Independent or Restricted Advice

Financial advisers now have to offer either ‘independent’ or ‘restricted’ advice and explain what this means for you. It is important to check the status of your Financial Adviser, if you have one, and find out if they are truly ‘Independent’ or ‘Restricted’.

Whether your adviser offers independent or restricted advice can have a big impact on the type and range of advice they can offer.

Here we look at some key differences between independent and restricted advice.

Independent advice

Advisers that provide ‘independent’ advice are able to consider all types of retail investment products which could meet your needs and objectives

Independent advisers can also consider products from all firms across the market.

Restricted advice

A ‘restricted’ adviser can only recommend certain products, product providers, or both. This means they might only offer products from one company, or just one type of product.

An adviser offers restricted advice where they work with or for a product provider and only offer advice on the products that company offers.

Restricted advisers can also choose to focus on a particular market. This might be something like pensions, meaning the adviser will be able to recommend products from all providers that operate in this market.

Restricted firms are not allowed to use ‘independent’ to describe the advice they offer.

It should be made clear to you if you are receiving restricted advice and what that means in practice.

Paying for advice

Whether you deal with an independent or restricted adviser, they can no longer be incentivised to recommend one product over another.

This means they cannot be paid commission through product providers, so you are charged a fee for advice and know how much you are paying.

Independent and restricted advice: key differences


Independent advisers

 Restricted advisers 

Can consider all suitable retail investment products



Can focus only on a particular market



Can consider products only from certain providers



Has to explain to you the type of advice they offer



Can use 'independent' to describe the advice they offer



Incentivised to recommend one product over another 




The above table is from the Financial Conduct Authority website

Membership of the:


Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment
Chartered Insurance Institute
The Personal Finance Society
The Royal Statistical Society