Independent Financial Adviser - how do I become one?(26 Posts)
I have 2 kids under 2 (and trying to pursuade dh to go for a 3rd) and will be a full time stay at home mum for the next few years but I would like to start the ball rolling for something I would be able to do once the youngest is at pre-school. I can see that you need a Certificate in Financial Planning (or equivalent) and can see that this can be studied for by distance learning which would be great whilst the kids are young. However I can't imagine that you just pass the exams and then set up on your own. However I haven't been able to find anything that says what I would need to do once I have the qualifications and am ready to go out into the big wide world of work again. Can anyone shed any light on this?
I think you need to register with the FSA www.fsa.gov.uk
Thanks Kif, you are right I would need to be registered.
I was wondering what sort of work I would be able to get once qualified. Would I be able to set up on my own as soon as I was qualified (assuming anyone even wants to use someone with only academic qualifications and no experience). Or would a firm be willing to employ me without any other experience in financial services, if so is part time a realistic option? Or is it more like accountancy where you need to be in a partnership? Or freelance via a parent company? Or something else? Sorry but I have no idea how the whole thing works.
I know a woman who did this fairly recently. I don't remember what she said about the qualifications. But I was impressed when she said that many companies are keen to hire women. Apparently lots of clients request a woman advisor. She was working three days a week I think and her bosses were great.
NKf.... Great to hear that there are companies out there who are keen to hire women and that part time sounds realistic.
Although it is a way off before I will be in a postion to do any 'real' work (coz obviously looking after the kids isn't real work ) I was trying to guage whether when I was finally ready to do so I would then need to spend a year or 2 getting work experience in financial services or whether I would be looking at being able to launch straight into be an IFA.
Have a look on www.reed.co.uk using keyword FPC (financial planning certificate)
Only one p-t vacancy came up when I tried fpc and part-time but playing around with their searches might give you some idea of what opportunities are available. Good luck!
Sounds great to me Muddlinthru, I did a spot of this years ago through estate agency etc. I too, am thinking about studying for it, and wasn't aware of what I needed. Obviously as an independent you need to be aware of 1000's of products which might be a bit taxing for my small brain after 2 kids lol.
The only problem of course, is finding clients. It's not like the Halifax where people come into you as they 'know the name' IYSWIM. I will watch this thread with interest and good luck as I know that, had I continued with this, it would have been a really lovely job
I didn't read your post properly, but as an independent you would be self-employed. You could start with local estate agents etc to get them to pass people to you for mortgages. When you get them hooked, sell them a pension blah blah.
SueW - Having looked at the site there is a section specifically for IFAs covering everything from trainee IFA through to positions with 6 figure salaries (which would be nice). Looking at the job specs and personal requirements makes it easier to see what they are looking for and I can then plan accordingly. Thanks for the tip off, v. useful.
Clodhopper - I know what you mean about finding clients. However in some ways that is part of the appeal. When the kids are very small I would only be looking for a few clients just to get started. As the kids get older I could gradually build up the business. That's the theory anyway. Best of luck to you if you do decide to study for it.
Orinoco - thanks for your very useful waffle. I had considered doing the mortgage elements of the training to begin with figuring that I could then get some work whilst continuing to study towards full IFA status. I hadn't considered the compliance side of things, as you say it would only be for only a small amount of business. I was vaguely aware that there was probably something along the lines of franchise out there but hadn't given it much thought, now that you have mentioned it I might look into it a bit further.
I have also seen reference made to 'Competent Adviser Status' but I am struggling to see exactly what this is or how to achieve it. Can anyone shed any light on this please? TIA.
I realised when I had posted my last question it was past my bedtime and probably after a lot of other people's as well. So I am hoping that at this more reasonable hour I might catch a few more people who could answer my query about 'Competent Adviser Status'.
