Archive for the ‘Financial Services’ Category

What Do The Letters Ifa Mean?

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

By Sean Horton

They are probably the three most important letters for anyone dealing in the area of financial services and products, whether as a consumer or a fellow professional. The IFA – or Independent Financial Adviser, to give the acronym its full title – is probably the most central and key player in the market for financial products and services. Without the IFA, financial service providers would be at a loss to accurately and honestly promoting and selling their products; and without the IFA, the consumer would be at a loss when it comes to choosing between such a huge array of different financial services and products. The IFA is a kingpin in the relationship between financial services providers and their customers.

In case this gives the impression that the IFA is little more than a salesman for the providers, however, it should be emphasised that nothing could be further from the truth – the “independent” in IFA makes sure of that. Indeed, it is the impartiality and objectivity of the IFA that makes him or her the consumer’s champion. There is no axe to grind, no commission to be earned from selling a particular brand of financial service – independence is at the very heart of the definition of an IFA.

YouTube Preview Image

Equally important, of course, is the knowledge possessed by the IFA on the very wide range of financial services and products available in the market these days. Anyone with an interest in putting their hard-earned cash to the best and most profitable use will need to know a lot about everything from savings and investments, pensions, insurance and every other aspect of finance. It’s a knowledge that few people can leave to chance or an amateur’s approach to the financial press – the only safe approach is to engage the services of an IFA. The latter’s qualifications in financial management ensure that he or she is likely to know all that there is to know, whilst the regulation of the IFA’s role by the Financial Services Authority also means that the knowledge will be constantly updated with an understanding of the all the latest products, laws and regulations relating to financial services provision.

Completing the trio of all-important words is the IFA as Adviser. The advisory role is also key to understanding the special relationship between the IFA and his client. Whilst there might be many different ways of giving advice in the broadest sense of the term, the IFA has a very particular duty when it comes to this critical role. The advice must be independent, as we have seen; it must draw on the extensive knowledge and constantly updated familiarity with the financial services market; but it must also result in the provision of advice that is solely in the client’s best interests.

This involves a close understanding of the client’s particular, personal circumstances and the financial objectives that the client has in mind. In this respect, the IFA is very much a personal adviser, who needs to tailor his advice to each client individually and for whom there is no “one size fits all” solution.

About the Author: Sean Horton is a Director of Enhanced Wealth, a whole of market mortgage broker and


specialising in mortgage advice and the associated areas of income protection, mortgage protection, and mortgage life cover.


Permanent Link: