How do you become a financial adviser?

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Official recognition by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

In the UK, the key step in becoming a financial adviser is to obtain a level 4 qualification in financial advice recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)1 . Recognition by the FCA only takes place if certain conditions are met. As stated on the FCA website, it is necessary to have “a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) issued by an accredited body” and “an appropriate qualification (as set out in our Training and Competence (TC) Sourcebook, specifically TC Appendix 4)” . To this must also be added compliance with ethical requirements. Once the FCA approves, you can be placed on the authority’s official register.

Some diplomas valid for professional recognition

It is worth mentioning at least three diplomas recognised by the FCA, which allow one to be officially recognised as a financial adviser: a) Diploma for Financial Advisers from the London Institute of Banking and Finance, b) Investment Advice Diploma from the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, c) Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning from the Chartered Insurance Institute3 . There are also private financial companies that offer officially recognised courses to qualify as financial advisors.

The multifaceted profession of financial adviser

While the key to becoming a financial advisor is official recognition with the FCA, there is no single career path that precedes that step. There are, however, two possible paths. On the one hand, one can undertake university studies specifically aimed at business and financial management. On the other hand, one can start with an apprenticeship in a financial company or a bank (typically, in the role of client adviser). One should not forget that financial specialisations can be very diverse (from mortgages to pensions, from investments to savings plans).


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