The term Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) has been around for many years now and is the popular description for financial advisers.

However with more changes coming in on 1 January 2013 that will revolutionise the industry forever, it is probably more important than ever to know your what to look out for.

Don’t know your IFA from your IFP? Click here for help…

Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) … Certified Financial Planner (CFP) … Chartered Financial Planner … Restricted Financial Adviser … Limited Financial Advice … Simplified Advice!

These are all terms that you will come across over the next year or so on your travels in search of a qualified financial adviser. I say qualified because that is also changing. That is, for a financial adviser to be authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on 1 January 2013 they will need to have attained a higher level of qualifications than they had previously held. Ask your current financial adviser if they already have these qualifications, are on their way, or are just leaving the industry/retiring at the end of the year.

The good news is that it will be easy for you to know who is qualified as every financial adviser will need to hold a Statement of Professional Standing, which is basically an annually renewed certificate that will be issued by one of the professional bodies. Just ask your adviser if they can produce a copy for you.

The point of these changes that are coming in, along with a raft of other very important changes, is that it will force financial advisers to be far more transparent, highly qualified, and more able to provide a quality service. This is all great news.

The issue that will almost certainly arise though is the added complication of all the terms used to describe advice and advisers. Ironically, that will probably lead to more people needing advice!

What I would say is that it is incredibly important to do your research before taking advice. Like any other product or service do shop around before you buy!

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Blog by Jaskarn Pawar

Jaskarn Pawar is an experienced and award winning Chartered and Certified Financial Planner. He advises people all over the UK on financial planning and wealth management issues to help them reach solutions to fit their personal needs. You can contact Jaskarn on 01604 211234 or by e-mail on