We’ve been mystery shopped!
We received a new client enquiry, by telephone, last week. Nothing unusual about that.
Today we discover that the caller was in fact a mystery shopper, writing a weekly column for Financial Adviser, an FT Business publication.
We are delighted to have received the highest score this week, 31 points out of a maximum 35.
The caller spoke to three IFA firms in the Guildford area and also a bank, Lloyds TSB, to ask about buying a life assurance top-up. The shopper thinks she and her husband are underinsured because they have a £300,000 mortgage.
The other two IFA firms, HFS Milbourne Financial Services in Guildford and Surrey Financial Advice in Woking, were scored at 28/35 and 22/35 respectively. Lloyds TSB came crawling in with 10/35.
Here is what they had to say about Informed Choice:
Speed of response: Time of call: 3.30pm After two rings the phone was answered by a receptionist who put the shopper through to an adviser after a short wait because he was on the phone. 4/5
Telephone manner: Very pleasant and knowledgeable 4/5
Relevant qualifications: Chartered Financial Planner and Certified Financial Planner 5/5
Payment method: A first meeting would be on a no cost/no obligation basis, thereafter on a fees or commission offset basis. 5/5
Guidance given: The adviser explained the different between term and whole of life assurance. He explained how her husband should check the level of life cover he had through his employment. The shopper thought this was £200,000 and that they would need a £100,000 top up. The adviser recommended £100,000 term assurance and a family income benefit policy to provider her with an income in the event of her husband’s death to help with the children’s university expenses. 4/5
Knowledge: He explained in great detail how commission offset works and how if she paid a fee for his advice, the premiums would be lower, although some clients preferred not to pay a fee and let him take a commission. He also explained the level of study required to obtain his financial qualifications. He was the only adviser the shopper spoke to who mentioned family income benefit. 4/5
Email/web presence: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.informedchoice.ltd.uk 5/5
Verdict: The shopper was impressed with his knowledge and professionalism. He seemed to be very thorough and was very keen to meet with the shopper and her husband to ascertain more detail about their financial circumstances. He offered to put a pack in the post setting out his firm’s terms and conditions.
Total score: 31/35
You can read the article in full at http://www.ftadviser.com/FinancialAdviser/Insurance/LifeAssurance/ProductReviews/article/20100204/337c6742-0b3d-11df-8109-00144f2af8e8/Mystery-Shopper-Guildford.jsp.
Congratulations to Andrew Neligan, a Chartered Financial Planner at Informed Choice, who was the adviser in this exercise.