If you’re choosing a financial adviser – listen to Alan.

The Times is provoking comment and this article has provoked 172 comments , of which one is stand-out.

A good adviser is

1 focused on your goals, making sure those goals are clear, attainable and easy to measure

2 honest about the risks you’ll need to face achieving these goals and whether you can afford to take them and how to mitigate them

3 totally competent in the rules and tax treatment of the products you are going to use to invest your money

4 doesn’t claim to be able to find the best investment or produce a return above X%

5 ensures all the boring admin, record keeping and processing is done accurately and timely

6 can explain how much their charges are and those of the companies they recommend are in simple £ terms and why they are good value for money

7 doesn’t resort to bribes and gimmicks to attract customers

8 is readily available to talk about issues when they arise and puts their mistakes right without quibbling.

9 has a good back up team who can handle stuff in their absence

10 can explain how they meet all these requirements in plain simple English so that you understand what’s going on

The author is Alan Higham, who – until 2018 was  employed looking after the train crash that is USS.  He could be Britain’s number most versatile financial expert. Alan has variously run consultancies and brokerages, been Martin Lewis’ “go to” annuity broker and is both financial adviser and actuary. He has advised Government on pensions and for some time ran a free help-line for people with complex financial problems.

You won’t find Alan on linked in but he is still posting on twitter @alanhigham100 . He and his charming family are often to be found at Surrey and Lancashire county cricket grounds. We are fortunate to have his comments and much as I admire Gabby Logan, Helena Morrissey, Peter Hargreaves and Gina Miller, Alan’s comments  (which are not behind the Times paywall) are definitive.

I have only one further point to add. Much of the comment has been around the car that an adviser drives. If you are keen on advice that is underpinned by a commitment to the sustainability of the planet, consider using an adviser who doesn’t drive a car.

Alan Higham



About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to If you’re choosing a financial adviser – listen to Alan.

  1. John Mather says:

    So the adviser has to be an economic failure, really what rubbish.
    I am shocked that you would regurgitate this twaddle

  2. Richard Chilton says:

    I am not surprised by the first suggested point “1 focused on your goals, making sure those goals are clear, attainable and easy to measure”. It must be difficult for a financial adviser to do a good personalised job without this.

    However, this doesn’t seem to be a realistic ask of customers. Many if not most customers simply don’ t have clear goals. Some they do have may not be realistic and all of them will change as life and circumstances change. Wouldn’t it be better to explore a range of viable scenarios with customers rather than force them to make choices that make the financial adviser’s job easier?

  3. John Mather says:

    I am told that only 6% pay for advice and that they benefit compared to the average. Many markets are a zero sum game and those with knowledge will benefit at the expense of the ignorant. The message here is gain the knowledge or pay for it. The advantage often comes from the structure used to accumulate wealth required to maintain you beyond income producing years. But if you are happy with the State Pension and fully contribute then 27% of National Average Wage is your fall back position

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