IF YOU’RE looking to invest, buy a financial product or plan for the longer term, whether you need financial advice will depend on several factors such as what product you are looking for, how complicated your finances and personal circumstances are and your short and long-term goals.

What services do financial advisers offer?

Professional financial advisers carry out a ‘fact find’ where they ask you detailed questions about your circumstances, your goals and how and how much risk you are able and prepared to take with your investment. Then may they recommend financial products that are suitable and affordable for you.

Types of financial adviser

Financial advisers offer services ranging from general financial planning and investment advice, to more specialist advice, such as the suitability of a product such as a pension.

In the case of investment products, some advisers are ‘independent’ – meaning they offer advice on the full range of investment products from the market or a specific market segment (e.g. pensions), while others offer a ‘restricted’ service meaning that the range of products or providers they will look at is limited. It’s worth checking this out when you’re looking for an adviser. Do you want an adviser who can access the whole of the market – or are you happy that they just offer the ‘products’ of the company they represent?

What are the benefits of getting advice?

If you buy an investment product based on financial advice and a recommendation, you should get a product that meets your needs and is suitable for your circumstances. Depending on the type of adviser you use, you might also have access to a wider range of choices than you’d be able to assess realistically on your own. You also have more protection if things go wrong if you buy based on advice.