Alternative routes to becoming a Financial Advisor

Alternative routes to becoming a Financial Advisor
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Traditional education is generally considered the default route into a successful career. Although it certainly is an entry point, there are many other great options to help you begin a fulfilling and lasting career. So, what are the alternative routes to becoming a Financial Advisor?

What is an apprenticeship? An apprenticeship is a paid working opportunity for learners to develop their skills and gain valuable experience in a professional environment. The majority of your working will be on-the-job experience with some accompanying study (at least 20%) through a college or university. At the end of an apprenticeship, you will receive a qualification and should be well skilled in your chosen profession.

A woman receiving training from her peer

Apprenticeships for Financial Advisors

The standard for the Financial Advisor apprenticeship has been designed for individuals with little to no experience, making it an ideal option for aspiring Advisors looking to join the industry. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires Financial Advisor apprentices to pass an FCA-approved Level 4 qualification in order to obtain a license to practice. By achieving one of these qualifications through their apprenticeship, apprentices can apply for professional registration to the relevant Professional Body and begin their career as a professional Financial Advisor. 

What will you learn?

The learning objectives of the Financial Advisor Apprenticeship aim to give learners a comprehensive understanding of the role. You will be taught what key competencies an Advisor must have, such as a detailed understanding of the Financial Services Market. You will also learn the necessary skills and behaviours a Financial Advisor must demonstrate, for example having excellent customer service skills and a professional, ethical attitude. 

If you are considering applying for a Financial Advisor apprenticeship, we recommend you read through the apprenticeship standard to gain a detailed understanding of what you will be learning throughout your course. It may also be beneficial to research some of the providers of the Financial Advisor apprenticeship, for example Simply Academy, to help you understand what resources will be offered and how you will be supported through your learning. 

One of the other common routes to becoming a Financial Advisor is through entry level positions such as a Financial Administrator or Paraplanner role. These types of roles don’t initially require as much experience or industry knowledge as a Financial Advisor position, therefore can be a great option to enter the industry. 

Although these are fulfilling career options in of themselves, they are also excellent stating points to work up to a Financial Advisor role. Take a look on our jobs page to find what entry level positions we currently have available to begin your career in Financial Advice!

A career change is always possible! Moving from another role into Financial Services can give you an advantage as the experience from your previous role can be hugely beneficial. You may enter into a Financial Advice role with a fresh perspective and a new approach that can help you to continually innovate. You may also find you are able to relate to clients in unique ways as you might have shared life experiences or have walked similar paths. 

If you are thinking about a career change, consider:

  • Reaching out to current Financial Advisors – We recommend you find out as much as possible about the role of a Financial Advisor. Contacting someone already in the industry is a great way to do this as they will be able to give you a realistic overview and insider knowledge of the role. 
  • Enquiring about work experience – Contact firms and enquire about potential opportunities they may be willing to offer. You could potentially even find an entry level position to help kickstart your career change.
  • Consider your strengths – Identify your key skills and consider which are transferrable, such as project management, problem solving, or leadership skills. These are all great skills to mention during an interview, especially as Financial Advisor interviews are usually competency based meaning the interviewer will be looking for these traits!

For more advice and guidance on changing careers, read this step-by-step guide by Indeed, or take a look at this article from Prospects. 

There can be some misconception about what exactly it takes to succeed as a Financial Advisor. Regardless of the route you take, you must have the right key skills and traits to support you in your career – but what are they?

  • Maths skills – Although being highly skilled in maths is beneficial, a basic understanding will serve you equally well. As long as you possess the knowledge required to create financial plans and support your understanding of accounting and economics, further understanding is not necessary. 
  • People skills – An important and large part of a Financial Advisors role is developing and maintaining relationships with other people, specifically clients or colleagues in a firm. Aspiring Advisors must have good communication skills, listening skills, and customer service skills. 
  • Analytical skills – Financial Advisors must have analytical skills in order to effectively analyse data and identify current trends or patterns in the market. Having analytical skills will also aid in problem solving and tackling any financial challenges a client may be facing. 
  • Collaborative skills – Being able to work collaboratively in a team is crucial as many Financial Advisors work as part of a larger firm, therefore will often interact with other departments. 

For an aspiring Financial Advisor, there is a variety of routes to choose from. Education is a fantastic choice but be sure to also consider the other options as well to ensure you are choosing the best path for you!

Looking for your next career move? Take a look at the job opportunities we currently have available on our website!