Where To Find Trustworthy Financial Advice In The UK
When you need help with your money, it’s not always clear where to turn — especially if you’re new to the UK. Some services use loopholes and tricky language that make it difficult to know if they really have your best financial interests at heart.
Finding honest, trustworthy financial advice is important for all kinds of financial decisions. In this guide, you’ll learn:
- When you might need financial advice, and where to find it
- How financial advisors can help you
- How to find a qualified, trustworthy financial advisor
- Where you can go if you have a problem with your finances.
When do you need financial advice?
Most people seek financial advice when:
- You want to buy a house
- You want to create an investment portfolio
- You want to have the funds to retire early
- You’re not sure how to make the most of your money.
Financial advisors can also help if you’re having money problems. They can help you create a debt management plan, so you can pay off credit cards and loans to improve your UK credit score.
Where to find honest financial advice
Lots of websites and advisors offer help and guidance for looking after your money — but where should you go for trustworthy financial advice?
- Money Helper — this UK government-backed website offers free, impartial financial guidance
- Money Saving Expert — UK finance guru Martin Lewis’s website is full of financial tips — but be cautious when using forums, as they contain suggestions from unverified anonymous users
- Bloom Learning Hub — our guidance is aimed at growing communities within the UK, so it’s a great place to start if you’ve recently moved here and need general information about managing your money in a new country
- Citizens Advice — for one-to-one guidance, Citizens Advice is a good place to start — many bureaus provide free services in multiple languages, so it’s ideal if you’re not a confident English speaker
- Credit unions — if you're eligible to join a credit union, you can ask them for advice about managing your money
- Financial advisors — for big financial decisions (such as getting a mortgage or starting an investment portfolio) a financial advisor is the best place to find trustworthy financial advice.
Where not to find honest financial advice
Honest, independent financial advice doesn’t come free — so it can be tempting to take advice from internet forums like Reddit. But most users aren’t qualified to offer advice or guidance, so this isn’t the best place to get investment tips.
If you’re planning to invest or spend a lot of money, it’s best to seek advice from qualified financial advisors instead.
Should I take financial advice from family and friends?
Your family is often the first port of call when it comes to deciding what to do with your money. While most people aren’t qualified to give formal advice, your family and friends often have your best interests at heart — so if you trust them, you should definitely consider their suggestions.
That said, if you’re creating formal monetary arrangements (like setting up a UK trust fund) it’s best to get these formalised by an independent party. For example, a solicitor should draw up your trust agreement to make sure it meets your requirements from a legal standpoint.
Using an FCA-approved ROSCA app to manage your family and friends savings club keeps your money safe, while making it easy and convenient to save money with your community. Find out more about how Bloom’s savings club app works.
Are financial advisors trustworthy?
Most qualified, experienced financial advisors in the UK are trustworthy. But before you choose a financial advisor to work with, check that they:
- Are qualified to at least Level 4 of the UK’s Qualifications and Credit Framework
- Have a Statement of Professional Standing — this means they’re committed to ethical practices and continuous training so they can provide the best possible advice
- Are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
In some countries, financial advisors are bound by fiduciary standards. That means they’re legally obligated to put your interests ahead of their own.
The UK financial advice system doesn’t have legal fiduciary standards — but many financial advisors choose to work this way anyway. These are known as independent financial advisors (IFAs). Instead of being paid by other companies to recommend their products, IFA clients pay for the best possible financial advice — incentivising the IFA to put the client’s interests first.
What’s the difference between a restricted vs independent financial advisor?
Not all financial advisors are independent. Some are restricted financial advisors. That means they’ll only recommend specific products and services, rather than considering what’s available across the whole market.
This is usually because they work with a certain company, who pays them to promote their products and services. For example, if you meet with a mortgage advisor at a high street bank, they will usually only recommend mortgage products offered by that bank.
An independent financial advisor is impartial and unbiased. They take a range of different products into account and recommend the best one(s) for you, based on your unique circumstances.
Both types of financial advisor should meet all the criteria above. But it’s important to know whether you’re dealing with an independent or restricted financial advisor. You can usually find out this information on their website. But if you’re unsure, just ask.
How much does financial advice cost?
General financial advice is often available for free. Find it using trusted online sources, or by speaking to Citizens Advice.
However, you’ll have to pay for tailored advice from a financial advisor. Rates vary, and different advisors charge in different ways. Fees are usually charged in one of four ways:
- Hourly rate
- A pre-agreed fee for the work
- Monthly retainer
- A percentage of your investment portfolio earnings.
Where can I find an independent financial advisor?
There are many independent financial advisors located all over the UK. Unbiased is a good place to start — they list more than 27,000 IFAs for specific types of financial advice.
Where can I go if I have a problem with my finances?
Financial advisors help with financial planning, such as buying a house, saving for retirement, and intergenerational wealth planning.
But if you have a problem with your finances, there may be better solutions. Here are some trusted ways to deal with financial problems like debt, fraud, and bankruptcy.
- Speak to your bank — if you notice unusual activity in your bank account, or you’ve lost your bank card, speak to your bank in the first instance. They can freeze your account until they’ve figured out the problem.
- Financial ombudsman — the ombudsman is a free, impartial service that settles disputes between you and a financial provider, such as a bank, insurance company, car finance provider, or payday loan provider.
- Financial Services Compensation Scheme — if your bank or financial institution goes into administration and they’re covered by the FCSC, you can claim back your money up to a value of £85,000.
Tips for finding trustworthy financial advice in the UK
If you’re new to the UK and you need a little help with managing your money, here are Bloom’s top tips for seeking honest financial advice:
- Only take guidance from trusted online sources — don’t use suggestions from anonymous forum users
- Where possible, take advice from independent financial advisors who look at products and services across the market
- Bear in mind that banks and other financial institutions will usually only recommend their own products and services, even if they’re not the best option for you
- Only use regulated products and services where your money is protected by the FSCS
Financial safety and security is one of Bloom’s top priorities. Learn more about finding a safe place to keep your money in the UK.