An expert in financial matters, a Financial Broker provides services to both companies and individuals. Services can include: personal financial planning, life cover, serious illness cover, income protection, health insurance, savings, investments, pensions, retirement planning, business financial planning, inheritance tax planning, mortgages and commercial finance. Financial Brokers differ from Insurance Brokers whose services typically include house insurance, car insurance and commercial insurance.
Why do I need financial advice?
As the state of the Government finances continues to be unstable, and with people generally living for longer, long-term pension planning and savvy investment is more important now than ever. It’s vital that you clearly understand what you are investing in and your investment must meet your needs and risk tolerance. Financial products typically have a series of technical, investment and taxation features, and when regulators rush to “simplify”, that can often be at the expense of product quality and appropriate investments.
While some consumers may be in a position to find their own way through the jargon and technical details, others will benefit from the expert advice and guidance of a Financial Broker. Learn more
What can I expect from a Financial Broker?
Firstly, a Financial Broker will take time to get to know you, your personal circumstances and your financial goals. We will discuss your options and help you come up with a financial plan. Secondly, we will research products that match your needs from the range of companies we deal with, providing a “fair analysis” of the relevant market. This means we will generally research a majority of the product providers in that market. As an example: when it comes to life and pension products, there are eight companies active in the Irish market. Financial Brokers will generally deal with at least five of these eight companies however, we here at Cathedral Financial Consultants Ltd deal with all eight and more, which means you get market-wide advice from one source.
How much will it cost to engage a Financial Broker?
When a Financial Broker is paid by commission, there is generally no extra charge compared to dealing directly with the provider. So you get a choice of many providers, impartial advice and personal service without any extra cost and without the hassle of finding the best deal yourself. Any additional fees payable by you will be outlined in our terms of business given to you before we start any work for you.
How expert are Financial Brokers?
Financial Brokers are obliged to have a qualification or be accredited by experience. We are full-time professionals, experts in our area. We constantly study all relevant markets and receive regular briefings from various product providers.
How can I be sure my Financial Broker will put my interests first and not be guided by getting the best commission?
Like any other business, a Financial Broker’s best customers are repeat customers and new customers referred by satisfied clients. It is therefore in our interest to put your needs first in any recommendations we make. In addition, by law Financial Brokers must put your interests above commissions in their recommendations. Brokers are subject to rigorous enforcement rules by the Central Bank of Ireland; they may face fines, revocation or disqualification if they do not follow those rules.
Commission rates for the same type of financial products tend to be similar so there should not be an incentive for a Financial Broker to favour one provider over another. The commission on individual life, investment and pension products must be disclosed to you. Financial Brokers will be happy to demonstrate their impartiality – ask them for details of the companies they will be researching on your behalf and the results of their analysis; they are obliged to summarise this in a “reasons why” letter. Financial Brokers must account for this statement should they be called to do so by the Central Bank or Financial Services Ombudsman.
Once you engage a Financial Broker you could ask to pay for their services directly by fee rather than through the policy. Most Financial Brokers will accommodate this.
How secure am I when dealing with Financial Brokers?
Financial Brokers offer an advisory service and will never ask for monies to be made payable to them. Instead you pay the insurer or product provider in full, or by direct debit directly to these institutions. This means there is no solvency risk in dealing with Financial Brokers. Financial Brokers are covered by the Investor Compensation Company Ltd (ICCL) which covers 90% of eligible client losses up to a limit of €20,000 per client. In addition, Financial Brokers are required to hold professional indemnity cover for negligent errors of €1.5 million.
Finally, in addition to strong regulation by the Central Bank of Ireland, if you have a complaint against a Financial Broker that has not been addressed through their internal complaints procedure, you can refer the matter to the Financial Services Ombudsman who will investigate with no charge to you. Learn more
What are the benefits of dealing with a Financial Broker?
A more competitive market:
The Competition Authority found that demand for insurance was more price sensitive in the broker market than through direct channels. With 1,200 Financial Brokers in Ireland, the eight domestic life companies are much more competitive with regard to price, product design, investment performance and service than they would be if they dealt with advisers who are tied only to them.
Solid Financial Plans and Strategy:
Cathedral Financial Consultants Ltd will analyse your resources and your ability to meet these goals and needs (assets, liabilities, income and expenditure) and the major financial risks you are exposed to. We will then develop a strategy to minimise your risks and get the most out of your money over time. This gives you greater financial clarity in relation to your current position and greater financial security for the future.
Assisting with Key Financial Goals:
Some of the typical financial goals Cathedral Financial Consultants Ltd help with are: protecting the living standard of your family in the event of your death; protecting your living standard against illness or accidents, which may prevent you from working; saving for your children’s education; saving for your retirement; investing lumps sums appropriately to get the best return; and devising a plan to achieve financial independence. We will conduct a “factfind” to get to know you and your requirements and develop a strategy that meets your goals.
Matching Strategy with your Risk Tolerance:
Your attitude to risk is critical when making forward-looking financial decisions. Cathedral Financial Consultants Ltd will work with you to assess your risk tolerance, either through specific risk analysis exercises or simply based on discussions with you. Once we have assessed your risk tolerance, we will create a suitable plan with that in mind.
Making the Best Choice for you:
Everyone is different. Your age and stage in life, your current circumstances and your future plans will all effect what will work best for you. Cathedral Financial Consultants Ltd is experienced in creating customised plans for each individual.
Finding the Right Price for you:
Cathedral Financial Consultants Ltd operates on a fair comparison basis. When there are multiple products that match your requirements we will find the lowest cost option on the market. Planning for your future is not always a case of finding the lowest priced option but when there are several suitable alternatives it’s good to know you are dealing with someone who can take a broad view of the market for you.
Making Sense of Complex Charges:
Charges are the prices of investment and pension policies. They can be complex and may include policy fees, allocation rates, bid offer spreads and fund management charges. Some charges are better for shorter terms and in some cases higher charges are linked to valuable features such as guarantees and flexibility. Cathedral Financial Consultants Ltd will assess all this information and explain it to you in simple terms.
Assessing Investment Performance:
Future performance is not something that can be accurately predicted, and there are many factors that can affect investment results. Cathedral Financial Consultants Ltd will advise and assist you in developing a well researched and structured investment that is compatible with your risk tolerance and is designed to achieve your goals. We can also advise you when financial markets suffer periods of volatility. This guidance can give you confidence to stay invested for the longer term and achieve higher returns.
Guiding you through Product Features:
Financial products such as life assurance, serious illness cover, investment bonds and pensions can be complicated. We will guide you through the maze of technical features, highlighting relevant issues. This gives you greater peace of mind in making these major financial commitments.
High Level of Personal Service:
With Cathedral Financial Consultants Ltd, you can expect a high level of personal service that may not be available from a large organisation. Sometimes when dealing with large institutions you are rotated regularly to different advisers as people move around. Our aim is to have a long-term relationship with you so you don’t have to spend time repeating yourself and can be assured that your adviser has a full grasp of your needs and requirements. We strive to directly serve your interests over a long term as a client rather than a once-off customer. Learn more