Financial adviser

Salary and conditions

  • Range of typical salaries at trainee adviser level: £22,000 – £30,000.
  • Range of typical salaries for qualified financial advisers: £30,000 – £40,000.
  • Senior financial advisers can earn in excess of £40,000.
  • Wealth managers/private client advisers who are based in the wealth division of major retail and private banks can earn in excess of £70,000.
  • It is often possible to earn bonuses, which can be uncapped.
  • Some jobs, for example as a tied adviser in a high street bank, offer regular office hours. However, flexibility is required if working for a banking contact centre or as an independent financial adviser (IFA) as clients may require evening and weekend meetings.
  • Working can be office based although IFAs may work from home or meet clients in their own homes.
  • Self-employment and career breaks are possible.
  • There are openings for tied, multi-tied and independent advisers throughout the UK. However, private banking positions tend to be based in the City of London and other key financial areas such as Edinburgh, Belfast and Manchester.
  • Travel within a working day is common for IFAs, but overnight stays away from home are unusual.
  • Due to the regulatory nature of financial advice, overseas work is uncommon and most jobs are UK-based serving UK customers. However, there are some opportunities for experienced advisers to work abroad for offshore financial advisory groups and international banks.

Job description

Financial advisers provide clients with advice on financial matters, making recommendations on ways to best utilise their money. The role involves researching the marketplace and advising clients on products and services available, ensuring they are aware of and understand those that best meet their needs, and then securing a sale.

Advisers may specialise in particular products, depending on their clients, e.g. selling employee pension schemes to companies or offering mortgage, pension or investment advice to private clients. Others are generalists, offering advice to clients in all of these areas, plus savings plans and insurance.

In order to give financial advice, advisers must have professional qualifications and follow strict financial industry rules.

Typical work activities

Financial advisers can work as:

  • tied advisers – working for one organisation, such as a bank, building society or insurance company, and selling only their products;
  • multi-tied advisers – selling several companies’ products;
  • independent financial advisers (IFAs) – advising on any company’s products and, by law, providing clients with the most suitable advice.

Tasks vary depending on the role but typically involve:

  • contacting clients and setting up meetings, either within an office environment or in clients’ homes or business premises;
  • conducting in-depth reviews of clients’ financial circumstances, current provision and future aims;
  • analysing information and preparing plans best suited to individual clients’ requirements;
  • researching the marketplace and providing clients with information on new and existing products and services;
  • designing financial strategies;
  • assisting clients to make informed decisions;
  • researching information from various sources, including providers of financial products;
  • promoting and selling financial products to meet given or negotiated sales targets;
  • negotiating with product suppliers for the best possible rates;
  • liaising with head office and financial services providers;
  • liaising with other professionals, such as estate agents, solicitors and valuers;
  • keeping up to date with financial products and legislation;
  • producing financial reports;
  • contacting clients with news of new financial products or changes to legislation that may affect their savings and investments;
  • meeting the regulatory aspects of the role, e.g. requirements for disclosure, costs of the services provided and also the advised products.

Entry requirements

Although this area of work is open to graduates and diplomates of any discipline, the following subjects may improve your chances:

  • finance/financial studies;
  • business management;
  • accountancy.

Entry without a degree is possible and employers often regard personal qualities as important as academic qualifications. Relevant experience in a customer service, sales or financial services setting is also viewed positively. New entrants often start in a bank and study part time, learning alongside experienced advisers.

It is also possible to enter the financial advice sector as a paraplanner, providing research and administrative support to a financial adviser.

A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not needed.

Evidence of commercial awareness acquired through part-time or vacation work or a longer work placement is useful. Experience in sales, advisory or customer service work is also valuable. Talk to a financial adviser for a greater insight into this area of work.

Candidates will need to show evidence of the following:

  • excellent communication, interpersonal and listening skills;
  • the ability to explain complex information simply and clearly;
  • the ability to network and establish relationships with clients;
  • research and analytical skills;
  • negotiation and influencing skills as well as determination and tenacity;
  • the ability to work in a team;
  • time management skills;
  • self-motivation and organisation;
  • a good level of numeracy;
  • a target-driven mindset;
  • a flexible approach to work;
  • decision-making skills;
  • discretion and an understanding of the need for client confidentiality;
  • an ethical and professional approach to work.

A full driving licence is useful, particularly for independent financial advisers (IFAs) who may have to travel to visit clients in their own homes.

Some retail banks offer graduate training schemes, whereas private banks often recruit graduates direct into the business.

It is possible to move into financial advice from other areas of the banking and insurance sector.

More information on a career in financial advice and planning is available from the Financial Skills Partnership .

For more information, see work experience and internships and search courses and research.