A financial adviser provides specialist advice to clients on managing their money in the most profitable and secure way. Clients can be commercial enterprises, institutional groups/societies or private individuals.
Financial advisers may provide investment advice across a variety of financial products and services or choose to specialise in a few selected products and services. A financial adviser is essentially an intermediary or agent between providers of financial products and services on the one hand and customers on the other.
The profession is governed by the regulations of the Financial Conduct Authority.
Typical activities include:
– Meeting clients to understand their needs and demands
– Preparing financial plans with a mix of short and long term investments
– Implementing approved plans
– Providing periodic updates on the performance of investment portfolios.
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Salary & benefits
Initially, salaries range between £22,000 and £30,000. After a couple of years, salaries rise from £30,000 to £55,000, while those with at least five years of experience (or those employed as captive advisers) can expect salaries between £55,000 and £125,000.
Independent financial advisers earn the maximum salary, beginning from £150,000 and in excess of £200,000 on the higher side.
The work schedules for financial advisers are largely dependent on the company. Some amount of holiday or weekend work may be required, especially with retail individual clients.
Financial advisers can work out of their own offices, homes or from their clients’ premises.
Graduates with degrees in any discipline are eligible to apply for financial adviser positions. Other desirable qualities are high levels of commercial awareness, strong verbal and written communication, people management, influencing and negotiating skills, and numerical and verbal reasoning aptitude.
In order to become a financial adviser, you must complete a qualification that is recognised and approved by the FCA. Recognised qualifications include:
– The Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning, administered by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
– The Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA), administered by the The London Institute of Banking & Finance.
– The Investment Advice Diploma, administered by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI).
Training & progression
Initial training is provided through a combination of formal classroom training and hands-on practical experience via several structured placements across different areas of business.
Apart from qualifications offered by the CII, The London Institute of Banking & Finance and CISI, there are other professional bodies which administer a variety of professional credentials.
Most employers encourage trainees to get qualifications from, for example, the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP), the Pensions Management Institute (PMI), the CFA Society and the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland (CIOBS).
Advanced qualifications such as the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning, International Certificate in Wealth Management, and the Certified Financial Planner or Chartered Financial Planner improve one’s chances of climbing the career ladder.
They also help many advisers to set up an independent business after gaining substantial experience.
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