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Financial adviser Independent financial adviser

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Financial advisers help people and organisations to choose investments, savings, pensions, mortgages or insurance products.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £25,000 to £90,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

To get a trainee financial adviser job, you'll need:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths
  • work experience in customer service, sales or finance

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You could also start as a paraplanner, providing research and administrative support to a financial adviser.

With a degree you could get onto a graduate training scheme with a bank or firm of financial advisers.

You'll also need a qualification in financial advice that's approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), though you can usually get this while working.

For this, you'll have:

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent maths, computer and communication skills
  • the ability to analyse and research financial information
  • sales negotiation and report-writing skills

3. What you'll do

You could work for any UK organisation that sells financial products, or for a specialist investment or pension consultancy.

You could work as a tied, multi-tied or independent financial adviser (IFA):

  • tied - usually working for banks, building societies or insurance companies, and only offering your own company's financial products
  • multi-tied - dealing with a number of companies and only selling their products
  • IFA - offering products and giving advice on all financial products on the market

Your day-to-day tasks will include:

  • talking to clients about their finances and plans
  • researching financial products and explaining them simply and clearly
  • negotiating with providers of financial products
  • producing financial reports
  • updating clients about their investments
  • meeting performance and sales targets
  • keeping up to date with new products and law changes

4. Salary

Starter: £25,000 to £30,000

Experienced: £30,000 to £50,000

Highly Experienced: £70,000 to £90,000

As an IFA, you'll charge clients a fee. This can be around £150 an hour or a fixed fee that depends on the amount of work and value of the investment.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

As a financial adviser at a high street bank or estate agency, you'll usually work around 35 to 40 hours a week including some Saturday mornings.

You could work in an office or a contact centre. Evening and weekend work is common in contact centres.

As an IFA you could work from home or travel to meet clients in their own homes. You'll usually need a full driving licence.

6. Career path and progression

If you work for a large financial organisation, you could specialise in one area of work like retirement planning. You could also move into management, recruiting and training new staff.

With further specialised professional qualifications, you could become a director or partner in your firm.

Another option is to move into compliance work, making sure your company is following industry guidelines.

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Last updated: 02 April 2018