Need advice about guidance? outlines important differences between the two.

27 Jan 2015

  • 22% of UK consumers wrongly believe they will be receiving advice as part of the government’s guidance sessions1, the UK’s most comprehensive professional adviser search, reveals to consumers the crucial distinction between guidance and advice, in a comparison table published today.

With just three months to go until the new pension freedoms take effect, there is an urgent need for those approaching retirement to understand what they can expect from the government’s ‘guidance guarantee’, known as Pension Wise. Research by shows that consumers may confuse guidance with advice, with 22% wrongly believing that they will receive actual advice on their retirement planning – when this requires an individual approach that can only come from a regulated financial adviser.

The table clearly shows the difference between what is meant by guidance and advice.




General overview of options



Assessment of individual circumstances



Recommendation of best route



Can include implementation of a plan, e.g. consolidation of pension pots



Ongoing support if required



Paid for by the consumer



The research data also punctures the myth that advisers “mainly deal with high net worth individuals”, a misconception that has put some people off in the past. Of advisers listed on, 38% said they would advise on pension pots of £25k or less, while an additional 36% would advise on pots between £25k and £50k2.

For consumers who might be unsure of how to find the right financial adviser, or how to approach them, has put together a handy checklist

Karen Barrett, chief executive of, comments: “We are now in the final stages of the countdown to the new retirement freedoms. With so much information circulating about the various options now available, I’m not surprised people are unclear on what the free guidance session will offer them.

“It’s best to look at the guidance session as a first start, a fact find, something to help you to get an overview of your potential choices. It’s a bit like calling up NHS Direct – you can get a clearer picture of your situation, but not a detailed diagnosis. For that you need a doctor. Similarly, if you want to know the best next steps to take, then you need proper financial advice.

“A regulated financial adviser can give you a thorough assessment of your individual circumstances, and offer specific recommendations as to what is best for you. Not only can they help you to make the right choices, they can also act to put these choices into place. For instance, they could help you to transfer to a different pension provider, or arrange a regular income from your retirement savings.”  

Consumers looking for a retirement adviser via can arrange a free pensions check by going here:


For a free and confidential search for a whole-of-market financial adviser, visit



Notes to editors:

1 Based on research conducted via Opinium Research through an online survey of 2,003 UK adults aged 18+ from 29 April to 2 May 2014. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

2 Based on a survey of 256 financial advisers on, from 28 July to 14 August 2014.

For more information contact:

Frederica Saunders / Calum MacDougall, Lansons: 020 7294 3682

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With over one million visitors a year, is the UK's biggest and most versatile search for regulated and independent advisers. We enable consumers and businesses to find the best financial and legal advice from a choice of over 24,000 IFAs, financial advisers, mortgage brokers, solicitors and accountants. We also make it easier to find the right advice by providing information, insights, tools and other resources to facilitate consumer choice.

The website launched in 1998 and rapidly became the UK’s leading adviser search. It is now the default adviser directory for websites that point users towards professional advice.

Unbiased Ltd promotes the benefits of financial and legal advice to consumers and businesses and would like to thank the following companies for their support:



Alliance Trust 



Opinium Research 

AXA Wealth


Canada Life Ltd 

Royal London 

Legal & General 

Santander Asset Management 


Standard Life Assurance Limited



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Category: Pensions & Retirement Tagged: guidance guarantee

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