The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) has created an industry standard for retirement advisers.
The seal of approval is intended to highlight accredited members' technical expertise in retirement advice and their commitment to the later life sector.
The SOLLA Retirement Advice Standard (RAS) will initially be available to SOLLA members, who are searchable through its own register of accredited SOLLA advisers, but will be rolled out to other regulated advisers later this year.
The standard will be marketed by SOLLA with support from strategic partners Octopus Investments and Partnership.
It was introduced in the wake of the government's pension freedom reforms, which allowed savers unfettered access to their pension pots from age 55 and created a more acute need for advice, SOLLA said.
To become standard holders advisers have to submit a self-audit form which will then be vetted by SOLLA.
Once standard holders, they will be asked to sign up annually to a SOLLA code of conduct. They will also have to apply for re-licencing every year.
The initial application fee for the standard is £200, with an annual renewal fee of £150, but SOLLA accredited advisers will pay half.
To become SOLLA accredited advisers need to hold a QCF level 4 financial planning qualification and a statement of professional standing (SPS).
They also need to be signed off as competent under their employer's T&C scheme and hold the minimum qualifications in equity release and long-term care.
SOLLA founder Tish Hanifan (pictured) said: "There is currently no independent consumer facing body working to establish industry standards in this area. With this in mind, we believe that this is the right time to extend the current reach of the SOLLA brand to support this sector of the market.
"The new standard will have wide appeal, and emphasises not only technical expertise but also evidencing of working empathetically in the later life sector."
SOLLA said it plans to introduce further specialist standards in the care sector in the coming months.
The RAS is broken down into three areas:
1 Knowledge base and business activity specific qualifications
As well as appropriately qualified, advisers must be actively involved in the at- and in-retirement market.
The standard requires advising on at least 10 retirement cases each year, involving annuity, drawdown or encashment.
The minimum requirement can include ongoing advice in the form of reviews to existing clients, so does not have to
be all new cases.
2 Ongoing relevant professional development
In addition to meeting FCA requirements for CPD, the standard will require the adviser to have an appropriate amount of CPD which is specifically relevant to retirement.
The standard does not set a mandatory number of CPD hours or subject matter but will assess an adviser's CPD as
part of their overall application.
3 Maintaining a supportive working environment
The standard is an entirely personal award and cannot be achieved by a firm.
However, as part of an adviser's assessment, they will need to demonstrate that they operate within a
This will require statements on how the applicant maintains their knowledge levels and how they are supported to undertake personal development within the
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