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Career story: studying to become a financial adviser

19 August, 2021Sam Barr-Worsfold

Sam Barr-Worsfold has worked in banking and finance for seven years. In 2016 he decided to qualify as a financial adviser. He tells us why, about studying DipFA and why working in financial advice is so rewarding.

handshakeI started my career as a protection adviser after a short period in retail banking. Becoming a financial adviser seemed like a logical next step. The knowledge and skills I’d learned and used were transferable to wider financial advice.

I’d often speak to my clients about arranging sufficient insurance until their retirement age and that was a natural point to discuss their pension provisions. But until I was qualified, I had to refer clients to our financial planners to take those discussions further.

Clients are often reluctant to speak to someone new and would often ask if I could help instead. I enjoy helping clients and wanted to provide a more holistic service.

Studying to become a financial adviser

I began studying for my Level 4 Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA) in late 2016.

The structure of the course was logical and relatively straightforward – practical in nature, teaching me what I really needed to know.

There’s a lot to learn in a short space of time but it’s great you can complete it in nine months. It can take far longer with some other educational bodies.

At times, studying for my DipFA was quite challenging whilst also doing my normal day job. It can be quite tricky to fit it all in but it’s more than possible with the right discipline

Breaking the content down into manageable chunks – a chapter or 20-odd pages – and studying before work was best for me. I made sure I carved out the time to study during the week and gave myself the weekends off, for a well needed rest.

For the final exam, I completed the fact find report and remembered it off by heart. I recorded myself reading it out loud and listened to it during my morning dog walk.

I passed my DipFA in July 2017 and started working as a Financial Adviser soon after, gaining ‘competent adviser status’ (CAS) in early 2018.

Sam Barr-Worsfold

Tips on studying DipFA

The key is to get into a routine and stick to it!

I found speaking with the advisers at my firm, Drewberry very helpful as they can often give you practical examples to back up the theory. For me this helps with the concepts and using real life examples/anecdotes made the concepts easier to digest.

What’s the best thing about being a financial adviser?

Speaking with very different and interesting people. And it’s extremely rewarding to show clients they can retire sooner or take that once-in-a-lifetime trip without worrying that their money will run out later down the line.

To provide good advice you really need to get to know your clients, and many end up becoming more than just a client. It’s actually a very social job.

What are you planning to do next?

I’d like to expand my knowledge further. It’s important to continuously develop. I’m planning to start my journey to chartered status in the not too distant future

Related content

Find out more about the Level 4 Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA)