Spot the difference: Financial Planner or Financial Adviser?

Did you know that Financial Planners are not the same as Financial Advisers? If you’re looking for professional help to get your finances in order, it’s a good idea to be clear about what you want from it.

Here’s the thing: Financial Planners perform a different role to Financial Advisers, but if you’re not aware of that, you might assume that an Adviser is giving you a financial plan.

However, while Advisers focus on finding a specific solution to help you reach a goal, Planners use an integrated approach, taking your goals, needs and objectives, as well as your current situation, into account to produce a plan that’s regularly reviewed. They are likely to offer independent advice on products too, but their primary focus will be on helping you create strategies to help you achieve your goals in life.

Depending on how thoroughly it’s approached, the financial plan can be a hefty document! It sits at the core of this process and will ideally include:

  • Your goals & timescales
  • Estimated costs of those goals
  • A detailed cash flow analysis
  • Recommended courses of action

It’s something you can refer to and use as a basis for your financial decisions, and should ideally be reviewed regularly to make sure it is still relevant and is helping you keep on track to achieving what you want from life.

How much do Financial Planners charge?

Like Financial Advisers, Planners charge in different ways, which include:

  • Hourly fee
  • Fixed fee
  • A review fee
  • A percentage based on the value of any portfolio you have
  • Some may charge a separate fee for the plan document itself

However they charge, they should make you aware of the costs before any work is undertaken.

Finding a Financial Planner

Any Financial Planner or Adviser should be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can check whether they are authorised and registered here. There is a range of different qualifications for Planners – the Institute of Financial Planning has a guide to them here.

Find out more

The Institute of Financial Planning website tells you more about what Financial Planners do, including a look at how they are different to financial advisers.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about Financial Planners and Advisers. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a Financial Planner or Adviser for this. You may have to pay a fee for their service.

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