What's the difference between pensions guidance and pensions advice?

These two similar words have distinct differences in financial services.


An organisation providing guidance won’t make a personal recommendation. They’ll give you the facts you need and explain the choices open to you. But they’ll leave you to choose what you want to do.

Someone offering guidance:

  • may take a commission from any product you buy from them.
  • isn’t providing advice, so it's difficult to hold them to account if you get the wrong product.
  • doesn’t have to hold professional qualifications, though many will have.


When seeking financial ‘advice’ you’ll be asked specific questions about your finances. And after a review of your situation, the adviser will recommend what action you should take.

Someone offering advice:

  • must hold professional financial qualifications in the areas of advice they provide.
  • is liable for the advice they give, so if it’s wrong you could seek compensation.
  • can receive a commission and may charge you a fee for their service.

Free impartial guidance

  • About Pension Wise

    Pension Wise is a government service from MoneyHelper that offers free impartial pension guidance about your defined contribution pension options

    Available if you’re 50 or over, they offer telephone or face-to-face appointments with highly trained professionals.

    Pension Wise logo

    It's important to have your free Pension Wise guidance appointment before you are ready to access your pension.

  • Book your appointment

    Are you ready
    to book your free
    Pension Wise

    To find out more or book an appointment online click below or call.

    0800 138 3944
    8am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday.
    Calls may be recorded and monitored.

  • What to expect at your appointment

    Pension Wise guidance

    What will you get at your Pension Wise appointment?

    • Guidance on how to make the best use of your pension pot (they won’t give a recommendation).
    • Information about tax when taking money from your pension
    • Tips on getting the best option for you, including how to compare products, get financial advice and avoid scams

Retirement Advice Service

At retirement pension planning advice from our team of expert financial advisers.

Our advisers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to give advice on an independent basis. That means they won’t just include our products in the recommendation they give you – if there’s a better option available, they’ll let you know.