Need a financial advisor and don’t know where to start? There’s an easy way – the Unbiased app. But how does it work, what can it do, and what will it cost you? Michael Barton explains all in our Unbiased review…
There are many great apps that make it easier to budget, save, invest, obtain credit, and even get a mortgage. What if you need the advice of a financial professional, though? Finding one that’s right for you can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Unbiased has been helping people to find financial advisors for more than 30 years. Could it be the magnifying glass you need to eliminate the stress of your search for financial advice?
Quick Verdict On Unbiased
Millions of satisfied customers have used Unbiased over its 30+year life.
It’s a great, free, and easy-to-use service that helps you find the most suitable financial advisor for your needs and location. It provides a lot of information about financial advisors, and helps you by either connecting you to an advisor or letting you self-select from a list of advisors. I’d like it to show individual advisor costs, but you’ll soon get to know these when an advisor calls you.
What Is Unbiased?
Unbiased is like Google for searching for financial advice. It provides guidance on financial planning, pensions, and mortgages. You’ll find online guides for big events throughout your life, from buying your first home to planning for retirement.
If you are starting or already running a small business, you can use Unbiased to find advice on company matters or to find a company accountant.
With a list of more than 25,000 financial advisors registered on its platform, you should have no trouble in finding the perfect financial professional.
Financial Advisors on Unbiased Must Be Independent
Financial advisors come in many forms. If you go to a bank, for example, its financial advisors might only offer the bank’s own financial products. In some cases, a financial institution’s advisors might also offer a range of financial products from a limited number of competitors (who are actually partners).
With a limited choice, can you be certain you will benefit from the right mortgage, life insurance, accounting service, or other financial products you need?
Unbiased insists that the financial professionals registered with it are independent (as well as fully qualified and authorised to provide financial advice). They have access to the whole market, not a restricted portion of it. This means that you should get the best advice and the best deals, whatever your unique circumstances.
What Does It Cost to Use Unbiased?
Unbiased is one of those rarities today. Its services are free to you. Just like Google is free to use.
Unbiased makes its money by charging advisors to register with it, and receiving a payment for the connection you make with an advisor through Unbiased. Of course, when you use the services of a finance professional, you’ll either pay for the advice you receive, or the advisor will receive commission for the products you sign up to.
Often, the first meeting you have with a financial advisor will be free. It’s an exploratory meeting to discover more about you and your needs. During this appointment, you’ll be able to learn about what the advisor can do for you.
Not sure how much you should pay for financial advice?
Unbiased has you covered, with its Cost of Advice tool. It’s easy to use, and gives you an average cost depending on the advice you require in a few clicks of your mouse. Great for weighing up if the advisor you do use provides value for money.
How Does Unbiased Work?
Like I’ve said above, Unbiased is like Google. In Unbiased’s case, you have the choice of two search options:
The first is a matching service personalised to your needs. You answer a few questions, and Unbiased’s Get Matched Now search engine selects a local advisor for you.
The second option is to browse Unbiased’s Advisor Directory. You fill in a few details (the type of advisor you need, what you need advice on, your postcode, etc.) and you’ll be presented with a list of advisors. Each has a page where you can read their bio, verify their qualifications and experience, and read client reviews. From here you can either message your preferred advisor through Unbiased or request a callback.
As part of this review, I wanted to check out this process. I made a request on the ‘Get Matched Now’ search and input the following details when asked “How can your insurance broker best help you?”
Here’s how I answered: “I’m self-employed, running my own business. Mine is my household’s sole income. I have no known existing illnesses, and have not had any major surgeries. I want critical illness insurance cover to substitute for my income should I be restricted from working, through to when I retire.”
I was promised an email and a call from an advisor within 48 hours. Here’s how my query progressed:
- Within 10 minutes, I received an email to inform me that my query had been matched with an advisor, and that I should expect an email or phone call within a few minutes.
- Within a couple of minutes, I received a text message to inform me that my enquiry had been accepted by the advisor, and that I should expect an email or phone call shortly. Unbiased says this will be within 48 hours…
- Less than 15 minutes later, I received a phone call from the advisor. This is seriously impressive. I’ve contacted advisors directly before and waited days for a call back.
Financial Products/Services You’ll Find Through Unbiased
You can find an advisor for pretty much all your possible financial needs using a free Unbiased search. These include:
- Financial planning
- Insurance and protection
- Tax and trust planning
- Pensions and retirement
- Long-term care
Is Unbiased Trustworthy?
Unbiased was launched in the late 1980s, and has developed as a respected and reputable company used by millions. It doesn’t concern me that the advisors registered on its system have all paid to be registered. This is common business practice.
What’s most important is that Unbiased’s list of advisors only includes those who are authorised and registered to give advice, and that they all are ‘whole-of-market’, independent advisors. This gives you far more choice than most financial institutions who are tied – and that’s important when you want the best product from the best advisors.
Pros of Unbiased
Here are a few reasons I like Unbiased:
It’s easy to use and eliminates all the hard work of finding an IFA. In my test, it took less than 30 minutes from first accessing the search to receiving a call from a financial advisor.
It’s free to use
This takes me back to when telephone directories and the operator were a free service. You don’t need to spend a single penny to find an independent advisor near to you, without all the donkey work you would normally associate with such a search.
If you are searching through local advisors, Unbiased’s response ratings are useful. This gives you an indication of how long you might need to wait before each advisor contacts you. The lower the rating, the longer you’ll wait.
The detail about advisors
Unbiased’s advisor bio pages contain a lot of detail. This includes details of employees, qualifications, the type of advice they provide, and how they operate.
Cons of Unbiased
Nothing is perfect, is it? Here are the things about Unbiased that irked me a little:
No detail about fees
You’re left until you speak with an advisor to discover how much they will charge. However, I’ve always considered that quality of advice is always more important than cost.
The way that advisors are ranked
The top of the list of advisors presented to you on a local search may not be the best for you. Like other similar area-based searches, the list of advisors is presented in order of vicinity to you. When this isn’t the case, the advisor may have paid more to Unbiased to be placed higher in search lists.
A lack of customer reviews
While I like the response-time ratings, I feel that Unbiased could include customer reviews of the advisors registered on the platform.
Having said this, I would always advise that you do some independent research before meeting with an advisor. Visit their website. Read reviews on Trustpilot. Go to the FCA Financial Services Register and view their current authorisations.
How Does Unbiased Rate on Trustpilot?
There are more than 10,500 customer reviews of Unbiased on Trustpilot. Overall, the company has achieved a four-start rating (out of five). 61% of reviews are five-star, and only 18% are one/two-star.
Many of the poor ratings stem from below-par response times and incorrect advisor information on Unbiased’s website. The five-star ratings include ease of use, professionalism of service, prompt response times, and quality of advice.
Would I recommend Unbiased?
You bet I would!
I’ve sat on both sides of the fence – as a customer and an advisor – and this is a great service. It’s easy to use, provides lots of detail, and can help you find an advisor who is local to you. Remember, though, this might not always be the most suitable and you shouldn’t discount those who are further afield.
In my experience, it is better to be matched with an independent financial advisor than a tied advisor. Unbiased eliminates the strain and stress of finding one ─ though I would also recommend you do a little independent research too.