- A good starting point to become a financial planner is obtaining a degree in something financial such as business management, economics or mathematics
- Financial planners help their clients to improve their financial position, both short-term and long-term through savings plans, investments, tax, accounting and pensions
- At the highest level, you could be earning a salary of around £60K or £100K if you work in private wealth management, but being self-employed could pose even higher salaries
- A financial planner requires great communication skills and high levels of numeracy
What Does A Financial Planner Do?
Financial Planners are responsible for helping their clients to manage their finances, savings and investments including:
- Debt management
- Tax planning
A typical client might be an individual, a family or a limited company – and the financial planner will be involved to get an idea of their financial position and offer the right kinds of products to create short-term and long-term value, educating the client along the way.
The financial planner may be salaried or self-employed, but the business generates revenue by taking a fee from the individual client and a broker fee from the financial product they sell (such as bonds, savings, investments)
Within financial planning, there is the option to focus on specific areas of specialisation; these can include, but are not limited to taxes, debt management and superannuation.
What Qualifications Are Needed for a Career as a Financial Planner?
A bachelor’s degree is usually a necessary requirement for a career as a Financial Planner and should be in a relevant subject. These include Economics, Business, Business Management and Finance or Accounting. Certain courses in UK universities are accredited by the FCA.
That being said, it is possible to enter the sector without a degree if they can demonstrate key personal qualities and relevant experience in industries such as financial services, sales or customer service.
Following your degree, you will need to obtain a Diploma in Financial Planning (provided by the CISI). This will allow you Certified Financial Planner (CFP) status. However, first you will also need to hold an up-to-date Retail Distribution Review (RDR) compliant qualification as well as a current and valid Statement of Professional Standing (SPS).
In certain companies, financial planners may be encouraged or advised to continue their education alongside their full-time employment with industry-specific qualifications.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Certified Financial Planner?
In order to become a certified financial planner, candidates must first pass the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards exam (CFP board), undergo a minimum of three years of documented work experience and agree to a code of ethics.
This is in addition to completing a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, which is typically a minimum of 3 years.
What Certifications & Licenses Do Qualified Financial Planners Need?
To become a qualified financial planner, there are certain requirements including specific professional qualifications, all of which are regulated by the FCA,
In order to officially deliver financial advice, prospective financial planners must achieve minimum Level 4 qualifications in any of the following:
- Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) – Investment Advice Diploma
- Chartered Banker Institute – Diploma in Professional Financial Advice
- The London Institute of Baking & Finance – Diploma for Financial Advisers
- SQA/Calibrand Diploma in Professional Financial Advice.
- Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) – Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning
For financial planners who want to provide advice on specific subjects, such as mortgages or stocks and shares, they will need to take additional courses.
What Skills Are Needed To Be a Financial Planner?
At its core, being a successful financial planner is largely dependent on good people skills. A financial planner will need to work closely with clients to understand their specific financial needs; subsequently, they will need excellent interpersonal, listening and communication skills. This will help them establish and maintain long-term relationships with clients. Additionally, they will need to be able to explain complex ideas in layman’s terms.
They will need acute research and analytical skills in order to assess the best financial options for their clients and advise accordingly. This also will involve an element of teamwork as they will need to work with different departments to get the relevant information. Often, this will rely on an aptitude for numeracy and IT skills as well.
A financial planner will need an ethical and professional approach to work and always work in the best interest of the client. Their relationships with clients will need to be established based on trust and they must always understand the need for discretion and client confidentiality.
How Much Does A Financial Planner Earn Per Year?
Income will vary depending on the level of a financial planner’s career. Trainee advisor salary typically ranges from £22,000 to £30,000. Once qualified, this figure can increase to up to £45,000.
If financial planners are working as senior financial advisors for average-wealth clients can look to earn around £60,000. For those working for private clients or as wealth managers, these financial planners can be earning in excess of £100,000.
Depending on the company and the salary structure, financial planners may also be earning bonuses and commission.