One of the most common questions I’m asked by potential clients, is whether I know the difference between Advice and advice. They want to know because there are only a few occasions where it’s ok to include anything that sounds like advice. Here’s what I say:

Advice comes from advisers

I know that financial advice needs to come from qualified financial advisers. They need to have relevant qualifications and be operating under a financial services licence.

As a financial services copywriter, I need to be sure that the copy I write does not sound like advice.

Here’s an example (the troublesome words are highlighted in red):

‘The $1.6million cap on super balances means that anyone with more than that amount in their pension account should move it back into an accumulation account.’

This is preferable:

‘The $1.6million cap on super balances means that anyone with more than that amount in their pension account could consider where they could move the excess, and seek financial advice to discuss their options.

The preferred version veers into passive writing but, frankly, this is the sort of copy that makes compliance approvals much easier while still being helpful to the reader. Also, won’t include the word ‘advice’ unless specifically referring to ‘Advice’.

Not just any copywriter

Some copywriters will have gained the same qualifications as a financial adviser, but they don’t need to be qualified to understand what Advice sounds like. An experienced financial services copywriter will be across the latest regulations, or will be able to interpret them, because they have chosen to work in the industry and are dealing with them on a daily basis. I understand the rules of the highly-regulated financial services industry, and know how to get the best results within those rules.

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