SOLLA Enterprises has developed a Code of Practice for those who hold the Retirement Advice Standard (Retirement Advisers) to follow so that their clients can be clear about what to expect of the service provided.

It is a set of ethical principles that operate for the benefit of clients and demonstrates the commitment of the Retirement Adviser to a high level of client service. It recognises that, as a holder of this standard the Retirement Adviser should operate within an ethical environment.

The principles required are as follows:

Relationship with clients

Retirement Advisers should conduct their business with the utmost good faith and integrity, dignity and respect, being mindful of the well-being of their clients at all times.

It is important to respect and maintain the client’s dignity and privacy at all times.

Retirement Advisers will use and follow a plain English policy and communicate in clear and easy to understand language, avoiding financial terminology wherever possible. Where English is not the first language of the client it may be necessary to invite the client to engage a person they trust to assist them in understanding some of the terminology. Similarly where financial terminology has of necessity to be used then the adviser has to satisfy themselves that the client’s command of English is sufficient for comprehension – if not then documents may have to be translated into the appropriate language to ensure full understanding.

Advisers should be are aware of any potential disability, including hearing and visual difficulties, and take this into account when communicating and when considering the most appropriate communication method.

Members must provide details of their charges to the client and ensure that these are communicated clearly and that the client is aware of them and has agreed to the charges. The Charges must be transparent and details of charges must be confirmed in writing to the client. As a part of the Retirement Adviser’s duty of care, they are required to deal promptly with all retirement and related advice that form part of the contract with the client.

Relationship with the public

Statements made by or on behalf of the Retirement Adviser in any published form whether temporary or permanent shall not be misleading. Any advertising or promotional material must not suggest the Retirement Adviser is a Member of the Society of Later Life Advisers unless the said adviser also holds the Later Life Adviser Accreditation (LLAA) and is listed as a Full Member on the SOLLA site.

The copyright to this Code is the property of SOLLA Enterprises (under a separate licensing agreement with SVARFair Ltd) and reproduction by any means of the whole or any part of it requires the consent of SOLLA Enterprises. This consent is given to the Retirement Adviser in so far as and for as long as they are compliant with the Code.

Specifically Retirement Advisers are entitled to use the Retirement Advice Standard logo and provide links to the Retirement Advice Standard website from their own web page(s).

 Any references made to the Retirement Advice Standard must relate specifically to the individual adviser and not to the wider organisation or group.

This code does not supersede, nor should it be applied in conjunction with, any other organisations, trade bodies or professional bodies own codes.

Relationship with other parties

Where they are referred to any third party professionals for other types of advice such as care funding or equity release The client and, or their family must be clear who is responsible for the advice.

Client confidentiality must be protected and maintained at all times.

Relationships with other third parties shall be dealt with in a professional manner conducive to best principles. Any conflicts of interest, where they cannot be eliminated, must be disclosed to the client so that the client may decide whether or not to proceed

Where a client needs care related advice which the adviser is not authorised to provide, a referral should be made only to an Accredited Full Member of the Society of Later Life Advisers.

The Retirement Adviser

All members must maintain their qualifications and authorisations in line with the requirements of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Retirement Advice Standard existing both at the time of the application and throughout the period that the standard is issued to the holder. In addition they must evidence annually their knowledge base and business activity as well as keeping themselves updated with relevant regulatory changes in order to maintain their regulated status.

The member firm should operate their own complaints procedure and details of this must be made available to their client.

Professionalism

In marketing and promoting themselves and their work, holders of the SOLLA Retirement Advice Standard shall not bring SOLLA or the SOLLA Retirement Advice Standard into disrepute and conduct themselves at all times in a professional manner.

Summary

It is a condition of membership that all holders of the Retirement Advice Standard must agree to conduct themselves and their business in accordance with this code.

SOLLA Enterprises reserves the right to remove the use of the designation ‘Retirement Advice Standard holder’ and the related use of the SOLLA Retirement Advice Standard logo from any adviser who is deemed to be in breach of this Code of Conduct.

Nothing in this Code shall detract from a Retirement Adviser’s duty to their client under general law or statutory regulation.