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Jobs in finance: how to become a financial adviser

01 October, 2020Juno Baker

If you’re interested in the world of investments and personal finance – and you enjoy working with people – a career in financial advice could be right for you.

This page covers all you need to know about becoming and working as a financial adviser, including skills and qualifications as well as opportunities to progress.

Calculator and notebooks

What does a financial adviser do?

Financial advisers provide regulated financial advice to individuals and families, for example on:

  • investments
  • savings
  • tax affairs, and
  • pensions and retirement planning.

This is a client-facing role. So, if you work in financial advice, you’ll spend a lot of time meeting people to discuss their financial goals.

You’ll answer their questions and explain options to help them plan their finances for the future. And you’ll help them adapt to accommodate changes in their life and financial situation, such as marriage.

Where does a financial adviser work?

Working in financial advice offers great flexibility. You can work anywhere in the UK.

Financial advice firms to vary in size from substantial to boutique. As a financial adviser, you might work either at an established financial advice firm or – when you’re ready – you may decide to build your own business.

From time to time you may required to travel to conferences, seminars, or networking events to bring in new clients. You may also find yourself visiting clients at their offices or homes.

Why does financial advice matter?

Finance is complex. It's not just the number of investment funds, savings and retirement options or even that tax can be complicated. It's that every client's requirements are different.

People need the right financial products and services for their families and particular circumstances. By giving customers the right guidance, explanations and support, advisers help them reach their financial goals and take control of their future.

How do you become a financial adviser?

You can only work in financial advice if you have a recognised financial adviser qualification, approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

What qualification do you need to work as a financial adviser?

There are many qualifications in financial advice. This means you can qualify and practice, and then continue developing your skills and advancing your career.

First, to practice financial advice, you need the Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA). It meets the FCA’s examination requirements and is equivalent to a first-year degree programme.

Later in your career, there are plenty of opportunities for progression. You may decide, for example, to become a pension transfer specialist.

Or you may prefer to learn how to plan and advise in more complex cases and develop an interest in business strategy.

How long does it take to qualify?

The DipFA consists of two units, which you can study individually or as a complete nine-month course. The learning is online, so you can study where and when suits you and at your own pace. This is important if you’re planning to fit the course around work.

You can also choose from a variety of study options and support materials to suit your learning style.

What’s the best thing about this role?

Financial advice is a very rewarding career.

First there’s the satisfaction of knowing that your helping people and their families secure their financial future. That’s a good feeling.

Secondly, there are so many ways to progress and specialise.

Then there’s the flexibility a financial advice career offers, which is valuable if you need to fit work around your life or changing circumstances.

Related content

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

See all our Financial Advice qualifications