How to Become a Financial Advisor in Australia
A Financial Advisor is a trained and licensed professional who is qualified to assist organisations and individuals with setting and meeting long-term or short-term financial goals. They analyse and discuss their clients’ current status and desired objectives, helping them to set achievable targets and implement plans to reach them. A Financial Advisor can make recommendations on investments, tax laws and insurance decisions based on the financial needs of the individual or company.
Although many Financial Advisors choose to specialise in particular areas, such as superannuation, tax planning or debt management, their basic task is to help clients manage and invest their money sensibly in order to achieve their desired financial goals. A client’s goals might include saving for retirement or a house, generating greater income, minimising tax burdens or reducing debts.
A Financial Advisor also functions as an educator, helping their clients understand what is involved in reaching their future goals. They educate clients on anything from budgeting and saving to complex insurance, investment and tax issues.
The requirements to become a Financial Advisor in Australia are governed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and may change, so be sure to read Regulatory Guide 146 for specific details but here are some of the steps you will need to take to get you on your way to a career as a Financial Advisor.
Step 1: Obtain a diploma or bachelor’s degree.
According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Regulatory Guide 146, there are a number of general and specific knowledge requirements to become a Financial Adviser. It is recommended that you begin your education by completing a bachelor’s degree, a diploma or an advanced diploma in a relevant field. Gaining a qualification in financial planning, business or accounting with a focus on financial planning will give you the necessary skills to advance your career and gain more training in specific areas. These qualifications also constitute the minimum education requirements for CFP® Certification.
Step 2: Decide what type of advisor you want to be.
Once you have completed your basic education you should have a reasonable idea of what type of services you would like to provide as a Financial Advisor. Whether you choose to focus on financial planning, superannuation, insurance or any combination of these and other services, you are required by ASIC to gain further training in order to be able to demonstrate that you have gained ‘specialist knowledge’ as outlined in the regulatory guide 146, in the relevant areas you wish to pursue.
Step 3: Gain entry-level employment with a licensee.
After completing your education you can begin to apply for entry-level positions with practising Financial Advisors or companies that hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) from ASIC. Because this is a very experience-based career, be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up. Most Financial Advisors start out as administrators or paraplanners then work their way up to associate advisor before moving into the title role of Financial Advisor.
Step 4: Get your certification.
The final step is to gain certification with a recognised organisation such as the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA). The recommended and most widely recognised qualification is Certified Financial Planner - CFP®. This certification is not essential to a career as a Financial Adviser but it is recommended because it demonstrates to clients that you are competent and committed to a high level of professional development and ethical standards. Employers also tend to look favourably on candidates that are certified, so this qualification will improve your employment prospects and increase your earning potential.
What does a Financial Advisor do?
A Financial Advisor is an investment expert who is trained to assess the financial standing of their clients, help them to outline their goals and develop and implement strategies to achieve them. They do research and offer recommendations on potential investments, superannuation, insurance, tax planning and various other financial decisions in order to help their clients invest and manage their money more effectively.
Financial Advisors help clients identify long- and short-term goals such as saving for a home or retirement, reducing debt, minimising their tax burden generating income or just improving their budgeting skills. A Financial Advisor will then help to devise a step-by-step plan that the client can follow to achieve their desired financial outcome.
- Assessing and analysing clients’ financial position.
- Researching investment opportunities and finance products.
- Helping clients to identify and outline long-term and short-term goals.
- Developing plans and strategies for clients to achieve desired outcomes.
- Providing advice and information on many different finance and investment topics.
- Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of government regulations and financial issues.
Skills for Success
A successful Financial Advisor needs to be organised, dedicated and great with numbers. They must have a strong aptitude for research and be great at planning and strategy. A Financial Advisor needs to be methodical, confident, analytical and excellent at problem-solving. They must have great communication and interpersonal skills as well as a genuine desire to help people achieve their financial goals.
- Passionate about helping clients.
- Great with numbers and mathematics.
- Methodical and analytical.
- Confident and dedicated.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Skilled at research.
- Good problem-solving abilities.
What is the salary of a Financial Advisor in Australia? In Australia, the average salary of a Financial Advisor is around $67,123 per year. This varies greatly depending on a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 03/18