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How to Become a Financial Advisor

Thinking about training to be a financial advisor? Whether you’re a current student in an area like finance, business management or accountancy, working in a customer service or financial services role, or just considering your options, there are many reasons to consider working towards financial advisor jobs. 

This guide brings together all the information you’ll need to work out how to become a financial advisor, including the types of qualifications you could get, their entry requirements, the skills you’ll need to succeed, and where you could study at postgraduate level. 

So, read on to begin your journey towards studying towards being a financial advisor. 


Why become a financial advisor? 

Becoming a financial advisor is an attractive prospect for many graduates of the finance, accounting or economics field, offering the opportunity to work as part of a firm or independently to help people with their finances and investments. 

It’s a customer facing role, that will see you working closely with a wide variety of individuals. Being able to help them and make a positive difference to their lives and finances is highly rewarding, and will see you getting involved in all sorts of activities and challenges. You’ll be free to specialise in certain areas, if you like, such as working on retirement planning or with recent homeowners. 

It’s a natural choice for those with an analytical mind, a love of problem solving and an interest in personal finance and investments. It offers a great range of flexibility, as you could work with any number of companies or decide to work for yourself, as well as good career progression and salary potentials. 

How do I become a financial advisor? 

University level study is the most common route in training to be a financial advisor. That being said, it’s still possible to qualify for this type of job through apprenticeships and on-the-job experience and training, as well as professional qualifications. 

When it comes to academic qualifications to be a financial advisor, most students will complete an undergraduate degree in an area such as finance, accounting, economics, business studies or mathematics. 

Study at postgraduate level is an ideal opportunity to gain a more specialised degree that will prepare you for financial advisor jobs. This might be a broad focus course, like finance, or a more specific programme such as financial planning or wealth management. 

For many graduates and junior professionals in this field, working towards chartership as a financial planner will be a top priority. Becoming a chartered financial adviser through the Chartered Insurance Institute is a demonstration of your professionalism, experience and skills in this industry, and will help you develop your career and reach more senior positions. 

Some postgraduate programmes will include the work required to achieve one or more levels required towards becoming chartered, or allow you to utilise your university experience towards the assessment criteria of chartership when you are ready. 

What are the entry requirements? 

There are many different relevant financial advisor courses that can help you qualify to work in this industry, each with its own entry requirements. These admissions criteria can vary between universities and will differ depending on the level of study and type of degree course being applied to. 

In general, you’ll need to have at least a 2:2 at undergraduate honours level to qualify for a taught master’s, though in some cases you’ll need a minimum of a 2:1. Applying with equivalent professional experience or qualifications can allow you to enrol with a lower grade, but this will be considered on an individual basis. 

Research and doctoral applicants will usually need a 2:1 or above at undergraduate level, as well as a master’s degree. 

Applicants will normally be expected to have their previous qualifications in a relevant area such as finance or economics. 

What skills do I need to become a financial advisor? 

Becoming a financial advisor calls for a distinct set of professional skills, along with an in-depth knowledge of financial services, laws, regulations and policies. 

Your professional knowledge is the keystone of your ability and value as a financial advisor. You’ll be aware of all the income, tax, investment and other financial laws and regulations that affect your clients. As a result, you’ll be able to view client finances with an experienced eye and attention to detail, identifying opportunities for your customers to reduce their tax expenses, increase financial security or access new investment options. 

In support of this, being able to communicate effectively to non-professionals is essential. You’ll need to be able to make clients feel at ease, help them understand their situation, and build their trust in your ability to manage and improve their finances. 

Being highly organised, attentive to small details, proficient with numbers and financial software, and able to manage a workload spanning multiple clients is also crucial to succeeding as a financial advisor. 

What universities offer finance courses? 

There is a dizzying array of study options on offer to aspiring financial advisors at postgraduate level. With over 300 postgraduate programmes in financial services available at more than 100 universities in the UK, it can feel overwhelming working which financial advisor courses are best for you. With the PGS course search tool, you can easily browse, filter and select your ideal programmes, allowing you to get stuck in to training for your future career. 

Next: Search for financial services courses


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