Why soft skills matter

Posted on Jan 11, 2019

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The Goodman Partnership is one of only a small number of IFA firms in London and the South East to have two full SOLLA members – Neil Whitaker and Andy Kirk - which underlines our commitment to provide quality advice to later life clients.

SOLLA (The Society of Later Life Advisers) is a not for profit organisation and aims to assist consumers and their families in finding trusted accredited financial advisers who understand financial needs in Later Life. SOLLA also works to raise awareness of the financial issues associated with Later Life and to improve the standards of practice of those engaged in advising older clients.

The accreditation process to achieve the Later Life Adviser Accreditation (LLAA) qualification is rigorous. All advisers are required to relicense annually and then go through the full accreditation process every five years.

Andy Kirk was awarded the LLAA and became a full member of SOLLA in December 2013. This meant that, in December last year, he went through the accreditation process again, which he passed.

SOLLA accreditation is not just about knowing the facts and figures but is also a sign that the adviser has experience of working with and understanding the needs of older people and their families and carers. Andy’s reaccreditation process included an element of role play, so the examiner could see he was empathetic and understanding. 

The LLAA is made up of four standards, and all must be achieved to become accredited:

Standard One – Technical Knowledge
In addition to being a FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) regulated adviser, candidates must be signed off as Level 4 competent and hold a current Statement of Professional Standing (SPS), together with appropriate qualifications to demonstrate knowledge in equity release and long term care advice.

Standard Two – Work within a Supportive Environment
The accreditation is an entirely personal award and cannot be achieved by or applied to a firm or practice. However, as part of a candidate’s assessment, they will need to demonstrate that they operate within a supportive environment which includes resources to help maintain their ongoing ‘later life advice’ learning and development to ensure that their LLAA standards are maintained. 

Standard Three – Maintenance of Competence
In addition to meeting professional and regulatory requirements, the accreditation will look to evidence that candidates have an appropriate amount of Continued Professional Development (CPD) specifically relevant to the older client market.

Standard Four - Application of Knowledge and Soft Skills
An adviser must be able to evidence good working knowledge and understanding of the needs, capacity and financial issues when dealing with their older clients and their families.  It is also important that an adviser has excellent interpersonal and communication skills, such as the ability to explain complex issues in a way that is more easily understood.

If you’ve got any further questions about SOLLA and its accreditation process, please do click here or give us a call on tel: 01892 500 600.





Goodman Chartered Financial Planners is a trading name of Fairstone Financial Management Ltd. Fairstone Financial Management Ltd., is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority – FRN: 475973 Registered in England and Wales no: 05574120. Part of the Fairstone Group. Where you have a complaint or dispute with us and we are unable to resolve this to your satisfaction then we are obliged to offer you the Financial Ombudsman Service to help resolve this. Please see the following link for further details: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.