Financial Adviser

Job Description:

Financial advisers help people and organisations to choose investments, savings, pensions, mortgages or insurance products.

Job Category:
Financial Services

What you will do:

You could work for any UK organisation that sells financial products, or for a specialist investment or pension consultancy. Many financial advisers have a specialism, such as mortgages, investments, or pensions.

You could work as a tied, multi-tied, or independent financial adviser (IFA):

  • tied – usually working for banks, building societies or insurance companies, and only offering your own company’s financial products
  • multi-tied – dealing with a number of companies and only selling their products
  • IFA – offering products and giving advice on all financial products on the market

Your day-to-day tasks will include:

  • talking to clients about their finances and plans
  • researching financial products and explaining them simply and clearly
  • negotiating with providers of financial products
  • producing financial reports
  • updating clients about their investments
  • meeting performance and sales targets
  • keeping up to date with new products and law changes


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of economics and accounting for understanding financial markets and products
  • excellent maths, computer and communication skills
  • maths knowledge for creating financial plans
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • customer service skills for finding out customer needs
  • the ability to sell products and services (drive)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • business management skills for negotiating product rates
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to analyse and research financial information
  • sales negotiation and report-writing skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a financial adviser, specific GCSE subjects are not typically required, but certain subjects can provide a strong foundation for the skills and knowledge needed in this field. Financial advisers help clients manage their finances and investments, so a combination of subjects related to business, mathematics, and communication can be beneficial. Here are some recommended GCSE subjects that can be helpful for aspiring financial advisers:

  1. Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are essential for financial advisers, as they work extensively with financial calculations, budgets, investment analysis, and financial planning.
  2. Business Studies: Business studies can provide insights into financial management, economic principles, and overall business operations, which are directly relevant to financial advising roles.
  3. Economics: Economics can be valuable for understanding economic concepts, market trends, and the broader financial context in which clients make investment decisions.
  4. English: Good communication skills, both written and verbal, are crucial for financial advisers. They need to explain complex financial concepts to clients and convey their recommendations effectively.
  5. IT/Computer Science: Familiarity with spreadsheet software and financial modeling tools is important, as financial advisers often use these tools for data analysis, financial planning, and portfolio management.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

This role is open to graduates of most subjects.

Particularly relevant subjects include:

  • financial services
  • business management
  • accountancy

Once you finish your course, you could apply to join a finance company or a bank as a graduate trainee adviser.

You could do a financial adviser higher apprenticeship or a financial services professional degree apprenticeship.

You could start as a financial services administrator or customer services adviser in a bank and work your way up.

In the UK, for example, you’ll need to study for a level 4 qualification in financial advice recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

These include:

  • Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning from the Chartered Insurance Institute
  • Diploma for Financial Advisers from the London Institute of Banking and Finance
  • Investment Advice Diploma from the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment

Working Hours and Environment:

As a financial adviser at a high street bank or estate agency, you’ll usually work around 35 to 40 hours a week including some Saturday mornings.

You could work in an office or a contact centre. Evening and weekend work is common in contact centres.

As an IFA you could work from home or travel to meet clients in their own homes. You’ll usually need a full driving licence.

Career Path & Progression:

If you work for a large financial organisation, you could specialise in one area of work like retirement planning. You could also move into management, recruiting and training new staff.

With further specialised professional qualifications, you could become a director or partner in your firm.

Another option is to move into compliance work, making sure your company is following industry guidelines.