Are you interested in finance and business and passionate about helping people manage their money to achieve their financial goals? Then, a career as a Financial Advisor may be perfect for you.
Financial Advisors are trained professionals helping their clients understand different aspects of finance such as budgeting, investment, savings, insurance, and tax issues linked with investment options to help them realize their future goals.
Since the finance industry is heavily regulated, Financial Advisor qualifications are essential for anyone who wish to pursue a career. You need to complete a FASEA-approved degree like a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, commerce, economics, or business, including a one-year of supervised professional experience in an entry-level role to work as a Financial Advisor in Australia.
If you are interested in pursuing a career as a Financial Advisor, this blog will help you. Find out who is a Financial Advisor, what he does, how much he earns, what skills and qualifications he needs, and the steps to land a Financial Advisor job in Australia.
1. What Are Financial Advisors?
Financial Advisors are professionals with a high level of financial literacy and an in-depth understanding of investment strategies and market performance.
They use their knowledge and skills to make recommendations to clients on investments, tax laws, and insurance based on their current financial health and desired financial objectives.
Financial Advisors are qualified to guide individuals and organizations on how to set realistic long-term or short-term financial goals and implement plans to reach them.
2. Financial Advisor’s Duties
The task of a financial advisor is to assist clients in investing and managing their money sensibly to achieve their desired financial objectives, such as saving for a house or retirement, building up savings, lowering debts, and tax burdens, etc.
Here is a complete list of general tasks that a Financial Advisor performs daily:
Discuss with clients to understand and analyze their current financial situation.
Help clients identify and outline their short-term and long-term goals.
Educate clients on several aspects of finance and investment and act in their best interest at all times.
Research finance products and investment opportunities.
Develop step-wise financial strategies and a plan for clients to accomplish desired outcomes.
Recommend investment, retirement planning, and superannuation options to help clients meet their financial objectives.
Carry out market research and analysis
Follow relevant professional standards and stay updated with government regulations
3. Financial Advisor Skills
The below skills are essential for building a successful financial advisor career.
Great numerical skills
Experience in related work areas, such as investment, taxation, superannuation, insurance, and estate planning.
Thorough understanding of insurance instruments and financial products
A good understanding of ethical principles and government regulations
Knowledge of Microsoft Office programs such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook
Able to work while complying with the Financial Planners and Advisers Code of Ethics and Security Exchange Commission rules and guidelines.
Genuine desire to assist people in achieving their short-term and long-term financial goals.
Like advising clients on risk management, wealth creation, and retirement planning.
Strong aptitude for research
Good planning and strategizing skills
A strong understanding of ethics
Excellent at problem-solving
Good interpersonal and communication skills
Able to work under pressure
Ability to mentor/train junior financial advisors
Able to work well with diverse people
Willingness to learn the computer system, and software used by the institution
Like staying up-to-date with changes in monetary rules and regulations
4. What Qualifications Do I Need To Become A Financial Advisor?
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is the professional body that regulates this financial advisory profession. It is also responsible for laying down the mandatory requisites for candidates to work in this profession.
According to ASIC training requirements, you must complete an accredited degree and a year of professional experience to work as a Financial Advisor in Australia.
Here is how you can qualify for this role:
Complete a government-approved financial advisor course like a 3-years of full-time Bachelor of Business (Financial Planning), a Bachelor of Business (Finance), or a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance).
Undertake 1-year of supervised professional experience in an entry-level role. The training generally includes at least 1,500 hours of work activities and 100 hours of structured training at a financial advisory institution that holds an Australian Financial Services License from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Pass the financial adviser examination conducted by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority.
Though optional, earning certification with an industry association such as the Certified Financial Planner or Financial Planning Association of Australia will improve your employability for this position.
Join a recognized industry body like the Association of Financial Planners or the Financial Planning Association of Australia to pursue relevant certifications.
5. How To Become Financial Advisor In Australia?
Step 1: Gain A FASEA-Approved Degree
To become a financial advisor, you must complete a FASEA-approved relevant qualification.
These courses are for aspiring and early-career financial planners to help them gain the skills and knowledge required to provide personalized and professional financial advice per the FASEA code of ethics and professional standards.
The courses teach decision-making, problem-solving, and people skills to build trusted relationships, and the confidence to provide reliable financial advice and work up to the client’s expectations.
