Choosing the right pension product can be tough. After all, making plans for your financial security in the future is pretty darn important, so organisations and individuals who are in the market for new pension schemes tend to need advice. This is where pensions advisors come in!
It’s quite simple really: pensions advisors offer advice to current customers (e.g. people who want to modify their existing pension scheme) and people who are looking to set up a pension for the first time. They also provide advice and guidance to companies that are looking to set up a pension scheme for their employees.
A number of different variables affect what sort of pension customers should set up, i.e. how much they earn, their age and their outgoings. Therefore, pensions advisors need to have a thorough knowledge of the pensions industry and an understanding of customer investment and tax implications.
As a pensions advisor, you will be responsible for analysing financial data, arranging meetings with clients, and then discussing the merits of different pension products with them. Some pensions advisors work in a sales environment and are tasked with securing new business, while others get involved with the design and development of new pension schemes.
To stay on top of your game, you will need to keep your eye on changes to pensions legislation, as well as rival products when they are launched into the market. That way, you will be able to give your clients up-to-date, well-informed advice.
Salary & benefits
Annual salaries for entry-level pensions advisors tend to range from £17,000 to £29,000.
Senior pensions advisors, however, can earn anywhere between £30,000 and £120,000 per annum.
On top of their basic salaries, pensions advisors typically receive handsome bonuses for good performance.
Pensions advisors tend to work from nine-to-five, although extra evening and weekend work may be required from time to time.
Travelling around the country to meet clients is also a regular fixture. Consequently, you may be given the use of a company car.
To enter this line of work, you will need an undergraduate degree or HND (higher national diploma) in any discipline. However, studying a subject such as economics, maths, business studies or marketing may boost your chances of securing an entry-level position.
Alternatively, you can enter the industry lower down in the food chain, gradually working your way up the career ladder from a customer service role. If you want to join a large company via their graduate scheme, though, you will usually need a 2:1 minimum.
Training & progression
Many pensions advisors start their career as part of a graduate scheme. If you are accepted onto one of these training programmes, the majority of your training will be completed ‘on-the-job’ under the supervision of a senior pensions advisor. You may also be required to attend in-house training sessions from time to time.
As part of your training programme, you will also be given the opportunity to complete the professional examinations required to become a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) or the Chartered Banker Institute.
Eventually, you may progress into a pensions manager position with added team leading responsibilities.
Alternatively, you might decide to move into a different area of the financial services industry. For instance, you might decide to become a financial planner, a financial adviser, an insurance account manager or a pensions and benefits consultant.