The role of a financial advisor is to provide advice to his/her clients about how best to utilise their current assets. It can involve both explaining the various services on offer to allow them to best do this and in some positions, attempting to secure a sale of said services on behalf of a bank or other such financial organisation.
It is a highly varied role in many respects. To start with, there are currently three different types of financial advisor. A tied financial advisor who will only sell a single organisations products i.e. the products of a particular bank. A multi-tied advisor who can sell products from various organisations. Then there are independent financial advisors, known as IFA’s who can sell any organisations products. By law, an IFA must advise clients to purchase the product that is most suitable to them; they can not possess any bias towards a particular institution.
There is also a wide variety of specialisations within the career. For example, some financial advisors will specialise in advising private citizens while others will provide advice to corporate organisations. Financial advisors may also go on to specialise in specific products. For example some will specialise in employee pension schemes while others will simply offer mortgage advice.
Average Workday Activities:
- Contacting existing clients and setting up meetings
- Reviewing clients financial circumstances and future financial ambitions
- Designing financial strategies to help clients achieve said ambitions.
- Researching large amounts of information in order to best advice clients.
- Developing financial strategies and means of illustrating said strategies to clients
- Informing and explaining various financial services to clients.
- Attempting to promote or sell said financial services to meet sales targets.
- Negotiating with the providers of said services for the best rates.
- Maintaining in depth documentation to comply with legal regulations
Education and Experience Required
Though the average age of a financial advisor is fifty years old, graduates are being encouraged to apply for the position. A degree in a related subject such as accountancy, finance, risk assessment, business studies may prove an advantage, however any graduate or diplomat may apply such a position. Qualifications are not always considered the primary hiring criteria for this position however.
Instead employers are looking for specific personality traits in potential candidates. These include but are not limited to:
- Excellent communication and listening skills.
- To be highly capability to express complex information in simplistic terms.
- To be self motivated and organised but to be capable of working as part of a team.
- To be attentive to detail and to be good with numbers, analysis, statistics
- To understand the notion of sales and to be willing to work to specific sales targets
Experience is not necessarily required however experience in either sales, customer service or an advisory role could prove advantageous.
How to get to the top
Like the majority of professions, unless you have a significant amount of experience, the role of a financial advisor is not one that you can expect to take on during your first day at a new organisation. Most successful candidates will start out as a para planner. A para planner generally assists a financial advisor, all the time learning more about the industry. During this time, in order to become a fully qualified financial advisor, exams will have to be taken. Many employers will pay for both the training (which may occur in house) as well as the exams themselves. They will then start to work with clients under supervision before being assigned their own client list upon becoming fully qualified. It is common to start off as a tied financial advisor at first regardless of the type of financial advisor one wishes to eventually become.
Within the UK, you can expect to start off at somewhere between 15,000 to 25,000 pounds per year. With experience, this rises considerably to between 22,000 and 55,000 pounds per year. Financial advising is a career path where success is richly rewarded. Should you be good at the job, a successful tied advisor can make between 70,000 and 120,000 pounds per year. A successful independent financial advisor on the other hand can make double that, expecting to earn about a quarter of a million pounds per year.
The job is generally nine to five however some flexibility is required. Both working from home and freelance work is common place within the industry. There are positions available throughout the UK, however considering the financial nature of the work, the most opportunities coupled with the highest salaries will always be found in the major cities. Working abroad is also possible.