Independent financial advice

You are always recommended to get independent financial advice before making any decisions about your pension. Staff at your Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA) and pension administrator are not legally allowed to provide financial and investment advice.

The following organisations may be helpful:

The Pensions Advisory Service offers free and impartial advice to people with workplace and personal pensions.

The Money Advice Service offers free and impartial money advice, including pensions and retirement information.

The FCA regulates firms and individuals that provide financial advice.

Independent financial advisers are no longer entitled to receive commission from the providers of financial products. This is intended to make sure that any advice given is genuinely independent rather than driven by the amount of commission which an adviser might receive. The primary source of income available to the advisers is the fees which they charge to their clients.

What to look out for:

  • There should be no charge for the initial meeting, at which the scope and cost of the advice will be discussed. However, you should check this with the adviser in advance
  • A fixed fee is more common than a time-based fee.
  • Most advisers publish their Terms of Business and Fee Structures on their websites, but will in any event provide these at the initial meeting or in advance upon request.
  • Having determined the client’s requirements, the adviser will provide recommendations in the form of a written report.
  • Advisers are now obliged to ensure that their clients are made fully aware of the risks in any recommendations which they make.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects consumers who receive bad or negligent advice from a financial adviser who is authorised by the FCA.

Overseas advisers and investments are unlikely to be covered by the FSCS.

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