Here is a list of accredited financial advisor courses that can prepare you to kickstart your journey as a professional financial advisor:
Step 2: Complete Your Professional Year
The next step to being fully qualified is to complete a professional year. It is a legal requirement for aspiring financial advisors to offer their fee-based financial advisory services in Australia.
The professional year equates to one full-time year where you complete 1600 hours of work, which comprises 100 hours of structured training. You learn client engagement and financial advice preparation during that year.
Step 3: Pass the FASEA exam
After completing the professional year, you are ready to take the written FASEA exam, which is six times a year. It is 3.5 hours of exam that comprises multiple-choice and written answer questions.
You will be tested on legal and regulatory requirements, code of ethics, and financial advice construction. Those who pass the exam can work with clients under indirect supervision.
Step 4: Gain Post Graduate Qualification (Optional)
You can consider completing an accredited postgraduate qualification such as a Master of Financial Planning, or Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning to broaden your skills and career options.
The Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning - Victoria University’s Online. This financial advisor course online meets FASEA’s education requirements and puts you on the path to becoming a financial adviser in Australia.
However, the Master of Financial Planning course gives you a more holistic set of business skills and focuses on corporate finance, financial management, leadership, and business consulting.
Step 5: Apply For A Certification (Optional)
Though optional, earning certification with a recognized organization such as the Financial Planning Association of Australia makes you more employable for the role and increases your earning potential.
Popular certifications to consider are as follows:
Certified Financial Planner
Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner
Chartered Life Practitioner
Certified Investment Management Analyst
Certified Practising Accountants
6. Obtain Entry-Level Employment With A Licensee
Candidates who hold the required qualification can start applying for jobs. They can seek entry-level positions with companies having an Australian Financial Services Licence from ASIC or practising Financial Advisors.
7. Continue Your Professional Development
Lifelong learning is necessary for Financial Advisors who want to take their career to a higher level of hierarchy and business leadership.
FASEA’s Continuing Professional Development Standard requires completing 40 hours of CPD each year in various forms, from coursework to professional reading and videos and keeping accurate and complete records of your CPD activities.
National Resources For Financial Advisor:
8. How Much Do Financial Advisors Make In Australia?
According to PayScale, the average financial advisor salary in Australia is AU$80,736 per year or equivalent to AU$34.58 per hour. Financial Advisors usually earn more once they gain experience and build expertise.
Entry-level Financial Advisors (<1-year experience): AU$60,750 per year
Early career Financial Advisors (1-4 years of experience): AU$70,348 per year
Mid-career Financial Advisors (5-9 years of experience): AU$89,424 per year
Experienced Financial Advisors (10-19 years of experience): AU$102,594 per year
Financial Advisors in different cities of Australia:
Adelaide: $144,246 per year
Melbourne: $112,844 per year
Brisbane: $107,448 per year
Gold Coast: $107,189 per year
Sydney: $101,369 per year
Canberra: $96,305 per year
Perth: $80,138 per year
9. Where Do Financial Advisors Work?
Financial advisors work in financial institutions such as investment banks, insurance companies, financial advisory firms, and mutual fund companies. Some even choose to be self-employed and set up their financial advisory practice.
They assess the financial needs of individuals or institutional clients and help them achieve diverse financial goals, such as:
Select the right investment instrument (money market, stocks, bonds, real estate investments)
Explain tax laws for their chosen investments and
Help with insurance decisions.
10. Work Environment For Financial Advisors
Financial Advisors usually work in an office setting but may sometimes require travel to meet their clients in their offices to discuss their financial goals and strategies to realize them.
They mostly work regular business hours. However, due to new product launches and investment services now and then, they need to work overtime to do analysis, research, and continuing education.
11. Job Outlook For Financial Advisors In Australia
ANZSCO Occupation Group: 222311 Financial Investment Advisors
Australia has a rapidly -growing, dynamic, and globally recognized financial planning industry that goes way beyond just handling money and balancing accounts.
The huge demand for financial professionals indicates a bright future in Australia and worldwide. Nowadays, more and more companies require them to apply sustainable solutions to social concerns and global issues that impact government, business, and the community.
According to Labour Market Insights, employment for financial advisors has grown very strong in the past five years, and the long-term career outlook is also very positive.
At present, the country needs more financial advisors than ever. There are abundant opportunities for aspirants to build long-term relationships with people and bring a real difference in their lives. The government projects that the number of financial advisor jobs will grow 10% by 2025.
Around 85% of employed Financial Investment Advisers work full-time for an average of 44 hours per week.
