Are you at the beginning of your financial services career but don’t know how to become a financial adviser? The road into financial planning in the UK isn’t an easy one, and there are many paraplanner qualifications and certificates in financial planning needed before your financial planning or paraplanning career can really take off.
Do I have to go to university to become a financial adviser or paraplanner?
The short answer: No. There are many different routes to consider when becoming a financial adviser.
So, what qualifications and route do you take and how do you get from A to B successfully?
Finance, Business and Economic graduates leave University without guidance on the different routes into the financial planning profession or knowing anything about how to launch their financial adviser career. They may study through a specific training examination body to gain Level 4 qualifications, but not always in their desired field, and have to find a way to bridge the gap in order to give full financial advice or specific investment advice.
Other candidates who are looking to get into the industry self-fund their exams and may look for the cheapest and easiest route to gaining the level 4 diploma in financial planning, but may come up against a stumbling block with potential employers for having taken a less desirable exam route.
Currently, a lot of employers will not pay more for candidates who have taken it upon themselves to gain qualifications without experience, opting for financial advice, administration, or paraplanner candidates with experience instead. With this in mind, are candidates better off finding an entry-level role in a company that offers full exam support and paid for financial adviser qualifications in-line with the company’s preferred examination board?
What entry level role should you take on your way to becoming a financial planner? And, what should be your key considerations?
We often work on trainee paraplanner jobs, and mainly work on two different types of entry level positions – Jobs as a Trainee Financial Adviser or Administrator within a financial services firm.
Starting in an administrator position within a Financial Services job environment will generally be a long- term strategy to get where you want. To be credible for future employers you will need to spend a minimum of two years within the role or with the company to show commitment to your chosen profession, employer and training and development. If the employer is helping to fund your study and qualifications towards gaining the Level 4 Diploma, it’s important to assess the type of company that you will be employed by and what the financial adviser qualifications will allow you to do once achieved. This could have a bearing on your next move internally or externally. For example, we often have clients that will not consider someone with the Level 4 Investment advice diploma for a paraplanner or Financial Adviser role, so it is important to know which financial adviser qualifications are needed for your desired career path.
When thinking about how to become a financial planner, most administrators would see it as a natural step to move into a paraplanner role to support financial planners before stepping into a financial planner role themselves.
This allows them to get closer to the financial planning process, carry out analysis, make recommendations, potentially gain exposure to the client and determine the answer to the question “what does a paraplanner do”? Having exposure to the role before stepping into it themselves will help them understand what is involved in a paraplanner role, and help them determine if it’s the right next step in their financial adviser career. Dealing with real life client situations allows them to practice their knowledge and gain experience. A lot of employers may encourage the paraplanner to also take further qualifications working towards becoming a Chartered Financial Adviser. The career route could take 4 -5 years before the opportunity to give advice arises.
The entry level Trainee Adviser role is often open to Graduates with a relevant degree (Finance/Economics/ Business) who are looking to get into the profession and develop their financial adviser career from an early point, the trainee adviser will shadow and assist a Financial Adviser whilst gaining the relevant IFA qualifications. The trainee role will develop the soft skills, business development and sales skills required for them to successfully develop a client book and become a Financial Adviser. This is normally a 1-2 year process, and the employer will have a development plan in place to help them transition into an Adviser.
Why joining a financial planning training academy could be the best way to launch your career
As a way of bringing new people into the profession, many companies are now setting up their own academies. These academies can all offer different variations of similar opportunities. For example, some companies will fund your qualifications whilst being able to remain in your current role. Whilst other academies will offer a route which is more typical to that of an apprenticeship: taking a lower salary, whilst you start your new career and receive training from them.
Some companies will prefer candidates who are more suited to being self employed, whilst being guided by the firm, also offering a set amount of guaranteed leads to assure a successful start to your career. Whilst other academies will offer employed routes into advice for those looking for that extra security and continued guidance.
What’s in it for the company?!
This is a question we get asked a lot. Wow, this seems too good to be true, why would a company fund my qualifications, even if I’m not employed by them? Well, as well as bringing in new talent to the profession as a whole, it’s also provides great opportunities for the companies growth. They are able to grow by training people up to make them a perfect fit for their own company.
Overall, an academy route can be incredibly flexible and worthwhile, allowing you to choose the way in which you want to start your career in financial planning. If you want to learn more about academies and which one is the best fit for you, get in touch with us today.
Advising and Paraplanning are two separate careers and should be treated as such
A job role as a Paraplanner is now a fulfilling career option and we are glad that it’s being recognised as an important role within the financial planning profession. Paraplanner jobs in London are now being paid in the region of £45,000 – 65,000 and across the rest of the UK up to £55,000. (for more information on salaries, check out our 2022 free salary guide here.) its also worth noting that this job role can now be self-employed with the option of running your own outsourced paraplanning services and hiring paraplanners and administrators to work.
It’s important when thinking about your financial adviser career to consider your timescales, how long you think you will take to complete cii exams? At what point in your career you wish to advise? What sort of working hours you want? What working environment you prefer? How much you want to earn?
How can Recruit UK help?
We can have a discussion with you to assist you with some important decisions and guide you on your career path. We work with a wide range of clients who have different opinions on their ideal candidate and we are confident about making the right match that will suit your career development, working to your timescales and desires. Arrange a free consultation here.