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What’s the difference between a financial coach and a financial adviser?

Your first impression of financial advice will probably be a traditional adviser, either an individual or a company specialising in different areas of financial advice.

Financial coaching is a new type of service that’s not dissimilar to life coaching, providing an alternative to traditional financial advice. 

Financial coach vs financial adviser: what's the difference?

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Financial coach vs financial adviser: what are the key differences? 

Financial advisers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to give ‘advice’. You can expect an adviser to provide specific product recommendations whereas financial coaches aren’t regulated in the same way and don’t provide product guidance. 

Instead, financial coaches take a holistic view of your financial situation, taking the time to understand your financial goals and behaviour around money.

Are you a saver or a spender? Do you struggle sticking to a budget? Are you looking for quick wins or have you got a long term goal? A coach will inform and empower you, giving you the confidence to make your own financial decisions. 

Traditional financial advisers often also require a minimum asset level to advise on investments or financial planning, whereas financial coaches can provide support no matter what your asset level or where you are in your financial journey. 

What about fees? There’s no hard and fast rule but advisers tend to charge a management fee or charge for providing a specific service whereas financial coaches charge for their time. How much you pay varies from coach to coach, depending on their level of expertise and experience. 

Learn more: financial adviser vs financial planner

Let’s summarise the main differences between a financial coach and a financial adviser:

A financial coach is: 

  • Trained but not FCA regulated 

  • Skilled at reviewing your overall financial situation and goals  

  • Able to help you develop a financial plan to achieve those goals  

  • Happy to discuss the pros and cons of various financial products but can’t recommend a specific one for you 

  • Comfortable working with anyone, whatever their situation  

  • Going to charge for their time 

A financial adviser is:  

  • Regulated and authorised by the FCA to recommend specific products to clients or is independent and able to offer ‘whole of market’ solutions 

  • Suitable for people who have little to no debt, and a certain asset level to invest 

  • Going to charge a fixed or management fee, typically 0.75-1% of their client’s assets with initial fees on top 

  • Able to answer specific questions, e.g. which pension you should take out and what your retirement income will be


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About the author
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.