Major Industries For Employment
Financial And Insurance Services: 85.9%
Professional, Scientific, And Technical Services: 5.8%
Rental, Hiring, And Real Estate Services: 1.8%
Public Administration And Safety: 1.5%
Other Industries: 4.3%
Percentage of Employment across Australia
Though Financial Advisors work all across the country, Victoria has a large share of employment.
New South Wales: 33.5%
South Australia: 6.6%
Western Australia: 9.1%
Northern Territory: 0.3%
Australian Capital Territory: 1.5%
Worker’s Age and Gender profile
The average age of Financial Investment Advisers is 41 years, with most of them working between 35 to 44 years. It is similar to the average of all jobs, 40 years.
Females constitute 31% of the workforce which is 17 percentage points less than the average of all other jobs, 48%.
12. Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
What Are The Career Pathways Available For Financial Advisors?
Accredited Financial Advisors can choose from a multitude of potential career opportunities, including:
Financial Planner/Financial Advisor
Insurance Advisor /Risk Advisor
The Financial Advice Practice Manager
Investment Adviser/ Manager
What Are The Available Areas of Specialization For Financial Advisors?
If you are a financial advisor looking to change your career can specialize in the below areas to pursue a range of roles in diverse businesses such as:
What Is The Best Qualification For A Financial Advisor?
You must study an approved course at the bachelor’s level (AQF 7) or higher and meet the legal requirements to become a financial adviser.
Based on your qualifications and experience, you have the following three pathways available:
Pathway 1: Vocational Courses
If you don’t meet the prerequisites to enter a bachelor’s qualification, you can complete a vocational course that qualifies you to undertake a higher education:
Diploma of Business
Diploma of Accounting
Pathway 2: Undergraduate Courses
Bachelor of Accounting
Bachelor of Business (Financial Planning)
Pathway 3: Career Changer
If you hold an undergraduate degree, you can study for an approved Masters or graduate diploma. These can include:
Master of Financial Planning
Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning
How Long Does It Take To Become A Financial Advisor In Australia?
Becoming a financial adviser in Australia usually takes at least four years. Three years of an accredited undergraduate degree and one year of professional experience.
Those choosing to complete a postgraduate qualification before applying for a job may take two or three years more than the typical duration to get started in this career.
What's The Difference Between A Financial Planner and an Advisor?
Both financial planners and financial advisor help people manage their money, but certain things make them different.
Financial Planner Vs Advisor
Financial planners offer niche services to meet specific financial needs of their clients, such as retirement planning, a child’s college education, house purchase, estate planning, tax accounting, and saving for retirement wealth management.
On the other hand, financial advisors are not specialised. They work with professionals with different qualifications and specialities, offering various financial services, such as accounting, life insurance, real estate, short-term trading, and banking services.
Financial planners focus on strategic portfolio allocation for investments with long-term views and ensure that projected risk tolerances and returns are balanced. Financial advisors are involved in various facets of financial products and money management.
Financial planners hold the Certified Financial Planner designation that allows them to help clients reach their financial goals by considering their financial standing and preparing the best-suited comprehensive financial plans for them.
The work of a financial advisor does not necessarily require having CFP certification as they focus on the client’s investment goals and portfolios and employ strategies to use them to build wealth.
A financial planner considers the entire lifespan and then creates financial plans and strategies to help reach long-term and short-term goals, such as paying off debt, saving for the future, or purchasing insurance.
A financial advisor offers advice on investing and managing their money wisely within these plans.
Is It Difficult To Become a Financial Advisor?
Like anything worthwhile, it takes time, dedication, and consistent efforts to become a financial adviser. Since professional standards have become stricter, education and training are compulsory to pursue this meaningful profession.
Also, the industry is competitive due to the low barrier to entry. Furthermore, entry-level advisors get mostly paid on a commission basis. They only earn when they bring clients to the business.
Thus, there is no easy way to get into this role. It takes sheer commitment, years of education, and specialized training to attain this position. However, your efforts during your professional journey will reap big dividends in personal, professional, and monetary rewards.
Is The Financial Advisor A Stressful Job?
Being a financial advisor is lucrative and rewarding, with plenty of opportunities to work and specialize, but it is not all rosy in the financial advisory industry. Many challenges make the job stressful at times. Advisors must tackle them to relish the sweet side of their profession.
Some of these challenges include:
Assessing the risk tolerance of a client is a huge source of liability.
Low barriers to entry make it quite stressful to enter this industry.
