Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

  • How do I pay for advice?

    We have two main payment options for our advice: fees and commission. The difference between these two options is that commission is paid to an adviser via a third party (e.g. a product provider) and fees are paid directly by the person receiving financial advice (you). If you require investment or pension advice you will pay a fee rather than paying commission, but commission is still a payment option for mortgage advice and insurance advice.

    Please note that our advisers do not keep any fees or commissions. Instead all fees and commissions are paid to our company then our advisers are employed and paid a salary. This helps to ensure that our advice is impartial and in your best interests.

    You can read more about our fees here: Fees


    • You will have a free initial consultation with an adviser
    • Your adviser will explain how you will pay for our advice. This will typically be a combination of a fee plus a commission (also referred to as a mortgage procuration fee)
    • The commission is paid from the mortgage provider to Bob Little & Co Ltd when your mortgage completes. We do not receive this commission if your mortgage does not complete
    • You will be told the amount of commission we will receive and the amount of the fee you will pay and you will be asked to sign to confirm this. Until you sign these documents you will not incur any fees payable to our company.

    Investments, Savings and Pensions

    • You will have a free initial consultation with an adviser
    • Your adviser will explain how you will pay for our advice. In almost all circumstances you will pay us a fee for our advice (rather than a commission).
    • This fee could be a flat fee depending on the number of hours involved (eg £100) or it could be a percentage of your investment amount (eg 2%). This fee can be paid in a number of ways, such as by cheque, by card or by deduction from your investments. You can agree your preferred payment method with your adviser.
    • Sometimes (but not always) your adviser will recommend regular reviews of your investments. This is to ensure the investments are monitored closely and to update you about any changes in legislation or investment markets which may affect you. If you and your adviser agree that these regular reviews are appropriate you will pay us a fee for this service. This could be a flat fee or a percentage of your investments. This can be paid by cheque, by card or by deduction from your investments.
    • Your adviser will make it very clear what you are paying these fees for (eg for a one-off transaction or for an ongoing service). They will also ensure you are happy with the most appropriate method of paying these fees.
    • You will be told the amount you will pay and you will be asked to sign to confirm this. Until you sign these documents you will not incur any fees payable to our company.


    • You will have a free initial consultation with an adviser
    • We will normally be paid a commission by a product provider if you choose to take out a product. This commission is based on the premium you will pay to the product provider
    • Alternatively, you have the choice of paying a fee to our company, in which case we will refund the amount of commission back to you
    • We will not receive this commission until your product is in place
    • You will be told the amount of commission we will receive and you will be asked to sign to confirm this.
  • What does "Independent" mean?

    There are two types of financial adviser in the UK: “Restricted” and “Independent”. Bob Little & Co Ltd offer Independent advice.

    This means we are able to access all products available in the intermediary marketplace. It also means we do ongoing research on all of these products.

    In contrast, a “Restricted” adviser will only offer you access to a small range of products or companies. This means you will only get the best product from their limited range, rather than the best product available to you.

    By using an Independent adviser you can be confident that you are getting advice which is truly best for you and your circumstances.

  • What happens on the first appointment with an adviser?

    You will be asked to bring various documents with you to provide your adviser with as much information as possible (such as wage slips for mortgage advice or copies of existing policies for investment advice).

    You adviser will discuss our “Terms and Conditions of Business” and our “Service Propositions” or “Key Facts About Our Services” documents with you. Your adviser will then complete a “fact find questionnaire,” which records a snapshot of your current circumstances and asks some questions about your plans and goals for the future.

    Your adviser will then give you a brief outline about how we can help you. At this point you have three options:

    • If you are confident that you will benefit from our advice, your adviser will arrange a second appointment with you. This appointment will normally be at no cost to you (unless agreed otherwise in the first meeting)
    • If you feel that you will not benefit from our advice there will be no fee payable for the initial meeting
    • If you feel that you will benefit from our advice in the future, but not at the present, you can give permission to your adviser to contact you in the future.
    • Before the second meeting your adviser will perform any research needed to prepare for your next appointment. They will also prepare a financial plan which details the steps you should take to meet your goals.

    Throughout this process you will be encouraged to ask as many questions as possible about our services and the products we may recommend.

  • Why should I choose Bob Little & Co Ltd over another IFA?

