How to Become a Business Financial Advisor
In many aspects of life, it can be advantageous to seek a professionalís help to get the best results, and this is particularly appropriate when it comes to managing our finances. Whilst websites, TV programmes and magazines produce an abundance of investment information that we can draw upon when thinking about our finances, using a financial advisorís services can save us a lot of time. If you fancy taking on this role and advising individuals or businesses how they should spend their money, then see below for how to become a financial advisor.
What does a financial advisor do?
The primary role of a financial advisor is to offer financial guidance to their clients on how to manage their money. This can involve studying the marketplace and identifying the most suitable products and services available. This could be loans, insurance, investments, pensions, savings or any other service that could enhance their clientís financial situation.
Typical daily activities for a financial advisor include attending meetings with clients to establish their current financial situation and future goals, determining which product or service will help their clients reach these goals, explaining the advantages of each option to clients to help them make an informed decision, regularly analysing the market and creating financial reports, and informing clients of any updates in their investments.
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Am I right for the job?
One of the most important personality traits to make a good financial advisor is to be an excellent communicator. You will be providing your services to people from a range of backgrounds, many of whom will lack an understanding of their options. Therefore, it is crucial that you are able to simplify complex financial language in a way that your clients can comprehend. You should possess great analytical skills in order to read the market and establish a good rapport with your regular clients. Itís also key to be approachable, possess great interpersonal skills, be trustworthy and an excellent listener. Also, you should be objective-orientated and have strong financial acumen.
Whilst it is rewarding helping people feel more comfortable with their finances, it is also a demanding career that can involve working long hours. But what qualifications do you need?
What qualifications do I need?
It isnít essential to have a degree to become a financial advisor. However, due to the competitiveness of the industry, having a specialised qualification in financial advisory services should help give you the edge. That being said, degrees in accountancy, business management or financial studies would help improve your chances too. And, gaining some experience in a sales, customer service or financial services role would be looked on fondly. People often begin their career working in a bank and studying part-time and learning from experienced financial advisors. Or, another popular route is starting out as a paraplanner, providing admin support and research to a financial advisor.
Opening a Financial Advisor Business
You could launch a financial advisor business in a home office or rent an office space for meeting with clients. The demand for financial advisors is increasing due to the aging baby boomer population who need help planning for investments, estate planning and insurance. If you have a background in the industry and are keen to share your expertise, then starting a financial advisor business could be your next business venture. But what are the steps?
1. Create a business plan. Think about your niche market, marketing strategies and your future goals.
2. Name your business. Many financial advisors simply name the business after them, but if you plan on growing the business and using more financial advisors, then a more neutral brand name might be better.
3. Arrange your office space. You could opt to work mainly on the phone, or you could work with clients face-to-face. This will influence where you set up your office.
4. Get authorisation from FCA.
5. Create contacts with each service and product company. You should request applications and marketing information as you will liaise between the companies selling insurance and other financial products and services and your client. You can then have marketing information ready to share with clients and the relevant applications to submit when a client agrees to the suggested product or service.
6. Build a website. Make sure that it lists all of your financial services and how they will benefit clients. You may also wish to share your background in the industry. A USP for your business could be to create a blog and articles that share expert financial advice and tips. This will help potential clients perceive you as a credible and knowledgeable source of information.
How can a financial advisor help a small business?
Here are some ways that a financial advisor can help small businesses:
- Budget for a fluctuating income. This will help ensure that your budget can withstand a few years of low income.
- Succession planning. This is important when a business is taken over by a new leader.
- Estate planning. This helps small business owners choose the most appropriate investments to transfer their wealth to their heirs.
- Sale of business. This helps to value a business, get its financials ready for sale and negotiate terms.
- Acquiring other businesses. Financial advisors can examine acquisition markets, review financials and figure out how to gain necessary funding.
- Business growth. Financial advisors can suggest the type of financial products or services that will work best for your business.
Good financial advisors should be prepared to answer the following questions from small business owners if they want them to choose their services:
1. Commission-based or fee-based?
2. Do you specialise in small businesses?
3. What qualifications do you have?
4. How will you save me time?
5. How will you offer a personalised client service?
6. How are you keeping up with technological advancements within the industry?
7. Are you capable of formulating a business succession plan?
8. Do you have any references?
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©
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