The Financial Conduct Authority has added a search engine to its register to allow consumers to locate financial advice firms in their area.
Consumers can search using their own postcode and select from four advice categories of mortgages, pensions, investments or debts.
The function will offer a results page tailored to the search criteria, on which authorised and unauthorised firms and appointed representatives are flagged with direct contact details.
Unauthorised advice firms featured in the search are signalled in red with a note reading "We strongly suggest you avoid dealing with this firm".
Each authorised firm and appointed representative entry features a list of the firm's investment types - but this function is disabled for unauthorised companies.
Speaking at the FCA’s annual public meeting earlier this month, Jonathan Davidson, executive director of supervision – retail and authorisations at the FCA, said the watchdog intended to roll out a trial of the new search function in a bid to stop scams.
Speaking at the time, Mr Davidson said: "We take this very seriously.
"We have invested a lot in the Scam Smart campaign. A key part of that is to look at the register and make sure the firm they are dealing with is a registered firm.
"We have been working to make it (the register) more useable and make it more searchable to check does the firm exist and are they who they say they are."
Mr Davidson said the FCA has a consultation out on the design of the directory to help consumers find a certified financial adviser and is looking for responses up until the start of October.
At the end of last year, MPs were told around 13,000 steelworkers who requested a pension transfer value from the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) have struggled to find a qualified adviser to help them using the Financial Conduct Authority register.