SOLLA News and Views

03 November 2021

Views: Case study from SOLLA member Ruth Dolan

SOLLA Accreditation helps me deliver the right advice in the right way

Ruth Dolan 2Ruth Dolan, SOLLA Accredited later life adviser,
Chartered Financial Planner/Director, Tarvos Wealth

The majority of my clients are over 50 so have built up most of their wealth: they’re either no longer working or approaching retirement. Financial planning at this stage in someone’s life can be more complex, encompassing everything from retirement planning and investing to care fees and inheritance tax. As a SOLLA Accredited Adviser, I’m able to see the bigger picture and provide advice that incorporates all these different aspects.

The only accreditation that tests an adviser’s soft skills

There are lots of exams that test an adviser’s technical skills, but SOLLA Accreditation is the only one that tests your soft skills – it’s something that really sets SOLLA Accredited Advisers apart. Compassionate communication is really important when it comes to helping a client talk about their money. These conversations aren’t always easy, but the sooner someone opens up about them, the more options they’ve got when planning financially for the future, although it’s never too late to start.

Experts in working with potentially vulnerable clients

I often work with potentially vulnerable clients and their attorneys, including those with serious physical and mental medical conditions. As a SOLLA Accredited Adviser, I’m aware of how these health issues can affect a person’s ability to receive advice and can adapt my approach accordingly. This might be looking out for subtle non-verbal cues that someone hasn’t understood and encouraging them to ask questions, or just limiting a session time to ensure a client’s not getting too tired. This allows me to deliver sometimes complicated advice in a way that a client understands, so they can make an informed decision.

The gold standard within the industry

Within the later life industry, SOLLA Accreditation is a stamp of approval. Fellow professionals, like solicitors, are comfortable referring their clients to me. They understand what goes into achieving the accreditation and know I’ve got the knowledge and skills to provide their client with the right advice.

SOLLA Accreditation challenges advisers to become true later life specialists, with a deep understanding of the financial issues to consider and the specific needs of individual clients. Achieving the accreditation is really tough – and we have to reaccredit every five years – but it needs to be because we’re advising people at such a crucial point in their lives.