If you need help sorting out your finances, you could talk to an adviser.
TYPES OF ADVISER
A financial adviser can help you to sort out your financial needs and recommend products and services to meet them.
- You do not have to buy any financial products to use a financial adviser
- Different advisers have different areas of expertise and they are not all specialists in every area. Depending on the areas they cover, they may need to be authorised by the FSA.
- Some will recommend products from the whole market - others may only recommend products from a limited range or from a single company.
- Some will charge you directly for their services - whether you buy any products through them or not. Others will be paid by the companies whose products they recommend - so what they earn will depend to some extent on what products you buy, if any.
Individual financial firms, such as banks and building societies, will be able to offer you some financial advice - but remember they want you to buy their products.
Some solicitors and accountants may also be able to offer some limited financial advice, usually in connection with other work they are doing for you.
Advice agencies, such as Citizens Advice Bureaux and debt counselling agencies, offer advice on money matters. Their services are usually free.
But they usually concentrate on helping people with serious problems, such as debt, rather than giving more general money advice.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
With any adviser, you should find out:
- What kind of advice do they offer?
- What qualifies them to give that advice?
- Are they authorised by the FSA or do they have some other kind of accreditation?
- Will they charge you for the advice? If so, how much will they charge? If not, how are they paid?
OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION
You can also get information on money matters from:
- The Financial Services Authority;
- government departments;
- trade associations;
- other websites;
- libraries; and
- newspapers and magazines.
Contact numbers and internet links
Citizens Advice Bureau
Free confidential and independent advice to those with money problems.
Check the phone book for the number of your local CAB office
Consumer Credit Counselling Service
Free advice and information to those affected by debt.
Tel: 0800 138 1111 (freephone)
Community Legal Service Direct
Information and free initial advice on legal problems in England and Wales
Tel: 0845 345 4 345 (call rates may vary)
Helpline offering free, confidential and independent advice to those in debt.
Tel: 0808 808 4000 (freephone)
Money Advice Scotland
Provides information on local money advice agencies
Tel: 0141 572 0237
Links to advice services across the UK
Tel: 020 7407 4070
Financial Services Authority - Consumer Information Information from the UK's financial services watchdog
Consumer helpline: 0845 606 1234 (call rates may vary)
Personal Finance Society
Contact details for individual financial advisers across the UK
Contact details for independent financial advisers across the UK
Tel: 0800 085 3250 (freephone)
British Insurance Brokers Association
Consumer advice on insurance issues
Institute of Chartered Accountants
Finding help with accountants in England and Wales
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
Finding help with accountants in Scotland
Solicitors for Independent Financial Advice
Guide to solicitors that can provide independent financial advice
Institute of Financial Planning Contact details for certified financial planners across the UK
Tel: 0117 945 2470
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
This checklist was developed jointly by the BBC and the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the UK watchdog for the financial services industry. It does not provide financial or other professional advice. If you want advice specifically tailored to your personal circumstances you should consult an adviser.