    We are Chartered Financial Planners, which sets us apart from other non-Chartered companies.

    We have stood the test of time, having been originally established in 1985.

    We have won or been shortlisted for numerous industry awards in recent years.

    We also feel our customer service sets us apart from other companies. We have never had to rely on advertising or marketing gimmicks to attract new clients to our company because over the years we have had so many recommendations and referrals from satisfied customers.

Pension FAQs

  • What is the Annual Allowance?

    The Annual Allowance (AA) is set each year. It aims to limit the amount you can save into a pension while still receiving income tax relief. There are now 3 types of Annual Allowance: the Annual Allowance, the Money Purchase Annual Allowance and the Tapered Annual Allowance. Read more about this on our Annual Allowance page

  • What is the Lifetime Allowance?

    The Lifetime Allowance was introduced in 2006 to limit the amount an individual can save into a pension while still receiving tax relief. It has changed substantially ever since. Read more about this on our Lifetime Allowance page

Investment FAQs

  • What is an ISA?

    ISA stands for Individual Savings Account. There are two versions available: Stocks & Shares ISAs and Cash ISAs. Technically, you can hold a mixture of both stocks and shares and cash in a single ISA account, but in reality some providers will not allow this. The benefit of a ISA is that any interest earned on a Cash ISA is not taxable and any profit made on a Stocks and Shares ISA is not taxable. You can invest up to a total of £20,000 in a ISA in the 2019-20 tax year. This can be in any combination of stocks and shares and cash.

    You can transfer money between ISAs without using up any more of your ISA allowance for the year.

  • What is an Investment Bond?

    An investment bond is another type of tax wrapper in which you can hold investments. Other examples of tax wrappers are ISAs and Pensions. An investment bond normally allows you to invest a lump sum or a regular investment amount into various types of investment choices. You can then normally take a tax-deferred income of 5% of the original investment amount each year (for a maximum of 20 years). The bond should hopefully grow in value while it is invested, but this is dependent on investment returns and you could get back less than you invested.

    Different providers offer different features with their bonds, such as early encashment penalties, different fund choices and guarantee options (where you will not get back less than you invested). There are many pros and cons of using an investment bond over another type of tax wrapper and this should always be discussed with an adviser.

Mortgage FAQs

  • Can I get a mortgage now that I am retired?

    Possibly, as long as your pensionable income can support the mortgage. Be aware that most lenders expect the mortgage to be repaid by the age of 75.

  • Do I need a deposit?

    Yes, typically at least 5-10% of the purchase price is required.

  • How many years can I take a mortgage over?

    Mortgages can be set up between five and 35-year terms. Be aware that the longer the mortgage term, the more interest payable.

  • How much can I borrow?

    This varies significantly between lenders and it is dependent on a number of factors such as your property value, property type, income and credit history. One of our advisers will recommend a suitable lender for you and then assess how much you can afford to borrow from this lender.

  • I have had some credit problems recently – can I still apply for a mortgage?

    Possibly, it really depends on the level of debt and when and why the problems occurred. You can discuss this with one of our advisers.

  • What is equity?

    The equity in a property is the value of the property less any mortgages outstanding. So a £75,000 mortgage on a £100,000 house gives equity of £25,000.

  • What is loan-to-value (LTV)?

    LTV is the amount borrowed in relation to the value of your home (eg a £75,000 mortgage on a £100,000 house gives a LTV of 75%.) The best mortgage deals available on the market are at lower LTVs, which reflects the lower risk to the lender due to the greater equity in the property.

  • Why can’t I get a bigger mortgage even though I can afford to pay more in rent?

    Lenders assess whether you can afford the mortgage both now and in the foreseeable future and the impact of future interest rates increases. There are also other costs to consider in owning your own home which you would not pay in rented accommodation.

Tax FAQs

  • What is Capital Gains Tax (CGT)?

    This is essentially a tax on profits made on an investment. For example, if you purchased shares for £100,000 and then sold them for £200,000 you may be liable to pay Capital Gains Tax on some the profit. The rules regarding Capital Gains Tax are very complex. One of our advisers can help you find out if you have a liability to Capital Gains tax and can refer you to a specialist if this is required.

  • What is Inheritance Tax (IHT)?

