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Financial Advisers: What do they do exactly and is it for me?

19 February, 2018Toby Brown
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The title of Financial Adviser is a term you may have vaguely heard around the finance and banking industry. Many wonder what the purpose and value of an adviser actually is, but it is a highly sought after profession with plenty of opportunity career wise.

What is a Financial Adviser?

Broadly speaking, Financial Advisers do exactly what it says on the tin. They provide advice if you’re looking to invest, buy some sort of financial product or even just to plan for the longer term. Professional and qualified Financial Advisers normally carry out a ‘fact find’ consisting of detailed questions about your financial circumstances, your goals and how much risk you are willing to take with your particular investment.

You can get different types of Financial Advisers; independent or 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.

All advisers must inform their clients, before providing advice, whether they provide independent or restricted advice. An important fact for those looking for financial advice and those providing it. 

What type of person is a Financial Adviser?

Much like any type of adviser, a Financial Adviser needs to possess excellent communication, interpersonal and listening skills. They need to be confident in what they are telling their client, but also be able to explain intricacies and complex information simply and clearly.

Although Financial Advisers come from a variety of backgrounds, those with a customer service background will find those skills particularly useful. However, developing negotiation and influencing skills are a big bonus.

Generally, Financial Advisers are good all-rounders, especially as they will need to develop excellent and clear report writing skills as well.

Career Path and Progression

Due to the large variety of products advisers can specialise in, the career path of a professional Financial Adviser is a varied one. Generally, most will start as a trainee Financial Adviser before reaching the status of full Financial Adviser and then possibly progressing to Financial Controller.

By specialising in one particular area like retirement planning, working in a larger organisation may aid your career progression with steps toward management, recruiting and training new staff. 

With further professional qualifications, there is a chance you could rise to director or partner of your firm.

interviewFinancial Adviser Salary

As the role of a Financial Adviser requires qualifications and specialities, combined with a reasonable amount of responsibility, salaries are quite desirable. Trainee advisers and newly qualified advisers can look to earn between £16,000 and £22,000. After progressing, qualified, experienced advisers can earn between £30,000 and £45,000. To increase their salary further, advisers will need to add clients to their portfolio, but also increase the average wealth of those clients as well. Accompany this with further years of successful practising, Senior Financial Advisers can earn in the region of £60,000. The pinnacle for advisers will be the position of Wealth Manager or private client advisers who are based in major retailers or even private banks, these individuals can earn over £100,000.

On top of the regular salary, Financial Advisers may also earn bonuses and commission. It should be noted, that these figures are just a rough guide, and can depend heavily on the firm and location.

A Typical Day for a Financial Adviser

Working is generally office based, however if the adviser has a portfolio of private clients or are self-employed, they could work from home or meet the clients in their own homes.

An adviser will meet with clients throughout the day so interpersonal skills are important; they will need to be their best selves when meeting clients and maintain their reputation as a confident and useful contact for the client, a ‘go-to-person’ if you will.

Financial Advisers will also spend time fact checking their clients, analysing their finances and writing proposals or reports. This requires meticulous attention to detail at all times, and being able to convey this information in a concise and clear manner.

If you are looking to make your first step to becoming a Financial Adviser, making sure you are educationally prepared is a great start, find out more about the Financial Advice qualifications we have on offer on our dedicated page.