The FSA has issued a series of top tips to help consumers avoid being
stung by rogue financial advisers.
The FSA says the guidelines are designed both to warn consumers off
unauthorised advisers and help them get the most out of authorised ones.
The tips already feature on the FSA website and the regulator hopes their
publication will draw attention to the site's other contents.
Check the adviser is authorised before you do any business with them. The
FSA central register can give you the answer.
Shop around and see more than one adviser before you make up your mind.
Make sure the adviser takes the trouble to get to know your circumstances
– if they don't find out about you, they can't give you the right advice.
Read the documents you are given – including the small print – before
agreeing to anything.
Ask questions about anything you don't understand – don't be put off by
jargon or technical information.
Check forms before signing – especially if the adviser has filled them in
Remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Don't buy investment products if the adviser is not authorised – if you
do, you won't be protected if something goes wrong.
Don't do business with the adviser if you feel uncomfortable with them –
for example, if the are pushy, evasive or do not give you straight answers.
Don't sign up to a deal unless you are completely happy with it.
Don't be afraid to go away and think it through.
Don't make out cheques or hand over cash to the adviser unless it is for a
pre-agreed fee for their services. Any money towards your investment should
be paid to the provider for the product.
Remember – if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.