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If you are a qualified Financial Adviser looking for a new challenge and unrivalled support, contact me now. If you are a client wondering if your Financial Adviser is right for you … read on!


As I write, my mind drifts back to the years I worked for Nationwide Building Society and later the Prudential. The changes I have seen in the industry are vast over that time, as are the changes in my personal life, just like many of the clients I have looked after over the years. I’d like to share some of my experience in the hope of helping YOU choose both an adviser and a company that’s right for you and hopefully help you to avoid problems along the way.

As I suspect with a lot of people who end up in an occupation not entirely planned from the outset, most of us tend to drift onto our chosen paths over time and if we’re lucky, we’re settled and happy with that chosen occupation. My transition into the role of Financial Adviser was pretty much that way. As I started my career with Nationwide on 20 January 1986 as a shorthand/typist/clerk/cashier completing the many different functions required within a busy Building Society office (balancing tills, back office admin, interviewing clients), I quickly realised that the thing I enjoyed most was talking to clients and helping them!

Then came the role of Financial Adviser, unheard of in the UK until that time; a brand-new occupation, no qualifications required, no regulations in place … just an ability to listen and talk to people was sufficient! I remember a new requirement being introduced at the end of the Fact find … a ‘reason for advice’ line to be completed … it was literally one line that we were asked to use to explain our advice to the client (unlike the lengthy reports of today!).

In the words of the late David Bowie – Ch-ch-ch-Changes!

The Financial Services Act 1986 and the introduction of the first Self Regulating Organisations within Financial Services in 1988 marked the start of what was to be ongoing regulatory changes over many years in the provision of financial advice. What followed was a series of perceived regulatory failures; not least the Maxwell pension funds scandal following Robert Maxwell’s death in 1991 when news emerged that Maxwell had stolen hundreds of millions of pounds from his own companies’ pension funds, followed by the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995 as a result of a massive trading loss caused by unauthorized trading by its head derivatives trader in Singapore, Nick Leeson! (In his autobiography Rogue Trader, Nick Leeson said the ethos at Barings was simple: ‘We were all driven to make profits, profits, and more profits … I was the rising star.’)

This resulted in the introduction of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), ushering in the end of self-regulation. Further culture and control issues were highlighted with the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression of 1929.

Culture within Financial Services

Thankfully, with the introduction of minimum qualifications in the UK for Financial Advisers, the industry has moved on from that of a sales environment to the provision of quality financial advice tailored to an individual’s personal situation.

But what do I need to look for when dealing with a Financial Adviser?

There are three key things to consider:

  • Experience … I may be a dinosaur in the industry but I am a very different adviser now to what I was when I first started out in the industry many years ago… if you choose to employ the services of an adviser who has not been in the industry AS AN ADVISER for long, you will lose the benefit that experience brings to the job!

  • Qualifications … I have continued to study throughout my working life and am fortunate to hold the title of Fellow and Chartered Financial Planner with the Chartered Insurance Institute in the UK … the term ‘qualified’ means different levels in different jurisdictions. For instance, in the UK you must hold Level 4 Diploma in Financial Planning, whereas in Spain there is no minimum level of qualification. Effectively, it is fairly easy for anyone to re-invent themselves overseas using the title of Financial Adviser with no qualifications!

  • Regulated … Allow me to be clear, holding a ‘Licence’ does not mean ‘Regulated’ – there is a difference in jurisdictions in minimum requirements. In the UK, a Financial Adviser is unable to operate without regulation whereas many overseas jurisdictions require no regulation!

Surely my Financial Adviser has all this in hand?

Of course, why would you think otherwise? In answer to this I can only share my experience of working in the industry since 1986. As with all industries and professions, outside of the UK you are likely to come across a mixed bag of Financial Advisers, some will be new to the industry, some will have no qualifications at all, whilst others will be highly qualified and have a wealth of experience in financial services. Providing investment advice is something I have worked on and developed knowledge of over many years, including advanced studying in investment and risk leading to the specialist qualification of Discretionary Investment Manager.

Take advice in connection with your investments and pensions and spend some time housekeeping and reviewing what you have in place. We can help you future proof your investment planning and provide tax efficient solutions for you specific to your individual situation.

Speed Financial Solutions are a highly qualified financial services provider looking after clients throughout Spain and the UK. We provide a discreet and comprehensive service to individuals, and our service is tailored to suit your needs taking advantage of tactical opportunities as they arise in respect of your investment planning. We seek innovative solutions for our clients and employ our skills, based on many years of experience, to apply tax legislation to your advantage. Our relationships are built on trust and mutual respect. We are ready to answer your questions, giving you the confidence you want when dealing with a sensitive issue such as discussing your pensions, investments and savings.

Our Principal, Andrea Speed, is a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) which is the professional body for the financial planning community. The PFS is part of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), which is the world’s largest professional body for insurance and financial services in the world.

Fellowship is the highest qualification awarded by the CII and is universally regarded as the premier qualification. It is a major achievement in the financial industry and demonstrates the acquisition of skills and knowledge at the highest of levels.

Along with a Fellowship, Andrea is a CII Chartered Financial Planner specialising in Investment, Taxation and Trusts.

Please take a look at our website –

For further information contact us on Tel 951 315 271 or 951 318 529

We are happy to discuss your own situation in more detail. One of our advisers would be pleased to spend some time with you either in your home or at our office to review your current savings, investments and pensions, so do call to make an appointment. Our Financial Review is completely free of charge and without obligation. Follow us on Facebook for regular updates.

The contents published are not recommendations or decision aids for your investment decisions and they do not constitute any type of advice. We are not tax advisers and independent tax advice should always be sought.

Andrea J Speed FPFS (DM), M.A.

Principal, Fellow and Chartered Financial Planner

Speed Financial Solutions

29 January 2019

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