The coronavirus pandemic has spooked investors. A financial adviser can help in decision-making and sticking to a financial plan. Business Insider has highlighted the UK's top financial advisers to watch in 2020. Click here for more BI Prime content.
The coronavirus pandemic has interrupted stock markets and made many investors wary about the best way to manage their money during these tough times. A financial adviser can help define a strategy and ensure you keep to it, but it can be hard to choose one. The latest data from the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK regulator for financial services, indicates only one in 10 adults seek financial advice when making investment decisions. The recent market volatility may push more toward professional advice, leaving many to question how to choose the right person. Business Insider has sifted through financial-adviser trade awards and review websites to highlight the most praised and promising people and brands to manage your money — and they are all open for business despite the coronavirus lockdown.SEE ALSO: British investors have flocked to DIY platforms with the coronavirus shaking global markets, but financial advisers warn of big risks Gemma Siddle, Eldon Financial Planning
Siddle had planned to become a lawyer but joined Eldon more than a decade ago instead. She has built a bustling award cabinet since, with trophies from the Personal Finance Society for paraplanner of the year in 2012 and chartered financial planner of the year for 2019. She was also included in New Model Adviser's top 35 next-generation advisers each year from 2016 to 2019. "We have provided a remote service for several years and were able to adapt to remote working without any interruption to our service," Siddle said. Angela Marson, Fairstone
Fairstone is one of the highest-rated UK financial advisers on the reviews website Trustpilot, with a score of 4.9 out of 5 from more than 3,000 reviews that praised its service and knowledge. It is one of the UK's largest chartered-financial-planning firms, with 600 advisers and staff members spread across 48 UK locations. "Clients have been happy to embrace the new approach to virtual meetings," Marson, a chartered financial planner at Fairstone, said. "My time is actually spent more effectively with clients, removing the time taken to travel to meetings, which has helped me as an adviser, to assist more clients." Kyle Nethercott, Hazlewoods
You don't need to be a big brand to make a big impression. The Gloucester-based adviser Hazlewoods Financial Planning came 13th in the trade title FTAdviser's top 100 financial advisers for 2019 — a list dominated by large firms. The awards assess how qualified staff members are, their experience in different economic environments, as well as the value of investments that came in and out of the business over the year. It may have a small team of four advisers, but Hazlewoods still advises clients across the UK, and its management, including the financial-planning partner Nethercott, has decades of experience. "Our clients know they can contact us if needed, and we are conducting many meetings via telephone instead of the usual face-to-face," Nethercott said. Pete Matthew, Jacksons Wealth Management
Matthew is the managing director of Jacksons Wealth Management. He launched one of the first personal-finance-focused podcasts in the UK and has a strong social media and web presence with his Meaningful Money financial-education brand. "I've been using Zoom video to talk to clients around the country for years now," Matthew said. "I've never met most of my clients in person, so that hasn't been an adjustment." Andy Hart, Maven Adviser
Hart is the founder of Maven Adviser and is a respected financial-planning podcaster. He has also launched Humans Under Management, a series of events focusing on the behavioral-finance aspects of investing rather than just products and performance. "I've been remote-ready for close to a decade," he said. "Lockdown has caused a lot of disruption with the companies I use, but we're still taking on clients and servicing our existing clients." Barry Horner, Paradigm Norton
Paradigm Norton, with offices in London, Torquay, and Bristol, is a serial industry-award winner, picking up regular accolades from trade titles such as Money Marketing and New Model Adviser that praise the way it works with clients. It is a Certified B Corporation, which means it must maintain certain social and environmental performance targets and balance profit and purpose. It also has its own impact-investing arm. "The week before lockdown the entire team of some 70 professionals were all successfully home working, and, other than the ability to schedule 'face to face' meetings, we were fully operational," Horner, its chief executive, said. "We have emailed our clients with regular and helpful updates, which has been hugely appreciated." Darren Sharkey, Quilter Financial Planning
The nationally focused adviser Quilter Financial Planning came on top of FTAdviser's top 100 financial advisers for 2019. Its ranking suggests you get access to well-qualified, experienced support among its thousands of advisers. The team is led by Sharkey, who has worked within Quilter for more than 20 years. "Now more than ever, clients need to be able to contact their adviser and be reassured that their finances are in safe hands," Sharkey said. "Our advisers have tools and resources to offer advice remotely." Darren Cooke, Red Circle Financial Planning
Cooke was one of the first to call for a ban on pensions cold calling to stop people from getting scammed. He started his own campaign in 2016, and the government went on to introduce a ban in January 2019. This indicates he is someone who cares for his client's well-being. "Clients are still receiving the same high-level service they did before," Cooke said. "The main part that has really changed has been replacing meetings with video calls, but so far that has worked really well." Tim Sargisson, Sandringham Financial Partners
Sandringham Financial Partners was the top-rated firm on the adviser search engine VouchedFor in 2019 based on the number and level of reviews it received. Out of 1,974 clients, the national advice firm received 1,828 five-star ratings, 136 four-stars, and 10 three-star reviews. "Clients value you for your ability to provide reassurance and help deliver their goals," its CEO, Tim Sargisson, said. "The other critical part is how you deliver your service and our tools help advisers deal with clients remotely." Lisa Johnstone, VWM Wealth
Johnstone's team picked up the trophy for chartered firm of the year at the Personal Finance Society's 2019 awards, which cited the way it engaged with charities, sought feedback from clients, and developed new financial advisers. It also offers its own range of ethical portfolios. "Our main method of contact is telephone and also Zoom for meetings, in line with our family office approach," Johnstone said. "Our newsletters are forward looking, whilst reinforcing some key messages and our outlook. "Being close to the families we work with means that current market events are expected, not predicted, but they are a normal part of the financial-planning journey."