Financial advice versus financial guidance

Financial guidance vs financial advice

Are you aware of the financial guidance and financial advice? It is important to understand the distinction and what assistance you require.


It is not uncommon to seek assistance with your finances. Like many things in life, a third-party opinion can help you become more informed and guide you towards making a decision. When it comes to finding information related to financial planning matters, you are likely to find options for both financial guidance and financial advice – but what is the difference?

What is the difference between financial advice and financial guidance?

Before proceeding it is important to understand the differences between the two, as they will impact you and your financial planning journey in different ways. The one you decide to take will depend on your circumstances and the financial objectives you are hoping to achieve.

Financial guidance tends to be an information-based offering, which is designed to aid you when making your own decisions. It provides an introduction to what may be available and will allow you to form your own opinion. Various sources will give you a range of information and suggestions in relation to the options available. It will not be specific to your personal circumstances but will provide a coherent overview and general understanding. Guidance is helpful for building the foundations of your financial knowledge.

Financial advice is multi-faceted. Put simply, it is a curated plan put together by a qualified and regulated financial planner. It is an in-depth analysis of your personal financial circumstances and needs, and considers your future goals and objectives, as well as your attitude to risk and capacity for loss. Financial advice will help you to choose the most appropriate options for you, depending on your unique circumstances. Your financial plan will be reviewed and amended over time, as your relationship with your adviser develops and your circumstances change.

Can be given by anyone; friends, family, colleagues, professional individuals and various websites etcGiven by a qualified and regulated individual/organisation
Can provide information about various financial products and situationsProvides specialised, in depth advice on financial solutions personal to your situation
Usually free to access unless clearly statedA fee is normally applied to advice given
Provides one off support for individual events/situationsCan build a long-term relationship with your adviser who will provide a personal touch
Guidance is unregulatedAdvice is regulated and covered by complaint and compensation services should you ever need these
Relies on your personal opinion to guide your decisions and provides suggestionsCan answer specific questions you may have and provide recommendations specific to your circumstances
Does not require Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisationCan only be provided through FCA approved firms and qualified individuals
Useful for gathering information on a topicUseful for people looking to make a decision

Making a decision

You will need to decide whether guidance provides you with enough information to enable you to make decisions regarding your finances or if personal financial advice would be more appropriate.

Some financial advisers will offer a fee free initial consultation which could help you decide if their services are more appropriate to your situation and if you would like to fully engage with their advice. This gives you an opportunity to better assess what you are hoping to achieve and the best way to do this. It will allow you to understand exactly the level of intervention which may be necessary to make a success of your finances. You may realise that guidance provides enough information for your situation, but it is important to make sure you evaluate all your options before making key financial decisions.

Choosing the right financial planner for you

It is important when choosing your financial planner that you evaluate a wide range of factors before making a final decision. There are steps you can take to make sure you find the financial planner who is most suited to you and your circumstances, but who will also conduct themselves professionally and effectively. These include:

  • Doing your research – take time to understand those offering financial planning near you and whether an independent or restricted adviser would be best for you, you can find out more about independent vs restricted advice here.
  • Consult the FCA register – this will allow you to check credentials of the firms you are interested in
  • Make use of free consultations – meet with potential planners to find out if they are a good fit for you
  • Read reviews – find out what they client’s think of them, it will give you a good indication of their abilities
  • Ask friends and family – take advantage of those whose opinion you trust
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for more information about the firm to reassure you, which could include financial information.

How can we help you?

Whether you are new to financial planning or looking for a change in financial planner, we can help. Our team take the time to understand your circumstances, objectives, and aspirations before making suitable recommendations.

If you would like to discuss your financial planning requirements, or if you wish to arrange an initial no cost, no obligation, consultation, then please fill out the contact form below. Alternatively, you can call 01603 706 820 or email

Important information

This article is solely for informational purposes and nothing in it is intended to constitute advice or a recommendation. 

While considerable care has been taken to ensure this information is accurate and up-to-date, no warranty is given as to its accuracy. This article constitutes a financial promotion.

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