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So, you want to become an IFA

Firstly, what are you getting yourself into?

There may be a perception that being an IFA is a doddle, all you do is go around and meet with clients and socialise, do not be fooled as there is a lot more to it than that.  As a Financial Advisor you have a responsibility to get your advice right, this is one the most personal experiences that someone will ever be going to go through. Your clients will have to share, not simply their financial details, but also their innermost aspirations for themselves and their loved ones, information that is commonly shared.  You will therefore be privy to a lot of personal and often private data.

To be able to offer advice you will need to attain qualifications to reach a Diploma status. Most people will carry this on further to reach Chartered and Fellowship status.  These exams are not designed to be easy, and you will have to factor in study time into your already busy schedule.

As the integral part of this role is advising clients, to be a successful IFA you will need to source and secure clients.  Having good people skills is therefore an important part of this role, with the confidence to network, talk to potential new clients, listen to their needs and offer bespoke financial advice.

First Steps

You might be thinking that becoming an IFA is a million miles away, but actually through hard work and dedication it can be achieved. Depending on your background the first step might be to get your foot in the door and actually get a job within Financial Services or even better, within an IFA practice.

The next step is to choose a route to obtain your qualifications, this might be through companies like the CII or LIBF. Whichever you choose look at all the options and decide the right choice for you. Some companies will prefer certain routes to others, so talking to people within business is important.

Moving swiftly on and as mentioned, talking to people is a huge part of being an IFA. Practice talking to people, learn to ask open questions, leading and probing questions and then train yourself to listen to the answers.  Where possible, attend networking groups to meet new people and gain greater exposure. After all the bigger your network, the more opportunity you have.

Finally climb the ladder

If you are already in an IFA firm as an Administrator the common route to advice is to gain qualifications and work towards being a Paraplanner. You will be supporting IFA’s directly working with them and most importantly learning from them and what makes them successful. Once in this position, make your intentions known as the opportunities are out there for you to take.

Finally, being an IFA can be a very satisfying, challenging role with good rewards, but remember it will take dedication and hard work to get there and even more hard work to stay there.

At Heat Financial Services is one of core sectors and we have a range of jobs for IFAs across the UK.