How to become a financial adviser

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A career as a financial adviser is an increasingly attractive option for those with an interest in finance and helping people at crucial points of their life.

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There are two kinds of investment adviser: Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) and Restricted Advisers. The latter can only recommend certain products or providers and cannot describe themselves as independent.

Most people will be looking at a position as an IFA, as the employment prospects are much greater.

Furthermore, the emergence of sophisticated software for IFAs found at sites such as www.intelliflo.com/ is transforming the job and attracting applicants with an interest in technology.

Experience

Although graduates are attracted to this kind of career the National Career Service suggests that entry to a firm can be accessed by candidates with good grades in GCSE Maths and English, potentially via an apprenticeship. You could also start as a paraplanner, who provides research and administrative support to a financial planner.

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As well as numerical skills and tech knowledge you will also need excellent communication skills and be comfortable writing reports. Experience in customer service, sales or finance will also be an advantage when seeking an initial position. With a degree you may be able to enter a graduate training scheme, either with a bank or an IFA.

Career

You will also need a qualification in financial advice approved by the Financial Conduct Authority, although you will usually acquire this whilst working. There will be the possibility of acquiring further qualifications as you progress through your career, increasing the markets and products you can advise on.

When embarking on this training expect to be subjected to a credit check and a background check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Further details on training can be found at the Financial Conduct Authority website.

There are lots of career options for financial advisers who hold the relevant qualifications from working as an IFA, working for a bank or building society selling their products, or as a restricted adviser.

As an IFA you will be talking to clients about their finances and plans, researching the right products for them and explaining them clearly. You will also negotiate with providers and produce reports for the client to keep them updated on their investments.

Finally, you will also need to keep abreast of new products and changes in the law.

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