What Does a Financial Advisor Do? (Job Duties and Qualifications)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many people who love math and finance choose to pursue careers in financial advising. Financial advisors help their clients understand and plan their finances. If you're interested in becoming a financial advisor, it's helpful to understand the details of the career so you can decide if it's the right fit for you. In this article, we explain the role of a financial advisor and the qualifications you need to enter this career.

What is a financial advisor?

A financial advisor is a finance professional who works to help people understand their finances and create financial plans. They also help their clients set and achieve financial goals. Financial advisors can work for banks and investment firms, and they can also be self-employed. These professionals can also specialise in a certain area of finance, like investing or retirement planning. In most locations, financial advisors need licenses to buy and sell securities.

Related: Financial Planner vs. Financial Advisor: Responsibilities and Differences

What does a financial advisor do?

Financial advisors play an important role in helping their clients manage their finances. Some specific job responsibilities of financial advisors include:

Helping clients understand their finances

One of the major job responsibilities of a financial advisor is to help clients understand their financial situations. They do this by meeting with their clients and compiling information about their income, spending, assets and other financial data. This gives them a clear idea of the client's financial state, and they can use this information to help the client with their finances.

Creating financial plans for clients

Financial advisors are also responsible for creating financial plans to help their clients meet their goals. Financial advisors create these plans by reviewing their client's financial data. Financial plans are in-depth and comprehensive, they can include a range of information like income, debt, investments and assets. The overarching purpose of creating these plans is to help clients follow a path to retirement.

Offering recommendations to clients

Financial advisors also offer their clients recommendations on financial strategies. This can include recommending investments and helping clients create portfolios. Financial advisors customise their recommendations for each client based on their age, comfort level with risk and other factors.

Monitoring client progress

Another responsibility of financial advisors is to monitor the progress their clients make on working towards their financial goals. They typically continue to meet with their clients periodically to discuss their finances and make changes to their financial plans. They can also guide clients through major purchases and asset sales.

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How do financial advisors make money?

Financial advisors usually make money through either commissions or fees. Most financial advisors work on a commission basis, which means their income correlates to the number of assets they manage or securities they buy and sell for a client. However, working on a fee basis means that financial advisors get paid based on a pre-made agreement with their clients, which is often an hourly rate.

In Hong Kong, the average base salary for financial advisors is $322,112 per year. It's notable that this salary figure can vary based on years of experience, company and a number of other factors. You may be able to increase your salary potential by pursuing a master's degree or other advanced education.

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Qualifications for becoming a financial advisor

If you want to become a financial advisor, it's important to develop the qualifications required for the career. Some of the most important qualifications for financial advisors include:

Education

Education is an essential qualification for financial advisors. Typically, entry-level financial advisors need at least a bachelor's degree. You can major in finance or a closely related field like accounting, business or economics. You can also pursue a master's degree to advance your career. Search for master's programmes in finance or business, and try to take courses in financial planning, investing and other courses related to financial advising.

Training

Often, financial advisors also receive specific training to help them learn to do their jobs. They often complete on-the-job training. In this training, they learn how to perform their specific job and learn about company policies and regulations. They can also shadow experienced financial advisors and emulate their practices in their own job.

Skills

Financial advisors also need specific skills to excel in their careers. Some valuable skills for this profession include:

  • Customer service: Financial advisors need strong skills in customer service to help them work with clients and handle tasks professionally.

  • Communication: Communication is another important skill for financial advisors, who need to communicate with clients and form relationships with them. They also use written communication skills to prepare financial plans.

  • Listening: In addition to providing advice to their clients, financial advisors also need to listen to them. They can use listening skills to understand their clients' financial situations and make them feel heard.

  • Goal setting: Financial advisors should also know how to set solid goals for their clients and create plans to achieve them. They should also know how to monitor their clients' progress towards meeting their goals.

  • Business acumen: Business acumen is also useful for financial advisors, as understanding business processes is critical to excelling in this career.

  • Analytical skills: Financial advisors also use analytical skills, including research, data analysis and problem-solving, to analyse financial data and create financial plans.

  • Organisation: It's important for financial advisors to organise financial data for a variety of clients, making organisation an important skill for this profession.

  • Trustworthiness: Trustworthiness is another important quality for financial advisors, as these professionals need to establish trust with their clients in order to make them feel comfortable.

  • Financial technology: Financial advisors should also know how to use financial technology, including spreadsheet software, to organise their clients' financial information and create financial plans.

Related: Excel Skills: Definition and Examples

Licenses

Getting licensed is another important part of becoming a financial advisor. In Hong Kong, financial advisors need licenses from the Securities and Future Commission (SFC) and Confederation of Insurance Brokers (CIB). If you want to become a financial advisor, it's important to obtain these licenses to ensure you comply with regulations.

Work experience

Most financial advisors also have relevant work experience in the financial sector. You can expand your professional experience by completing internships or getting entry-level jobs in finance. During these experiences, try to learn skills in investing and financial planning to prepare for a career as a financial advisor. You can also observe high-level financial professionals to learn from them.

Certifications

Although financial advisor jobs don't require certifications, they can be valuable qualifications for these professionals. Earning certifications can help you prove to potential employers that you have professional training in your field. You can search for certifications in finance, business, asset management and other related areas.

Tips for becoming a financial advisor

Here are some tips you can use to help you start a career as a financial advisor:

Craft an impressive financial advisor CV

One tip for becoming a financial advisor is to create a CV. Creating a CV is an opportunity to showcase your top qualifications as a financial advisor. Your CV can include sections like:

  • Name and contact information

  • Professional summary statement

  • Professional experience

  • Education

  • Skills

  • Certifications

You can also add your CV information to your professional profile if you want this information to be public to clients and potential employers. If you're applying to financial advisor jobs, be sure to customise your resume for each job.

Expand your professional network

Another tip for advancing your career as a financial advisor is to expand your professional network. You can expand your professional network by using networking websites and attending industry events. You can use your network to connect with clients and potential employers.

Market yourself

Once you start working as a financial advisor, you can use marketing techniques to grow your client base. Whether you work independently or work for a firm, you can build your personal brand on social media. You can also pay to create advertisements to help you reach potential clients.

Invest in professional development

Another tip for becoming a great financial advisor is to invest in your professional development. You can pursue additional certifications to advance your career. You can also learn additional skills and knowledge by taking online courses, reading books and taking advantage of professional training opportunities. This can help you improve yourself as a job candidate and excel in your career.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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