A Financial Advisor offers specialist advice to individuals and companies on financial matters, including investment choices and recommendations on the best ways to utilise money. Advisors may provide their services on a broad range of financial matters or they may specialise in one particular area such as pensions, mortgages and investments.
Day-to-day activities and responsibilities
- Providing financial advice to potential customers on a variety of issues
- Analysing business, management and financial documents
- Completing daily, weekly and monthly reports for managers and clients
- Building and maintaining a client base
- Setting and reviewing monthly targets with customers
- Producing reports on customers circumstances and highlighting possible outcomes and decisions to be made
- Analysing possible risks and completing documents to highlight to the best decisions for customers
- Researching different financial areas in order to produce the best possible results for customers
- Designing financial strategies which suit the customer’s particular needs
- Negotiating and providing new services to a variety of customers and working closely with head office and other teams to meet their needs
- Operating within an office environment, setting up meetings and working with customers in both an office and home environment
- Reviewing any documentation should a client’s situation change
- Keeping up to date will all financial legislation and regulations
Workplace and working hours
Financial advisors typically work the standard hours of 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday – Friday. Some long, irregular hours may be required. Those that are self-employed have a greater control over their working hours.
Professionals working in this role are generally based in an office, with some given the opportunity to work from home (depending on the employer). Travelling to and from the clients’ premises/homes will often be required.
The starting salary for a Financial Advisor is around £20,000 per year. Once a candidate becomes more experienced and qualified, their salary increases to between £30,000 and £60,000, depending on the size of the employer, the job location, the number of years of experience and the level of knowledge of the financial industry.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
A candidate is not required to have any particular degree; however a degree in finance, business or accountancy will support a strong application. Some companies are also willing to take candidates who may not have a degree but do have relevant experience in finance, customer services or sales.
Skills and personal attributes
- Mathematical skills: Given the nature of the job, it is vital that a candidate has sound mathematical skills and understanding of accounting in order to offer the best possible advice to customers.
- Communication skills: As this role is very much based around working to a customer’s needs and offering them the best possible advice, a candidate is required to have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, in order to communicate their recommendations, strategies and suggestions so that they can be understood by the clients and implemented accordingly.
- Organisational skills: As a candidate will often be working with multiple clients at the same time, it is essential that they are well-organised, able to manage their own time and have everything ready and documented before meetings and presentations.
Job likes and benefits
- Job progression: The ability to progress within the role is very much accessible, especially in large companies or accounting firms. With additional experience, a candidate will have the opportunity to progress quickly in a variety of other roles within the financial industry.
- Self-employed: Financial advisors often become self-employed once they have gained the relevant experience and build up a customer base. Becoming self-employed would give a candidate a major advantage as they would be able to control aspects such as working hours, fees, charges and work location.
Job challenges and disadvantages
- Research reports: Carrying out extensive research and producing insightful and technical financial reports form a large part of the job. This role will unlikely be suitable for those who are unable to conduct financial research and document/present their findings accordingly.
Job progression and career prospects
With enough experience and knowledge, candidates can move into a variety of different roles in finance, accounting, management or compliance.
There may also the opportunity to become a partner or director in a firm.
Becoming self-employed is another popular option, although that comes with additional risks and responsibilities.
Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI)