What is the difference between an Independent Financial Advisor, Financial Planner and Wealth Manager?

What is the difference between an Independent Financial Advisor, Financial Planner and Wealth Manager?


Generally speaking, the titles are interchangeable. There are no additional qualifications needed to use any of these titles. However, it is worth looking into the service offered by a particular firm before deciding whether or not they are suitable for your needs. At Milestone, we offer both financial planning and wealth management levels of service to satisfy the varying needs of our clients.


Independent Financial Advisor

This is an all-encompassing term and it is an adviser who is paid by their clients to deal with a specific need or objective. They have access to the whole of the financial services and products market and can implement a plan to meet their client’s objectives. Be careful of restricted advisers, who can only make a recommendation from a limited list of products as there may be better and cheaper options available elsewhere. Always ask and check that any financial advisor you are dealing with is entirely independent. This way you can be assured that they have your best interest at the heart of any recommendations.


Financial Planner

This type of adviser is generally more involved, they get to know their clients well and then create a plan through recommendations and then continually monitor that plan to ensure that it stays on track. The relationship with a financial planner is long term and they meet with their clients at either 6 monthly or yearly intervals depending on the needs and complexity of their client’s objectives. At Milestone we have close links to accountants and solicitors that we can call upon so that clients do not have to engage with different professionals to create a life plan. Again, the important issue to check is that your financial planner is also an independent financial advisor so that you can be confident that any recommendation made is in your best interests.


Wealth Manager

These types of advisors deal with higher net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals that perhaps require more complex financial and tax planning. Being a wealth manager often incorporates a blend of financial planning, investment portfolio management and other services to deal with the entirety of a client’s wealth. The goal is to preserve and grow wealth and then use estate planning, trust planning, tax planning, risk management and family legacy planning to ensure that the wealth is managed both during and after the life of the client. More frequently involvement of accountants and solicitors are needed to ensure that every aspect of the medium- and long-term plan is dealt with appropriately. Due to the complexity of a high net worth individual’s wealth and financial plan, more regular reviews and meetings are often required. Again, when looking for a wealth manager it is important to establish that they are independent and check the minimum level of assets needed to get a full wealth management service.

Milestone independent financial advisors

At Milestone, we are all independent financial advisors, financial planners and wealth managers. Highly qualified and experienced to deal with the varying and often complex financial planning needs of our clients.