The Society of Later Life Advisers (Solla) has launched a Retirement Advice Standard to help its own members – and other regulated advisers – cater for clients needing later-life advice.
The standard, which aims to help those consumers making decisions related to later life issues, is available to all full members of Solla but will be rolled out to other regulated advisers later this year.
Tish Hanifan, co-chairman of Solla Enterprises and founder of Solla, said: “There is currently no independent consumer-facing body working to establish industry standards in this area.”
“The new standard will have wide appeal, and emphasises not only technical expertise, but also also the importance of working empathetically in the later-life sector.”
All Standard holders will be required to sign up to a code of conduct reflecting the Solla brand values in this area.
Jane Finnerty, fellow co-chairman of Solla and of Solla Enterprises, said the standard had been launched in response to changes in the retirement market, including the government’s promise that, as of April this year when the pension freedoms came in, that all people approaching retirement would have access to free financial advice.
Ms Finnerty said: “The changes to the retirement market are profound, and we intend that the word ‘Solla’ will resonate with consumers requiring either holistic advice in the later life market, and those who wish to concentrate purely on retirement planning.”
The particular focus for the standard will be on those advisers with clients close to or already in retirement.
The news was welcomed by life and pension providers. Andrew Megson, managing director of retirement for provider Partnership, said: “This is an exciting development, and it will further help consumer confidence when seeking expert advice and guidance.”
According to Ms Finnerty, Solla Enterprises intends to launch further standards specific to the Later Life market in due course.
Karen Rayner, director of Hampshire-based The Wealth Care Partnership, which is a member of Solla, said: “I have been actively involved in the Financial Services Sector since 1981 and believe the raising of standards when giving advice to people for later life planning should always be viewed as a positive.
“However the consistent delivery of quality financial advice is but one element; at the Wealth Care Partnership we take a holistic approach and tailor our advice to each client and their personal circumstances.”