Read time: 4 mins Investing 101

Sharks and scams: Staying safe in the murky world of financial advice

  • Dodgy financial advisers have damaged the public’s trust
  • But investors can benefit from professional advice
  • evestor is driving change in the industry – here’s how

Read the news recently and you might think that some financial advisers want nothing more than to separate you from your cash, with barely a thought for the mess they might leave behind.

These scammers who set out to fleece vulnerable, elderly people out of their savings – money that they have worked hard all their life for – make me incredibly angry.

In just the last year, we’ve heard how advisers ‘ripped off’ steelworkers to pocket huge fees, while the moneysavingexpert founder Martin Lewis took Facebook to court to try and stop fraudsters using his name to sell dodgy financial products.

Even the Pope has come out to condemn the finance industry!

It’s understandable that these stories have left many highly sceptical about whether they should approach anyone for financial advice.

That’s a real shame, because the evidence shows that getting the right advice has clear benefits, adding as much as £40,000 over the life of a long-term investment.

And the kind of careful and conscientious work that I see my evestor colleagues doing for their customers day in, day out is a world away from how these dodgy advisers operate.

So, what’s the solution?

We believe that there is certainly room for regulators to act - we absolutely back the proposed government ban on cold callers trying to sell pensions that is expected to come into force this month.

We’re also big supporters of the Financial Conduct Authority’s campaign for investors to be given greater transparency about the fees they pay.

But we also want to promote change by leading by example.

We want to be a positive force in the industry, rebuilding trust in quality financial advice while making it affordable and accessible to everyone.

To that end, we’ve made our customers a number of important promises, and we’d like to see our rivals follow suit too.

Photograph of a phone with unknown caller

Let’s look at some of the commitments we’ve made:

We only act in your best interests. We’re advisers, not sales people, and we don’t have targets.

We’re always honest. We’ll only advise you to do what’s best for you, even if that means not investing with us at all.

We never cold call. Even after you’ve contacted us for an investment recommendation, we’ll give you the time and space you need to make a decision.

We never charge any upfront fees. You only pay an annual fee if you invest.

We charge a fair price. Our annual fees are less than 0.53%, with absolutely no hidden extras.

We use plain English. It’s part of our mission to make financial advice accessible for everyone.

We hope that these pledges help to give you the confidence to approach evestor for high-quality financial advice, with no obligation.

But wherever you choose to go for financial advice, be wary of any cold callers and don’t be pressured into making any decisions before you feel you are ready.

Checking an adviser out on the FCA website can help you stay safe.

Being on the FCA register means they’re authorised to provide financial services in the UK.

But you should beware of fraudsters who claim to be authorised but aren’t, so take their details, check them on the FCA register and then ring them back on the official number that is listed to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate adviser.

If you deal with an adviser who is not regulated, you may not be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if anything goes wrong.

Ultimately, we want to earn your trust, because we believe that this is the fundamental basis of any relationship between a financial adviser and their client.