Like Orinoco, I work in the regulated industry. I would not recommend starting up on your own without some kind of compliance framework to check your advice. The indemnity insurance against misselling would be huge, especially for someone so inexperienced.I have had my FPC, CEFA and CEMAP for coming up to 15 years and would be loath to venture out on my own. A good IFA has his/her client bank that they can use a s leverage to negotiate their package with the employer. My advice to youwould be to get some experience in financial services, get an employer to pay for you to take the professional qualifications - you will probably need tospend time as a tied advisor in order to do this, then seek out clients who match your profile, start studying for your AFPC, then look for an employed IFA role, before risking your neck on the compliance/FSA route. "competent advisor" is someone who has been signed off by the FSA as able to conduct business without close supervision,ie out of pre and post sale FSA checking, has passed all exams, and has X number of sales/files FS A checked, and all advice is ok. Good luck - its a minefield out there and clients are just waiting for you to balls up to claim misselling.
Thank you both for all the advice. Definately lots for me to think about - but that's why I wanted to ask at this early stage so that I was realistic in my expectations and didn't put lots of energy into something that wasn't going to work in practice.
Only thing I can add is that my mortgage advisor is fabulous, and her firm is women-only (I don't think on purpose, it just happened) and they're all mums.
If you want to give her a call she is v approachable Diane Saunders and yes, I have told her off about the mis-use of the apostrophe on her home page!
Tribpot - It's (correct use of apostrophe) a nice looking website. Again it is good to hear that it does seem to be a sector that is amenable to working mums. I will bookmark her website for future reference.
MT - if you want to email me at trib at amileformaude dot com I can give you my real name if you want to phone Diane (obviously she doesn't call me tribpot! She has been lovely and sponsored me for our Mile for Maude though).
One thing she did say to me, which is mentioned in NK's post below, is that some of her clients prefer a woman adviser as they feel (rightly or wrongly) that women are more honest and straightforward. I'd selected her firm because she was a woman - I wanted to talk our finances through with someone who would understand the various and competing priorities of being a mum, a carer (my dh is chronically ill), an employee - and a person!
Tribpot - thanks for the kind offer, however given that I am at the fairly early stages I just needed to know that launching into the study program wasn't going to be a waste of time and to have a rough idea of what else I might need to be conscious of in terms of work experience. By the time the kids are old enough for me to want to work chances are the exact regulations will have changed anyway. I appreciate the time that everyone has already spared in answering this thread.
How about searching for course providers to see what courses they offer. They also tend to have links to the official bodies websites which should be able to give you more info in to the requirements and routes that you need to take.
Also websites aimed at students may also be helpful as they sometimes tend to go into more detail of how to go about getting into a career so may have some useful hints ... the doctorjob website is one I remember.
one of my previous jobs was working for a bank, training to be an investment manager, needing similar quals to an ifa. from what i remember it was all about selling. you might find an easy way into this is via a bank job. i got the first part of the course done which was a certificate in something or other (sorry-braindead), but it was rumn by the securities institute. you may be able to do this in your area and it is very well recognised. here is a link sec.inst
I have been an IFA for 15 years and have been both employed and self-employed. I have now gone to work in house as a pensions officer. The good bits about being an IFA is that it is a fairly flexible job around kids. Most people can only see you in the evenings anyway. Being self-employed is extremely difficult however as the regulation and compliance that you need to do are excessive and costly. You need to be earning an income of at least £10,000 just to be covering the costs. I would suggest you start taking your exams but then you will need some post exam experience to be able to be registered with the FSA as you need to be considered competent before you can do this. I would speak to Positive solutions as a provider of regulation and compliance frameworks. I will be honest I am not the greatest sales person in the World so I found being self-employed very difficult and it takes along time to build up a client base. Why not try working in admin first to learn all about the work after you have done the exams. If you would like to speak to me further I will be happy to let you know. I worked mainly on the corporate side in my later years which is how I ended up being a pensions officer which I love.
fsmail - thanks for the heads up on just how costly the regulation and compliance is. I previously worked in sales so I am not too worried about being self-employed. If it weren't for the regs and compliance costs I wouldn't be too worried about the time to build up a client base. I think I will crack on with gaining the qualifications, maybe focussing on the mortgage advice ones first. That way whilst the kids are very small I can try and get some part time employment to build up my experience and finish off the full IFA exams. Then as the kids go to school I can maybe look at going self-employed and really putting the effort into building up a client base.
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