Those looking to become a Financial Adviser can work towards it at any stage of their career. Potentially, it's a lucrative role which can be extremely rewarding should you put in the initial effort.
In this blog we cover the technical aspects of becoming a Financial Adviser, as well as how to develop the characteristics and experience to succeed.
Is Financial Advice the route for you?
Due to the client relationship aspect, providing financial advice is a profession which requires full commitment to the role, and being able to perform as your best self for large portions of your working day. Those wishing to be a Financial Adviser will need to do additional research into the role to make sure they are comfortable with the responsibilities.
While not compulsory, English and Maths GCSEs are beneficial for those wishing to give financial advice.
However to practice financial advice, you will need a recognised professional qualification, approved by the Financial Conduct Authority. Frequently, you can usually achieve this while working, or in an apprenticeship, and providers such as The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF) are providers of recognised qualifications. For example, the Diploma in Financial Advice (DipFA) is a great option, it meets the FCA’s examination requirements for financial advisers and anyone can apply to study as it is equivalent to a first year degree programme. Read about how a student managed to juggle studying the DipFA, family life and work.
Character skills that will help you as a Financial Adviser
It could be perceived that to be a successful Financial Adviser, you will need the suitable characteristics already. However, it is possible that you can develop these key skills, and in turn improve them in your lead up to your first Financial Advice job.
From a current role:
Client relationship: If you come from a customer service background you may interact with customers face to face or over the phone. Dealing with enquiries and sometimes complaints is a great way to prepare your client facing skills. When faced with a client it is important to treat them as a valued customer; setting out clear and concise options to help close the conversation with a satisfactory result for both yourself and the client.
Report Writing: This is a skill that is beneficial for all professionals to possess. It also stems from school, as there are aspects of report writing which resonate in exams and essays. You might be able to ask your work to provide courses or ask a colleague to share their experience of report writing with you.
Explaining complex issues simply: You can practice this technique by doing external learning around the subject of Financial Advice. Getting to know the products or subject matter you will be advising on in great detail will help you pick out the finite information that will be relevant to the client. Another technique is to practice on a colleague first, you can explain to them a project you are working on. Try to structure your explanations into 3, it becomes easier to manage your points and much more memorable for whoever you are explaining to.
Developing skills in personal life:
Client relationship: It may appear difficult to develop professional relationships in your personal life, however there are key traits that you can develop in day to day interaction which will be reflected in your client facing demeanour. If you build the following 3 skills, it will help your development:
Treating one another as equals: Even if you feel you are superior, maybe due to age or education, you will need to quash this sentiment swiftly. “Pulling rank”, even away from work will make anyone else feel less valued.
Share your knowledge: Inform others, family members, friends of your expertise and experience and encourage them to ask you for help, saying you’re always open to assist improves your approachability.
Active listening skills: You can practice intently listening with anyone; the other person in the conversation should feel as if you have heard and understood them clearly, feeling valued by the conversation as a result.
Report Writing: You may not be able to practice report writing in personal life, but you can practice writing in general. There are many enjoyable ways of doing this, you could start a blog and as well as brushing up on grammar and spelling in general. You could find a writing partner, someone to analyse your writing and style with you.
Explaining Complex issues simply: Again you can practice this on a member of your family or some friends. Pick a subject you consider yourself very knowledgeable in, this does not necessarily have to be work, it could even be as simple as the offside rule! Figure out the key points that others need to understand it and really break it down into simple points. You can practice this on a variety of subjects!
The key is to keep practicing the character skills, as these will aid you with the qualifications as well. It will develop your learning style to complete a professional qualification on top of your day to day life, but also prepare you for your role as a Financial Adviser.