With the financial planning market experiencing greater demand than supply, Emma Ann Hughes looks at how the profession can attract the talent it needs
If you are still in employment today, you are bound to have been asked by individuals plunged into unemployment by measures to slow the spread of Covid-19, whether your profession is ‘viable’.
Well, as the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) evaluation of the impact of the Retail Distribution Review and the Financial Advice Market Review revealed in November – this is a profession that has greater demand than supply.
The FCA’s evaluation, published at the start of December, noted: “Those with more moderate incomes are not served as well by the market and may be missing out on opportunities to make their money work better for them in the longer term by investing it.” Clearly, more financial advisers and mortgage brokers are needed.
So, now is the time for financial advisers to spread the word about this profession, the rewarding careers available and how you can transform lives via engagement with clients.
As Keith Richards, CEO of the PFS, says: “Bringing new talent into the personal finance professions is a key element for the financial fortitude of the UK. We sit at the precipice of the largest intergenerational wealth transfer since records began.
“It is vital we bring a fresh wave of talented financial advisers and paraplanners into the profession, not just because it benefits them but because it benefits all of society.”
So, who should consider a career in this profession and how can an individual retrain, reskill and begin to help improve clients’ financial resilience?
When someone approaches you about entering the financial advice and mortgage broking profession, be clear about the qualities that are required to thrive in this profession.
Julian Hince, head of training at Quilter Financial Adviser School, says only professional, conscientious, enthusiastic, committed and loyal individuals with good communication skills and a real customer focus will do well in this profession.
He notes that, far from looking for those fresh out of school, the financial advice and mortgage broking profession is a great option for those with life experience who are looking to embark on a second career.
Mr Hince says: “In 2020, we placed ex-military, sports professionals, women returning to work, ex-policemen and more. They have a wealth of experience behind them, with a great transferrable skillset.”
When it comes to academic ability, Vivine Cameron, education partnerships manager at the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), says fresh entrants to the profession have at least achieved GCSEs but most these days have A-Levels or a degree.
She points out that the FCA requires financial advice professionals to be qualified to at least level four before being able to advise, which is the equivalent of a certificate of higher education.
To achieve the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning costs approximately £1,600 in 2020, according to
In terms of the amount of time you need to commit to obtain this professionalism, Ofqual has calculated it takes approximately 370 hours for a student to typically complete the CII’s Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning qualification.
From a sample of professionals questioned by the CII, qualifying can take anywhere from seven months using prior learning, up to 10 years to reach Chartered financial planner status.
When it comes to mortgage broking, to sign up to take the Certificate in Mortgage Advice – which is required for those seeking to give mortgage advice and anyone currently working in a non-advisory role in the mortgage market, such as technical consultants or those in support roles looking to progress – it cost £491 in 2020.
Ofqual calculated that it typically takes 160 hours to complete the CII’s qualification.
Quilter Financial Adviser School’s Mr Hince agrees there is no quick way to become qualified to offer financial and mortgage advice. He says typically it takes 47 weeks to obtain the qualifications required to offer financial advice and 26 weeks to become a mortgage adviser.
So, joining these professions requires commitment, but the rewards can be significant.
It is vital we bring a fresh wave of talented financial advisers and paraplanners into the profession, not just because it benefits them but because it benefits all of society
Having got the qualifications, Mr Hince recommends looking for work experience to show you have researched the role and spent time in the environment you want to work in.
Sarah Lord, president of the PFS, agrees that work experience is a great way to improve your knowledge of the profession and get to grips with what each role entails on a day-to-day basis.
Ms Lord says: “It is an opportunity to gain good insight to what would be expected of you and indeed whether it is a career that you wish to choose. It also demonstrates a commitment to pursuing a career in financial advice and/or mortgage advice.”
However, what are the options for individuals who need to earn cash right now and can’t afford to wait until they complete their studies before beginning a new career?
Mr Hince says his organisation encourages people to work alongside studying so they can put into practice what they are learning.
Mr Hince says: “It can be difficult to secure a job and hence sponsorship without knowing a financial adviser directly. However, it is not impossible.
“We had a great example through the school recently where a candidate had met an adviser at a networking event and took the opportunity to discuss work experience.
“Being an adviser has a lot to do with networking and relationship building and if you show these skills
and initiate that at the start, you will get you the opportunity that you want.”
Having obtained the work experience and qualifications required, the benefits of a career in financial and mortgage advice are endless.
As Mr Hince points out, there is huge demand and need for financial advisers in the UK, meaning those who qualify will have fantastic prospects for a fulfilling and varied career where you get to help people.
He says: “While some sectors have had to stop hiring during the pandemic, we’ve seen consistent volume of firms and graduates as the demand for financial advice continues. A big benefit, particularly for career changers, is you can make your hours or location work for you as it does not necessarily need to be office-based.
“Satisfaction, variety, flexibility and reward are all great benefits of being a financial adviser,” Mr Hince adds.
The CII surveyed 1,282 members who completed qualifications between April 2019 and July 2020 to understand how their qualification enhanced their career prospects.
The average salary of PFS members yet to qualify was £35,200. Those with a Certificate-level qualification earned an additional £2,100 a year at £37,300.
At Diploma level, the average salary jumps to £57,450 – a difference of £20,150. Members qualified to Advanced Diploma level earned a further £9,100, at £66,550 a year.
Fellows earned on average a further £3,950, taking home £70,500 a year.
More than eight out of 10 of those recently qualified believed their new qualification had made them more attractive to employers, while 77% believed it would increase their career options.
As PFS president Ms Lord concludes: “It is a very rewarding career, with being able to help individuals achieve what they want by providing them with the necessary advice.”
Who would not want a career where you can make a positive difference to the world in 2021? To find out more and purchase study texts and exam sittings needed to qualify to become a financial adviser or mortgage broker, visit: https://bit.ly/3gUuu3H
Emma Ann Hughes is communications director of the PFS