Not everyone needs independent financial advice. But some people do need it to help them make plans for later life, including to give them as much choice as possible when it comes to the social care arrangements they might require in future.

In just the same way that not everyone needs financial advice, not everyone is allowed to give financial advice. The word ‘advice’ has different meanings in different contexts, but in the context of money, giving advice is a ‘regulated activity’. Only firms that are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) can offer it and recommend regulated financial products.

Examples of advice and products that are unregulated or regulated

The Council is not regulated by the FCA, so we cannot give you financial advice. However, we are required by the Care Act 2014 to help you find sources of independent financial advice about care and support.

Unregulated advice

Examples of financial advice and products that are unregulated:

  • welfare benefits
  • NHS continuing healthcare
  • simple budgeting
  • housing options
  • understanding care charges
  • basic money management tips
  • cost of living advice
  • debt management advice

Regulated financial advice

Examples of financial advice and products that are regulated:

  • care fees financial planning
  • inheritance tax planning
  • pensions and pension transfers
  • personal injury trusts
  • investments
  • wealth management
  • mortgages and equity release
  • health and life insurance products

Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA)

Independent financial advisers can give you unbiased advice about the full range of ‘products’ that are available from all the different companies in the market. A suitably qualified financial adviser will also be able to help you navigate the complexities of care funding. Some accredited members of the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) can offer this type of advice.

Reasons to use a SOLLA member

You do not have to use a SOLLA member and there are certainly good financial advisers who are not SOLLA accredited. However, SOLLA members are specialists in advising people on financial matters in later life. SOLLA require advisers to demonstrate an understanding of the specific needs of older clients, to have good interpersonal skills, and to be able to explain complex financial issues.

How to find a SOLLA member

Finding a SOLLA accredited advisor is fairly easy. You can visit the SOLLA website and enter your postcode which will produce a list of advisers within a pre-determined radius of your home. You can then choose which adviser you wish to contact.

Most advisers will offer an initial consultation at no cost to you and without obligation. However, there may be charges for some services, so we recommend that you ask about charges when you first make contact.

The financial adviser must explain to you how much their advice will cost and set out charges in a clear way, ensuring you understand how much you are paying and what you are paying for.

There may be extra charges for looking after your investments or providing advice on a regular basis. If you're getting investment advice, ask your adviser if the costs include a review of your investments from time to time or if you must pay for that service separately.

Some SOLLA members offer restricted advice

Independent Financial advisers (IFAs) can recommend all types of retail investment products and pension products from companies across the market without restriction. Other advisers are restricted. A restricted adviser might be restricted in the type of products they offer, the number of providers they choose from, or both.

You might want to consider choosing an adviser who can deal with a wide range of product providers for the product they are recommending – and not just one or two. That way, you know you’ll be getting the widest choice. The SOLLA website will tell you whether an adviser is independent or restricted.

But the quality and suitability of the advice should not be affected by whether you decide on an independent adviser who can advise on all the market, or one who’s restricted to one or more providers. Find out more about the different types of adviser.

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