Kick Start Your Financial Planning Career
As our specialism is purely Financial Planning for private clients, in this blog I’ll map out the typical career path for someone wanting to become a Financial Advisor, along with some valuable tips for you to consider along this journey.
We get asked so many questions;
“How do I start my career in financial planning?”
“I’ve been an administrator for a number of years now, how can I move into a Paraplanning position?”
“My goal is to become an advisor, what should I be doing and what should I be keeping an eye out for?”
It can sometimes be challenging for someone to secure a career in financial planning. Starting off, it might not be about what you know, but who you know. We’ve all heard that saying before. However, it will most likely be dependent on your background, experience, and qualifications.
Like most industries and careers, some choose the financial planning path and other may just fall into it. I was speaking with a candidate recently and asked, “why did you choose a career in financial planning?” They simply replied, “I didn’t!” They secured an Intern placement for a large national, was then offered a fulltime position, and 5 years later they were diploma qualified working as a Paraplanner and training to become an Adviser. One person’s reality is another’s dream!
Where to start?
Rolling back the clock a little, Bancassurance would have been a solid starting point for someone pursuing a career in financial planning. Nowadays, you don’t seem to see that as much as most companies invest a lot of time into their staff and professional development. Some offer graduate programmes and some simply have structured training and fantastic exam support to give someone an excellent start in their career.
Administration is where you’ll typically start your career, and you’ll usually find someone in this role for 2 – 4 years. During that time and depending on where you want your career to go, my first tip for you would be to study! Study those exams, either through the CII which if I’m being completely honest is the most preferred route for potential employers or through the LIBF. Even if it’s not supported by your current employer, if possible, try and do them off your own back. I’m not talking about funding the whole diploma if you didn’t want to, but getting your teeth into some modules will not only give you a better understanding of the industry and the regulation, but you’ll start to get a feel as to what direction you want your career to go down.
You now have a couple of years of administration experience with a few exams or the diploma under your belt, so what next? Before you start searching job boards or speaking with recruiters, have you spoken with your manager and discussed your career ambitions? Are they onboard and supportive or do you need to start exploring your options?
One thing you shouldn’t be doing at this point is rushing to find your next employer and job role. This opportunity must be able to offer you what you’re not getting with your current employer but must also get you to where you need to be with structured training and support. Usually, we would find someone in this position looking for a Junior Paraplanning or another Administration role with a clear career path to achieving the Paraplanning job title. Bear in mind, most companies require their Paraplanners to hold the level 4 diploma, so the more exams that you’ve achieved will definitely give you an advantage. Regardless of what job title you manage to secure, you’ll need to understand what is expected and the time scales for you to step into a full time Paraplanning role.
Achieving your career goals!
Paraplanning, this is where individuals usually work out if they’ve found their specialism or whether they’re still striving towards becoming an adviser. Either way they would have been in this job role for the past 3 – 5 years and now thinking, what’s next? Firstly, don’t let the studying stop! You should most definitely be continuing with your studies and working towards achieving Chartered Status.
The perfect situation would be that your current employer is now involving you with more client meetings, maybe letting you manage the annual reviews for some of their clients, overseeing all of your work and aiming to sign you off with CAS. Naturally you’ll start to step away from your Paraplanning duties and be more focussed on generating new business and servicing the existing book of business. This will give you the skills needed to become a successful Financial Planner.
We have helped 100’s of individuals with their Financial Planning careers if you have any questions about your development path or you want to know what questions to ask your current employer then please don’t hesitate to reach-out.
Co-Founder at Antony George Recruitment
Photo Credit: Omid Armin