What type of financial advisor do I need?

Appointing a financial advisor is one of the first steps to managing your money, setting financial goals, and planning retirement. But, if you’ve never spoken with an adviser before, you may be asking yourself, ‘What type of financial adviser do I need?’. Assessing your financial needs will determine on which type of advisor you will need. 

This article will explain the differences between Independent advisors and restricted advisors, plus what it means to receive advice rather than guidance.

 What are the different types of financial advisors?

There are two main types of advisors: an Independent Financial Advisor or a Restricted Financial Advisor. A common misconception is that an Independent Financial Advisor works alone and has a single person practice, but this isn’t the case. The definition of an Independent Financial Advisor, according to the FCA, is

‘A firm or adviser that provides independent advice can consider and recommend a wide range of retail investment products that could meet your needs and objectives’

 FCA.org, Aug ’21

An independent financial advisor will be able to search across the market to find the most suitable product for your circumstances and goals.

A restricted advisor is a firm or individual tied to a specific provider and can only recommend certain providers’ products. A restricted advisor must clearly explain the nature of the restrictions to you.

All financial advisors, whether Independent or restricted, must be approved or authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. The advisors must pass the same qualifications and meet the exact requirements to provide suitable financial advice.

What does a financial advisor do?

An experienced and fully qualified adviser will first start assessing where you are currently positioned financially and personally. They’ll work with you to discover your goals, objectives and what you want to achieve following their advice. Once they understand your needs, they will recommend products or plans that can help you achieve your goals.

There will be times in your life when you consider getting financial advice from a professional. Typically, these thoughts will be triggered by a specific milestone or need, like reaching a certain age, starting a family or buying a house. But, ‘what type of financial advisor do you need?’ and ‘what do financial advisors do?’

A financial advisor can help with things like

  • Planning for retirement.
  • Advice on your pensions.
  • Life insurance advice.
  • Investment financial advice.
  • Making the most of any lump sums of money you may receive, such as redundancy or inheritance.
  • Writing Wills or Estate Planning Advice.

Financial Advice or Guidance, What’s the difference?

There is a big difference between receiving financial advice compared to receiving financial guidance. Some individuals or organisations often advice charities or government sites like PensionWise and Money Helper offer financial guidance. The service provided by these organisations is different from financial advice, as guidance provides people with information about the various options open to you but will not recommend any product or provider over another.

On the other hand, financial advice will tell you which specific product and provider best suits your needs, goals, and circumstances. A qualified adviser must be authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and adhere to their strict rules around delivering financial advice. The financial advice given by an advisor should always be in your best financial interests.

When is it better to get a specialist financial adviser?

A regulated and independent financial advisor will offer advice on a wide range of products and services. Still, sometimes it could be beneficial to appoint a specialist advisor for certain types of advice, depending on your financial needs.

  • Pension Financial Adviser

An expert pension advisor will have in-depth knowledge, experience and qualifications in advising on pensions. Pensions can be complicated products, and for most people, a pension is their life savings, so it makes sense to get specialist advice. An independent pension advisor will generally start with reviewing your current pension products, your needs and financial circumstances. From there an adviser will recommend products or a plan that will help you to achieve your goals when you hit retirement potentially.

Certain pension products are called ‘Final-Salary pensions or Defined Benefit pensions’; you will need a specialist pension adviser to transfer these policies. An adviser is required due to the complexities of the products and the guarantees these types of pensions offer.

  • Life Insurance Adviser

With the number of price comparison sites available online today, you may be inclined to think about what benefit a life insurance adviser can provide? Firstly, they can assess what life insurance you may need to ensure you’re fully covered should anything happen to you. Then the adviser will scour the market to find the best life insurance product for you, including Over 50s Life Insurance or Whole of Life Insurance at the most competitive price.

  • Investment Financial Adviser

Whether you’re looking to invest in a stocks and shares ISA or a financial bond, it is recommended that you speak with an Investment adviser, so you invest in the right product. A specialist investment advisor will recommend product aligned with your attitude to financial risk and ensure it’s the right home for your hard-earned money.

  • Wills and Estate Planning Adviser

Making sure your loved ones get your estate when you’re not around is crucial as many people go into later life believing that everything will go to your spouse or family members. A specialist estate planner and writer will help you minimise tax implications and ensure that your estate goes to the people you want it to. Take the risk and worry away from your family and appoint a specialist advisor to help.


When finding the right financial advisor for you, you should always check whether they deliver independent advice that’s in your best interest. Hilltop Finance are Independent Financial Advisors who specialise in pensions, investments, and retirement planning. Our team of advisers have collectively over 100 years of financial advisory experience and are perfectly positioned to deliver expert advice that’s tailored to you and your financial needs. So, if you’re still asking yourself ‘What type of financial advisor do i need?’ why not arrange a free, no-obligation pension consultation with the specialists at Hilltop Finance today by simply filling out our straightforward online contact form. We will be more than happy to assist you in any way we can and find 

Important information: Our website offers information about investing and saving, but not personal advice. If you’re not sure which services are right for you, please request advice from Hilltop’s independent financial advisers. Remember that investments can go up and down in value, so you could get back less than you put in.

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