Financial advisers provide clients with specialist advice on how to manage their money. The role involves researching the marketplace and recommending the most appropriate products and services available, ensuring that clients are aware of products that best meet their needs, and then securing a sale.
In order to give financial advice, advisers must have professional qualifications and follow strict financial industry rules.
There are two types of financial advisers and advice - independent and restricted. Independent advisers, also called independent financial advisers (IFAs), research and consider all retail investment products or providers available to meet the client's needs. They must provide clients with unbiased and unrestricted advice.
Restricted advisers only offer limited advice, focusing on a particular range of products or on products from one, or a limited number, of providers. Some duties of both individual and restricted financial advisors:
Contacting clients and setting up meetings, either within an office environment or in clients' homes or business premises
Conducting in-depth reviews of client's financial circumstances, current provisions and future aims
Analysing information and preparing plans best suited to individual clients' requirements
Reviewing and responding to clients changing needs and financial circumstances
Although this area of work is open to graduates and diplomates of any discipline, the following subjects may improve your chances:
finance or financial studies
Entry without a degree is possible and employers often regard personal qualities as just as important as academic qualifications.
You'll need to show evidence of excellent communication, interpersonal and listening skills and the capability to explain complex information simply and clearly, especially when in client meetings. You may also require the ability to network and establish relationships with clients and research and analytical skills when doing in-depth reviews.
Employers often provide internal training and support to employees in gaining the minimum Level 4 qualifications needed to deliver financial advice. Financial advisers who want to provide advice on mortgages or equity, stocks and shares, or long-term care protection will need to take additional examinations.
Some advisers move into compliance work, which involves ensuring that all advisers follow company rules and regulations issued by regulatory bodies. There may also be opportunities to become a director or partner in your firm.
Self-employment is another option. It's quite common for financial sales consultants with successful employment experience to launch their own businesses as independent financial advisers (IFAs).