands of pounds.

The consumer champion called for advisers to be more transparent in their pricing and give details up front, as there is currently no approved "typical" charge list.

Which? asked 200 IFAs to give quotes for different services and uncovered large regional variations.

The average fee quoted to transfer a £10,680 investment into a stocks and shares Isa was £356 - but one adviser in the South East quoted £2,500 while others asked for £106, Which? said.

An IFA in the North West quoted nearly £2,000 more to arrange a protection policy for a 30-year-old woman than an adviser in Scotland quoted to do the same job. The average fee Which? was quoted by IFAs in this case was £596.

Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith said: "Financial advisers should be much more transparent in their pricing, providing details of all their charges up front.

"At present it's very difficult for customers to know how much they're going to be charged, and what is reasonable.

"IFAs should clearly display their fees online and if they don't the regulator should step in to make this happen."

Which? said new regulations to be introduced at the end of this year should make paying for financial advice fairer and clearer.

Advisers will be banned from receiving commission for new investment advice, meaning they should be more likely to recommend the best course of action for the consumer rather than the one which pays the adviser the most commission.

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