Advice Unit

The Advice Unit is part of Innovate. It provides regulatory feedback to firms developing automated models that seek to deliver lower cost advice to consumers.

If you are thinking of applying to the Advice Unit and would like to discuss this with us, please email us at adviceunit@fca.org.uk or call us on 0800 458 4161.

The Unit focuses on models that aim to serve the gaps in the current market for advice identified by the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR):

  • investments
  • pensions (accumulation and decumulation)
  • protection.

Firms with innovative advice models in other sectors can apply to the FCA’s Innovation Hub for support.

What is automated advice?

The Advice Unit works with firms developing models that provide a personal recommendation or discretionary investment management services for their clients.

Our focus on automated advice includes fully or partly automated online services and other models that use technology to deliver lower cost advice. 

What the Advice Unit provides

We provide two forms of regulatory feedback to firms:

  • Individual regulatory feedback: Firms that meet the Advice Unit’s eligibility criteria will be given regulatory feedback on their model.
  • Published resources for all firms: We will build on our experiences with individual firms and publish resources for all firms developing automated advice propositions.

Read more about the types of regulatory feedback available.

How to apply

The Advice Unit is for firms developing an automated advice model that can deliver lower cost financial advice to consumers. Those wishing to apply must consider our eligibility criteria. We assess all applications against these criteria, so it is important that you carefully consider our requirements and can clearly explain how your advice proposition meets them.  

The second application period ran from 3 January to 3 February 2017. We will publish details of any future application periods on this page.

If you would like to have an initial conversation about your proposition you can contact us at adviceunit@fca.org.uk or call us on 0800 458 4161.

Access the application form

Fees and charging

The FCA will not charge any additional fees to firms meeting our eligibility criteria during the initial phase of its operation. We will evaluate the impact and costs of running the Advice Unit in due course and may consult on an appropriate charging structure.

Consumer protection

Feedback from the Advice Unit will not reduce any of the existing consumer protections that apply in the UK, including the FCA’s threshold conditions and standards for authorising firms.

Consumers who engage with authorised firms providing automated advice models will continue to have the same access to the Financial Ombudsman Service and to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme as they would do under more traditional advice models.