    Inheritance Tax is levied on the value of a person’s estate after they have passed away. There are various allowances and reliefs available and the rules can be very complex. Generally you will not be liable to pay Inheritance Tax as long as your estate on death is less than £325,000 (possibly up to £475,000 if you own a home worth £150,000 or more and you leave this to your children or grandchildren). If it exceeds this amount, you may be liable to pay tax of up to 40% on the remainder.

    One of our advisers can discuss Inheritance Tax planning with you and can refer you on to a specialist if your tax planning requirements are very complex.

Key information about us

  • Are you approved by the FCA?

    We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the independent watchdog that regulates financial services. Our FCA register number is 439777.

    We are authorised to provide advice on pensions (including pension transfers) and retirement planning, investments, mortgages and insurance. You can check this by visiting the financial services register at or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768 or at 12 Endeavour Square, London, E20 1JN

  • What type of advice do you offer?

    We only offer independent advice. This means we will advise and make a recommendation for you after we have assessed your needs, based on a comprehensive and fair analysis of the market, with access to the widest possible range of products and companies.

  • What experience and qualifications do you have?

    All of our advisers holds the minimum standard qualifications required to give financial advice in their respective speciality. Some of our advisers hold additional qualifications which go over and above the minimum standard qualifications.

    Each of our advisers spends a number of hours each year completing “Continuing Professional Development”, which is essentially ongoing training to ensure their technical knowledge is always up to date.

    Each of our investment/pension advisers holds a valid Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) and this is updated every year.

    You can read more about our advisers’ qualifications and download a copy of their latest SPS here: Our staff

  • Do you offer an ongoing service and how much does it cost?

    Yes, we offer optional ongoing advice services. This normally comprises an annual review to check the value of your investments and consider any changes to your circumstances, along with checking your risk profile, making sure you are not missing tax saving opportunities and improving the tax effectiveness of your portfolio.

  • How do you assess my financial needs?

    In our first meeting we will ask for details about your finances and your broader circumstances, along with taking details about what you want to achieve in the future (e.g. do you want to retire before you reach your state pension age, do you want to be debt free before you reach retirement). We will also ask you to complete a risk questionnaire (depending on the type of advice you require) so we can assess how much investment risk you are willing to accept and how much investment risk you can afford to accept (if any). We will then create a financial plan for you. This might involve making changes to the way you currently manage your finances. It might also involve taking out new financial products or making changes to your existing financial products. You can, of course, choose not to accept our advice or only accept part of our advice.

  • How will I receive the advice?

    Your adviser will send or give you an outline of their recommendations in a document we call a “suitability report”. This will include a summary of why you sought our advice, an explanation of any changes we propose and a list of the potential disadvantages and costs associated with our recommendations.

  • How often should I review my investments?

    We normally recommend an annual review. However if your circumstances change or if you have more complex requirements you might need to see us more often than this.

  • Who will look after my advice?

    When you book a meeting you can ask to see whichever adviser you would prefer. If your chosen adviser is on annual leave or is ill you will have the option of seeing another adviser or waiting to see your chosen adviser.

  • How do I know I am getting the right advice?

    Each of our advisers has the necessary qualifications to provide advice and undergoes ongoing training to ensure their knowledge remains up to date. In addition, if the advice you receive is more complex it will have been checked by another member of staff before your adviser explains it to you. Our advisers’ files are checked on a random basis by our Director and by our external compliance consultants.

    Our Director monitors our advisers’ work on a rolling month to month basis to ensure there are no longer term issues with their work. Finally our external compliance consultants audit our company once per year to ensure our systems and our processes are still suitable. The results of our audits (on a scale from “5 – Serious” to “1 – Excellent”) are as follows:

    2013 – Good
    2014 – Excellent
    2015 – Excellent
    2016 – Excellent
    2017 – Excellent

  • How do you assess whether a product or investment has the right level of risk for me?

    We explain investment risk using a document called our “Guide to Your Attitude to Risk”. This will be issued to you at your first meeting (or, if you would prefer, posted to you before your initial meeting). We will also ask you to complete a risk questionnaire so we can assess how much investment risk you are willing to accept and how much investment risk you can afford to accept (if any). We also consider factors such as your previous investment experience, your broader circumstances and how much risk you actually need to take in order to meet your investment goals

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