Independent financial advice

Under the Care Act duties the council becomes responsible for providing residents with independent financial information and advice, which is fundamental to enabling people to make well informed choices about how they pay for their care and support.

Slough Borough Council now facilitates access to financial information and advice which is impartial and independent of a local authority. This should be generic free and fee-based advice as well as services providing regulated forms of financial advice.

Why might you need independent advice?

If you have savings or assets above those that permit the council to support you with your care and support costs an independent adviser can help you maximise the choices you are able to make. An independent adviser will provide impartial and unbiased information during an initial consultation. The consultation will be provided free of charge allowing you to start to explore possible avenues, but should you wish to engage the independent adviser on a more permanent basis, there are a range of costed options that shall be outlined to you. The Independent Advisor will have expertise on planning your care financing and can help you plan not just for now, but also into the future. Planning ahead can help avoid problems, such as having to move in to a care home for the first time or how to maximize use of your current savings and assets.

Who might benefit from independent financial advice?

Those who might benefit from independent financial advice include:

  • anyone who needs a small amount of money to fund care at home or to pay for adaptations or extensions to their home
  • anyone with an immediate need for long-term residential or nursing home care
  • anyone already staying in a care home and paying for it from their own income or savings
  • anyone acting as an attorney and looking after the financial affairs of someone in any of the above circumstances
  • anyone planning ahead for any of the above situations.

If you require financial advice to help you plan your care and support needs, please contact My Council (01735 475111) and we will be able to advise you on how to access appropriate independent financial advice.

An Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) shall provide information and advice to support people make sustainable informed financial decisions about their care throughout all stages of their life as well as explaining the following;

  • Care charges to help you understand what you may have to pay, when and why and how it relates to people’s individual circumstances.
  • Various ways to pay by providing information on the availability of different ways to pay for care including through income and assets (e.g. pension or housing wealth), deferred payment agreements, a financial product or a combination of these things.
  • Provide access to money management services, as you may need some basic information and support to help them rebalance their finances in light of their changing circumstances. Topics may include welfare benefits, advice on good money management; help with basic budgeting and possibly on debt management.

You need to consider several decisions when choosing a financial adviser.

Not all advisers will have a clear understanding of long-term care planning. Ask them if they have a CF8, CeLTCI qualification or an accreditation by the Society for Later Life Advisers (SOLLA). These accreditations or qualifications demonstrate advisers’ understanding of the many issues you may have to consider when it comes to funding your care and support needs. These advisers are often referred to as specialist care-fees advisers.

Some advisers are regulated. ‘Regulated’ financial advice means that an organisation is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and must adhere to a code of conduct and take responsibility for the suitability of any product they recommend. Even when advice is regulated it is useful to ask whether the adviser is an ‘independent financial adviser’ (also known as an IFA), who can offer the full range of financial products and providers available, or only offers ‘restricted advice’ focusing on a limited selection of products and/or providers. Restricted advisers and firms cannot describe the advice they offer as 'independent' (though they are independent of Slough Borough Council).

Another important distinction is between ‘guidance’ (also called an ‘information only’ or ‘non-advice’ service) and ‘advice’. It is important to understand that while buying an investment product after receiving ‘guidance’ rather than ‘advice’ might reduce the cost, it also means you might not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if you are unhappy with the advice or service provided.

If you would like to seek financial information and advice you may wish to contact the following providers who can advise you on their generic free and fee based advice service.

My Care My Home

My Care My Home provides face-to-face advice service through home visits and a free telephone service, aimed at helping people understand their options to meet their care and support needs. The services they provide are as follows:

  • Free advice on type of support required based on professional assessment
  • Free advice/help with funding your support
  • Advice provided by Independent Financial Advisor, specialised in care fees planning
  • Professional advice on a prospective support provider

The service can be contacted via:

Carematters

Carematters are Chartered Financial Planners who provide information and advice to later life clients. Their Independent Financial Advisors, and specialists within the later life advice sector, provide the following services:

  • Practical information and advice on all aspect of later life living such as understanding the most effective method of paying for your care
  • Help you understand how you can fund the cost of a loved one’s care
  • Help you maximise your income in retirement
  • Information on Powers of Attorney and/or Deputyships
  • Help you preserve your wealth, for you and your family.

The service can be contacted via:

SOLLA Society of Later Life Advisers

The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) aims to assist people and their families in finding trusted accredited financial advisers who understand financial needs in later life. SOLLA provides an online support for individuals who need advice to search for an accredited Later Life Adviser who can advise on:

  • Equity release
  • Long term care funding
  • Pensions and annuities
  • Investments and savings
  • Tax planning (IHT)

The SOLLA search facility is easy to use and will help you find fully accredited advisers within a fifty mile radius. On the website you will be able to find their contact details, the type of advice they give and details about their payment terms.

This service can be contacted via:

For financial information and advice please contact:

Citizens Advice

AgeConcern Slough & Berkshire East