We understand that working with a financial adviser for the first time can be a daunting experience. To help you navigate your way, we’ve put together this series of FAQs to address some of the concerns you may have. If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please feel free to get in touch – we’d be happy to hear from you!

It’s completely up to you! Our advisers are happy to meet in person at your home, at our offices, or at a location convenient to you. They can also meet you online via a video call.

Our offices are located in the centres of Bracknell, Lincoln, and Liverpool. While we don’t have dedicated car parks, there are public car parks close by at each location:

Absolutely! All of our independent financial advisers hold the minimum qualification required by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide financial advice. Some also hold Chartered status. You can see all of our advisers’ qualifications by taking a look at their online profiles.

The UK has one of the strongest protections in the world for financial consumers. To both prevent money laundering and protect you from fraud, we are required to comply with regulations laid down by the Joint Money Laundering Steering Committee (JMLSC) and enforced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). These regulations require us to obtain, check, and keep copies of your proof of identification and your address.

This means that we will need you to provide the following:

  • Identification: Either a passport or driving licence (to be valid, these documents must not have expired)
  • Proof of address: A utility bill or a bank statement (dated within the last three months).

To run all of the checks that we are obliged to carry out, we will need your:

  • Full registered name (e.g. Dr Robert Smith, not Rob Smith)
  • Date of birth
  • National Insurance number
  • Full UK registered postal address (three years’ address details)
  • Nationality, including details of any dual nationalities held
  • Details of where your funds have come from
  • Confirmation of any third parties involved, such as Power of Attorney or beneficiaries (this is required at the “Discovery” meeting stage).

Under Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations, we need to ensure that we keep your information completely secure. It is absolutely necessary for us to be in no doubt that we are speaking to the right person when you contact us, or we contact you. So, we will ask you several security questions, such as your address, date of birth, National Insurance number, and postcode, and possibly a security question.

The time it takes to gather this information will depend on your specific circumstances and what we have recommended. We typically recommend providers who provide online access to investment performance, and for those providers, you will have access to updates on your investments yourself or through us, mostly on a near-immediate basis. We will do our best to return this to you as soon as your providers allow.

It can take longer in situations where you have chosen to retain your existing providers. This may be because there are significant financial penalties for withdrawing funds, safeguarded benefits rates, or for active workplace pensions that are still receiving employer pension contributions. Quite often, these providers do not provide online access to data, so we may need to contact them for this information. In these instances, we are unfortunately at the mercy of their response times.

Thankfully this is all covered in our ongoing service, and is an example of how you can benefit from becoming a Flying Colours client. Not only will you have dedicated advice from a qualified financial adviser, but also a full support team in place to chase up information on your behalf.

We are independent financial advisers, which means that we consider the whole of the market and access a wide range of financial and investment products. We are not incentivised to recommend certain solutions, and if there are any conflicts of interest, we are required to disclose these to you under Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations.

A restricted adviser is only authorised to provide advice on either a narrow range of products or product providers, or a single product provider. If this is the case, they must advise you of this before they deliver any advisory services.

A platform is effectively an online aggregation tool that allows various “tax wrappers” (such as pensions, ISAs, General Investment Accounts and investment bonds) to be managed in a single place for ease of access, functionality, and tax reporting. They offer access to a mixture of the key accounts you will need to manage your personal finances.

In recent years, the cost for platforms has become more competitive, and often closer aligned to the costs of standalone pension and ISA options.

Flying Colours are independent, whole-of-market advisers, so we consider all possible options before making any recommendations on which provider or platform to use. We consider various elements, including:

  • Cost and value for money
  • Service levels
  • Product features
  • Financial strength
  • Functionality

Not everyone needs a platform, and your provider or platform recommendation will be bespoke to you and detailed in your suitability report.

Once you have approved the advice, we will implement the recommendations as soon as we can. However, there are some things that are outside of our control, and these include response times from product providers. We promise that we’ll continue to keep you updated with progress on any transfers, and do our utmost to complete the advice as quickly as possible.

Things that often hold up the process include slow responses to our requests for information or failing to provide proof of address. It’s always helpful if you can respond quickly to such requests so that we can keep progressing your case.

We are required by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Consumer Duty regulations to ensure that we provide value for any fees that you pay to us. Our advisers will run through your financial plan to demonstrate where fees will impact your wealth and where we will add value.

For further evidence of the quality of our advice, please take a look at what our clients have said about our services on Trustpilot and VouchedFor.

