Independent Financial Adviser – What’s in a Name?

Is everyone that give’s financial advice an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA)? The short answer is no.

I went to a networking event recently and it was crowded, with no less than three people who provided financial advice. Each one of them provided financial advice, but they all had different titles. To their audience they were all independent financial advisers and it struck me that the differences were probably lost on most people.

What does independent financial adviser mean?

According to the financial conduct authority the definition of independence is “assessing a sufficiently diverse range of products by type and provider” Only individuals which provide this service can call themselves and independent financial adviser.

What does restricted adviser mean?

One of the individuals at the networking event worked for a well known national financial advice business. They are only able to provide advice on their own products. It’s a little like going car shopping and only visiting the Ford showroom.

What about Chartered?

The second title which was used was Chartered Financial Planner. Being Chartered is the gold standard. It means the adviser has achieved a greater level of qualification and has committed to higher professional standards. This is where it can get a little bit complicated, you can be Chartered without being Independent.


In my opinion, it is important to work with an independent financial adviser. That’s not to say that all restricted advisers are bad, they definitely aren’t. However, the only way to guarantee the products recommend are the best of breed and most suitable for your circumstances is to choose independent, so make sure you ask the question. Find out what makes 4 Financial Planning different here.

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