Advice & Guidance

What type of help do you need?

‘Advice’ and ‘guidance’ have very specific meanings in financial services.


If you choose a firm that offers ‘advice’ someone will review your options for you and recommend what action you should take based on your personal circumstances.

People who give advice must meet certain minimum standards and possess appropriate qualifications before they are allowed to provide advice. They are also liable in law, so if the advice they give you is wrong you can take action and seek compensation.


If you want someone to explain the options and choices you have, but you are comfortable making your own decisions, this may be right for you. Technically, this is called ‘guidance’. People in firms providing guidance can be as highly qualified about retirement as people offering ‘advice’. Bear in mind that you’re making the decisions so you can’t blame the firm that helped you if you make a mistake or choose the wrong product.

Please note that if you are considering releasing equity from your property you will be required to take ‘advice’ rather than ‘guidance’.

Costs of advice and guidance

For advice about your pension savings, someone offering ‘advice’ will charge you a fee for their services, but the cost can be deducted from your pension pot. In contrast, a firm offering ’guidance’ will usually take a commission from the insurance company you choose. Generally, ‘guidance’ is less expensive than ‘advice’, but this is not always the case, particularly for larger pension funds, and you should check costs carefully.

For advice about releasing equity from your home, the fee charged will depend on the adviser you approach. It is up to you to agree the fee, and when it is payable, with them. They usually take a commission from the company you choose too.