We truly hope that you will never have cause for complaint. In the unlikely event that we fall short of your expectations, we would really like you to give us an opportunity to put things right. In the first instance, we would ask you to raise your concerns with your financial adviser. If you’re not comfortable with that, or they don’t sufficiently address your concerns, you can contact our complaints department in the following ways:

Post: The Complaints Department, Flying Colours Advice Limited, 1301, Ocean House, The Ring,  Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 1AX.

Telephone: 0333 241 9900

Email: complaints@fcadvice.co.uk

If we do not deal with your complaint to your satisfaction, you have the option to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service within six months of your complaint being concluded. This is a free and easy-to-use service that independently adjudicates on complaints between consumers and FCA-regulated firms. For further details on the Financial Ombudsman Service or to contact them, please visit: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

Of course, we hope that you would never choose to leave Flying Colours. But it is absolutely your choice to work with an alternative financial adviser if you wish. Under our terms of business, you simply need to provide us with 30 days’ written notice. However, if you are unhappy with our service, we would ask you to give us an opportunity to put things right before you make your final decision.

An appointed representative (AR) is a financial advice firm that operates under a principal firm, such as Flying Colours Advice Limited. The principal firm is directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In essence, instead of paying fees and reporting directly to the FCA, an AR derives their regulatory permissions via the principal firm.

If a firm is an AR, their communications will make this clear. For example, their website should contain a disclaimer that says: ABC is an Appointed Representative of XYZ, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under number 123456.

Part of our in-depth planning process will involve gaining a full understanding of your objectives, financial circumstances, time horizons, and risk profile. We then overlay that with robust assumptions using cashflow planning assessments that will provide you with various “what-if” scenarios.

With that said, it is important to bear in mind that inevitably at some point, be it personal circumstances, changes in the economy or legislation, we will need to review your situation.

Cashflow modelling does not provide us or you with a crystal ball. It is an iterative evaluation process to help you understand your finances better, and provide you with an analysis of how your finances will work for you. It is also important to understand that none of our financial circumstances stand still. Our financial planning services are an ongoing and iterative process that requires adaptations to ensure that you remain on track to achieve your financial goals.

One of the key benefits of working with Flying Colours is the wealth of experience that we have in the business to ensure our advice meets the highest standards. We employ a mixture of advisers, paraplanners, administrators, and compliance and technical specialists, with the sole aim of ensuring that we help you achieve your financial goals.

In the unlikely event your adviser becomes ill or leaves Flying Colours, your service will not be interrupted as we have other equally highly qualified advisers who can provide the quality of service and advice that you’ve come to expect. If for any reason you were unhappy with your new adviser, please let us know so that we can identify a more suitable adviser for you.

It is entirely possible for you to manage your own finances, but pensions and investments are complex areas that are subject to frequent changes in legislation and taxation. Keeping on top of these changes, and assessing the impact they will have, can be very time-consuming.

Trading investments can be interesting and, let’s be honest, quite exciting. But it’s risky if you do not have the specialist knowledge to closely monitor the financial markets, and not everyone has the time or expertise needed to research the right investments to buy and sell. There is evidence to show that self-investors can underestimate the level of risk that they can tolerate or have the capacity for. This could lead to a lack of diversification in their portfolios, which could have a significant impact on investment performance.

So naturally, we would recommend that you work with specialists with the expertise and time to help you achieve your financial goals. If you want to be certain that you’ll benefit more from taking advice than not, please see “How do I know my advice will be good value?” above.

Flying Colours does not hold any client assets or client money. Client investments and cash are held by the custodians used by platforms and product providers, and are ring-fenced from their assets as per FCA rules. The custodians hold your money in a “client money” bank account, which is established with statutory trust status. This means that money held within the account is recognised by the bank as belonging to you as the client rather than the custodian itself. In this way, the custodian holds your money as a trustee. More information can be found in our terms of business.

If the custodian was to become insolvent or cease trading, your assets (investments and cash) are protected as they are ring-fenced from the rest of the custodians’ assets and liabilities. There is no upper limit as all client assets, regardless of value, are afforded the same level of protection.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is the UK’s statutory compensation fund for customers of authorised financial firms who are unable to pay claims against them, usually because they have gone out of business.

You may be able to claim compensation from the FSCS if we cannot meet our obligations. The amount of compensation available will depend on the type of business and the circumstances of the claim. We can provide more specific information on request, but as a guide:

  • Investment: Eligible claims for most types of investment business are covered for up to a maximum of £85,000.
  • Insurance: In most cases, eligible claims about the advising and arranging of protection products are covered for 90% of the claim, without any upper limit.

Further information about compensation scheme arrangements is available from the FSCS website: www.fscs.org.uk.


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