My experience is you need to be wary of financial advisors because so many of them are little better than double glazing salesmen. IMHO if you find one of the good guys, fine, otherwise it's quite possible to buy "Which? Be Your Own Financial Advisor" and bypass IFAs.
As it happens, I am a Resolution affiliate member, though I am not an IFA. Only lawyers can be full Resolution members.
Resolution does have an IFA accreditation scheme but the link that Maggie posted is considerably out of date. There are now over 60 Resolution accredited IFAs, and they are all Resolution affiliate members. IFAs are accredited by examination, but even before they reach that stage, they must have a specified level of professional experience and expertise and this must be supported by appropriate qualifications.
I raised with Resolution’s Chief Executive, the link that Maggie posted, but she confirmed that the current list of accredited IFAs is only available from the members section of the Resolution website. However, her PA has kindly sent me a summary of the IFA accreditation process, which I am happy to pass on:
“… Resolution have pioneered an accreditation process for IFAs wishing to work in divorce cases both negotiation/ litigation and collaborative cases. By completing the accreditation process IFAs will be eligible for a register listing those who have met minimum criteria to enable Lawyers to refer with greater confidence.
What does Resolution Accreditation qualify me to do?
Resolution recognises IFAs who have passed the accreditation as divorce specialists. As such IFAs should be able to assist family lawyers and their clients in a whole range of matters, such as:
• Budget planning
• Cashflow forecasts
• Information gathering and reporting
• Advising on pensions sharing and attachment
• Assisting on instructions to actuaries
• Advising on life insurance for maintenance orders
• Working as the financial neutral in Collaborative cases
The easiest way to access a Resolution accredited IFA is to have your lawyer identify an appropriate person for you. That is assuming that your lawyer is a Resolution member. Resolution is a superb organisation but there is no compulsion for a family lawyer to be a member, although a significant proportion are.
Similarly, there are a lot of really good IFAs but not all (in fact only the minority) are Resolution accredited. Personally, I believe that the Resolution IFA accreditation list is a really good place to start if you are looking for an IFA that knows and understands the divorce process, but there are lots of other who are just as good but who for commercial reasons have not chosen to seek accreditation. I believe that there is also a waiting list for IFAs wishing to sit the exams.
Thanks Peter - I searched the Resolution website for a list - no wonder I couldn't find it. I did my best to provide some reliable information.
I wonder why Resolution aren't making the list fully publicly accessible?
In my experience IFAs are much more highly regulated than solicitors - is there any scheme to accredit or regulate solicitors for pension sharing and the other financial aspects of divorce?
I am afraid that you won’t find any of us affiliate Resolution members on the updated site. Sorry if my posting implied criticism, I did not mean to.
As Resolution is a member’s organisation for family lawyers it is understandable that they do not seek to promote the interests of non-lawyers. It isn’t a regulatory organisation as such, although as members (affiliates and full members) we all sign to confirm that we support the principles of the Resolution Code of Practice.
You are certainly right about IFAs being highly regulated, although it is arguable whether they are more regulated than solicitors are. For an authorised IFA there is nothing to stop them advising on divorce cases, even though they may lack specialist knowledge of the subject. Resolution (in my opinion quite rightly) require an IFA to be qualified and authorised to advise on pension transfers, before they can become accredited IFAs. Not all IFAs are so authorised (by the Financial Services Authority) to advise on pension transfers.
Accreditation and regulation of lawyers dealing with pension sharing and other financial aspects of divorce is outside my area of expertise. Perhaps one of the many excellent lawyers who contribute to this forum will answer this for you.
The problem is when it comes to choosing an IFA, unlike accountancy, medicine or law there is no one, high level, easily recognisable qualification. There are literally dozens of different financial qualifications, all issued by different bodies and meaning different things.
Despite all the regulation brought about by the debacles of mis-sold endowments, inappropriate contracting out of pensions etc in a recent Which? investigation still more than half the IFAs gave poor advice.
I saw 6 IFAs whilst trying to sort out my botched pension share - they all said they had no experience of and couldn't help with the legalities.
My solicitor on the other hand ploughed on regardless,said nothing about her lack of any expertise, took my money under false pretences and left me to my fate when it went wrong.I can't see anything in the system to stop other solicitors doing exactly the same.