how do I find a good IFA

A good Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) will help you to take control of your finances, provide advice on how to grow your investments, and will assist you in retirement planning. Like most business relationships, it’s essential to find the right IFA for you.

What makes a good IFA?

  • They will be experienced and well qualified
  • They will listen to you and answer your questions in a way that you can understand
  • They will be clear and transparent about their fee structure
  • On a personal level, you need to feel comfortable with them, so you are happy to talk openly about your finances and lifestyle

What do the IFA qualifications mean?

Do you know your DipFA from your FPFS? An individual will need to have qualified as an Independent Financial Adviser before they are allowed to practice, and the different qualifications can be confusing for those not in the know!

The benchmark qualification in the industry is regarded as the Level 4 Diploma of Financial Planning (known as the DipFA). Then your IFA can take additional qualifications such as the ones offered by the Personal Finance Society (e.g. become a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society or FPFS) to prove and grow their experience in the industry.

Another achievement that IFA’s can reach is to become a Chartered Financial Planner. This means that they have at least five years experience, hold the Advanced Diploma (link) or Fellowship of the PFS. Becoming Chartered is a commitment to excellence and means that a Financial Adviser is at the forefront of the industry.

I can also see that some IFA firms are Chartered, what does that mean?

Chartered status is an exclusive title only awarded to firms, around 4% of all UK IFA firms, which meet rigorous criteria relating to professionalism and capability! In order to achieve Chartered status as of January 2020, 50% of a firm’s IFA’s need to hold Chartered Financial Planner status.

There are many ways to find a good IFA:

Word of Mouth

Your friends or family might have already found the perfect IFA for you because they are already their IFA! Asking friends, family, and colleagues who they have received financial advice from and how they rated them, will give you some insights into who to trust and who to avoid.

The Financial Conduct Authority and the Personal Finance Society websites

Both these websites are a great resource for those looking to find an IFA in their area, as they have searchable lists of qualified local advisers or advisory firms. The Personal Finance Society website is also useful for those looking to check the credentials of individual advisers, so you can rest assured you are dealing with someone with the relevant experience and qualifications.


True Bearing Chartered Financial Planners cover the whole of the North West area. Our advisers have clients stretching from Carlisle to Congleton, Blackpool to Bradford and from the Wirral right over to Whitby.

As we have been awarded Chartered status, this means that we are in the top 4% of firms nationwide. We are award-winning and holders of the Investors in People Gold Award. Our 22 advisers have over 500 years of collective IFA experience! Our clients trust us as we have £569 million invested on their behalf.

Your first initial meeting is at our expense so to arrange an appointment with no obligation Contact Us or call 01257 260011