“Round-the-clock Prospecting” is the most challenging part of being an advisor. Brokerage houses have set monthly quotas that financial advisors must meet throughout the year. Due to this, advisors may work up to 60 hours a week to meet their targets.
With several Financial Advisors working in Australia, it becomes tough to stand out from your competitors and make your place in the industry.
The profession requires hard work to find potential clients via cold calling and email to reach them on job portals like LinkedIn, networking events, and conferences. Establishing a solid client base takes effort, time, and money.
Things can get stressful in the first five years if an advisor starts without a strong network and doesn’t have any other alternative source of income to feed their family.
However, as the advisor builds experience, getting clients and referrals from previous clients becomes easier.
More than financial knowledge, and qualifications, this is the profession where sales and marketing are valued. If you want to stay in this industry for a long, then you have to be a good salesperson.
Making personal bonds with your clients and managing their emotions is a challenging aspect of working in this profession. If you are uncomfortable/unhappy handling people’s emotional upheavals and want to only focus on managing portfolios, you may struggle to work in this role.
Also, one needs to note that a financial advisor constantly evaluates their client’s portfolio and realigns them. However, there is no certainty that their implemented strategies will be right every time.
A Financial Advisor wishing to play for a long-term in this field must know how to manage people’s emotions, particularly when their strategies fail, causing their client’s portfolio to shrink.
The easy availability of free information online about managing finances makes people reluctant to pay for financial advisory services.
It is easier to manage a handful of financial plans or offer financial guidance and retirement planning advice to a few clients. But if the numbers skyrocket to 50 or 100, it becomes a challenge to keep tabs on everything. It is where it is necessary to have time management and multitasking skills to perform in this role efficiently.
In all the above stress-causing situations, only those advisors with the willpower to market themselves despite the setbacks survive.
Is A Financial Advisor Career Worth It?
A good understanding of the pros and cons helps decide whether a career as a financial advisor is worth pursuing or not.
Once established, financial advisors enjoy work-life balance. With a good client base, you do not have to struggle to find clients all the time. You can leverage your network of clients for referrals and potential leads. Those working in large financial firms also get more flexibility in work hours and workplaces than many professionals.
Financial advisors work with various clients, from HNIs to middle-income individuals.
By upselling your services to your existing clients, you can manage to earn a consistent stream of income.
Financial advisors enjoy employment opportunities in many sectors of the industry. You can work in banks, insurance firms, investment houses, brokerages, etc.
There are opportunities to work as both full-time and part-time financial advisors and set up your practice.
With the correct training, advisors can specialize and easily switch jobs within their domain, such as portfolio manager, financial analyst, etc.
You get good opportunities to get promoted and progress in your career. Most Financial Advisors commence their careers as administrators/ paraplanners and then work their way up to the Associate Advisor position before landing the role of Financial Advisor.
The profession allows you to develop a long-term bond with your clients going beyond financial matters.
The feeling of positively impacting your client's life by accomplishing their financial goals and making them happy and satisfied with your services makes the job meaningful.
The role involves a high level of liability.
Managing clients’ emotions is not everyone's cup of tea.
Initial years of working in the profession could be challenging. Intense competition and many established players in the industry may make it hard to build your client base in society. However, once you make it, you don’t have to worry about prospecting any longer.
You can’t make a stable career in this industry only based on financial knowledge and qualification. Along with this, you need superior people skills, communication skills, marketing skills, convincing abilities, and multitasking skills to succeed in this role.
Financial Advisors often have to stay on call to assist their clients.
We can see clearly, that the benefits of working in the profession outweighs its drawbacks. If you are patient, determined, able to cope-up with stress, and willing to refine your customer service skills, you can surely make a successful career in this rewarding profession.
How To Become A Financial Advisor Without A Degree?
No, you cannot become a financial advisor in Australia without a degree. All financial advisors aspiring to work in the country must meet the ASIC training requirements and have the minimum education and experience to work in this role.
Only those candidates who meet the following requirements are allowed to work in Australia:
An approved undergraduate Bachelor's degree or higher
A professional year of experience under the supervision of a licensed financial advisor
pass a financial adviser exam set by ASIC
Financial advising offers a unique opportunity to manage a crucial part of someone’s life. The ability to make financial decisions to transform clients’ lives is a rewarding aspect of working in this role.
The correct qualification in financial planning can support you to launch a gratifying and lucrative career, potentially open a broad array of career paths and stand out in a competitive industry.
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