Independent Financial Adviser

Independent Financial Adviser

Independent Financial Adviser

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Independent Financial Advisers or IFAs are professionals who offer independent advice on financial matters to their clients and recommend suitable financial products from the whole of the market. The term was developed to reflect a UK regulatory position and has a specific UK meaning, although it has been adopted in other parts of the world, such as Hong Kong.

The term "Independent Financial Adviser" was coined to describe the advisers working independently for their clients rather than representing an insurance company, bank or bancassurer. At the time (1988) the UK government was introducing the polarisation regime which forced advisers to either be tied to a single insurer or product provider or to be an independent practitioner. The term is commonly used in the United Kingdom where IFAs are regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and must meet strict qualification and competence requirements.

In the UK the industry has been de-polarised since 2005. There are now three main classes of adviser: tied advisers (working for one financial institution), multi-tied advisers (offering products from a selection of the market and usually paid on a commission basis) and independent financial advisers. Independent financial advisers must offer their clients the option to pay for advice by fee as an alternative to commission. (Aug 2005) Financial Services Authority

Typically an Independent Financial Adviser will...
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