When you become a financial adviser, you have a unique opportunity to establish meaningful relationships with your clients. You will guide them in recognising and understanding their financial needs and how they can achieve their goals. By doing so, you can assist them in making well-informed financial decisions.
A career in financial advice offers attractive earning potential, with competitive salaries offered across the profession. What’s more, being a financial adviser provides the freedom and flexibility to shape your career according to your preferences. Whether you envision yourself working with a small or large business or even starting your own practice, there are many ways you can take forward your professional development.
By pursuing a career in financial advice, not only will you be instrumental in securing the future of others, but you will also be embarking on a journey of personal and professional growth, tailored to your aspirations and ambitions.
The pathway to becoming a financial planner
To become a successful financial planner, there are several key steps you need to take.
Consider becoming a student member of the Financial Advice Association of Australia (FAAA) to gain access to valuable resources and networking opportunities. It’s quick, easy and free to join.
It is important to complete an approved degree or an equivalent qualification listed on the Treasury’s website. These qualifications provide the necessary foundation for a career in financial planning.
Following graduation, it is common to start your career in an client service or paraplanning role. These are vital support roles within any practice and represent fulfilling career pathways in their own right. Many professionals find this is a valuable step allowing them to gain practical experience in the field while developing essential technical skills and product knowledge that will be vital for future client-facing work.
Before you can call yourself a financial adviser you will need to undergo a Professional Year. The Professional Year entails one year of supervised full-time work (equivalent to 1600 hours) within an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licensee. This period must also include 100 hours of structured training to further enhance your expertise.
Prior to commencing the third quarter of your professional year, you must successfully pass the Financial Adviser Exam. Once you have passed this exam, you will be authorised by your AFS licensee as a provisional financial planner or provisional financial adviser, allowing you to practice under supervision.
Further along your career path, studying for and obtaining the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation will mark you out as being at the pinnacle of your profession. The CFP designation is widely recognised as the standard of excellence in financial advice. demonstrating your expertise and commitment to excellence.
By following these steps, you can lay a solid foundation for a successful career as a financial planner, gaining the necessary skills, knowledge, and certifications to excel in the field.
Registering for membership is a simple and straightforward process. For students it is free to join.
To get started, click the button below and sign up using your preferred email address. After completing the registration, you will receive an email with instructions to verify your membership details. Simply follow these instructions to finalise the registration process.*
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW:
If you are a high school student who is currently thinking about a career path after school, we are here to assist you in providing more information about financial planning and the steps required to become a financial planner.
You can take advantage of our student membership while in high school. Your membership grants you access to a range of benefits including participation in local and national events. These events offer invaluable networking opportunities and the chance to connect with professionals in the field of financial planning.
To stay updated on our upcoming events and other relevant information, we encourage you to follow us on our social media channels.
Before embarking on studying financial planning as an undergraduate, it is important to make sure the course you are considering is an approved financial planning degree. Click here to access the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) list of approved degrees.
As a student member of the FAAA, you gain access to a vibrant community of 1,200 students from all over Australia, who are also exploring financial planning as a potential career path and building their networks.
Through your student membership:
- Develop and expand your networking skills by participating in FAAA events and webinars.
- Apply for prestigious awards such as the FAAA University Student of the Year Award and the FAAA Congress Sponsorship Program.
- Benefit from significant member discounts on postgraduate course fees (check if your university is on the list).
- Access on-demand content through our learning platform FAAA Learn, including the informative FAAA Career Ready Webinar Series.
- Access valuable Professional Year resources, including logbook and certificate templates, via FAAA Learn.
- Represent your state by joining the exclusive FAAA Emerging Professionals Committee.
- Stay connected with us through our social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
If you’ve already graduated, we also offer a dedicated Practitioner membership sub-category for those registered as a Provisional financial planner / adviser on the FAR. This category recognises the future of the financial advice profession through a tiered pricing structure to assist your entry into the profession.
Financial advice is a dynamic and rewarding profession where there are a number of roles to suit your career goals. Depending on your qualifications, there are several pathways to entering the profession. You many need to do complete a graduate diploma of financial planning before you can start the professional year and take the Financial Adviser exam.
However, as a member of the FAAA, you have access to variety of rewards and offers available from our partners including discounts of up to 52% on postgraduate course fees from a range of education providers.
Please note: To determine if you meet the eligibility requirements for a financial planning postgraduate diploma, it is essential that you contact your university or course provider directly.
There are lots of roles within the field of financial advice that don’t require you to be degree qualified. Practice Manager and Client Services Officers are just two examples of rewarding positions within a planning practice that don’t require you to be degree qualified.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
In Australia, the terms can be used interchangeably and both titles are protected by law and can only be used by someone with suitable qualification and experience. A financial adviser/planner can help individuals achieve their goals by developing plans for some or all aspects of their financial life, such as budgeting, investing, super, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance and taxation.
It is worth noting however, in some overseas markets, such as the US and the UK, a financial adviser is referred to as someone who focuses mainly on giving investment advice, whereas a financial planner tends to be more holistic in their approach at developing plans and helping clients with a broader set of financial needs.
From 1 January 2019, to become a financial planner, you must complete the following:
- An approved Bachelor’s degree or higher, such as a Bachelor degree majoring in financial planning, or Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning
- A professional year (1600 hours of supervised work experience including 100 hours of structured training)
- Pass the ASIC financial adviser exam
A big part of a financial planner’s job is to interact with clients to get to know their unique financial situation and goals and devise a plan to help clients reach their goals. Interpersonal skills and the ability to build rapport and trust with clients are therefore just as important as technical capabilities.
The primary challenge is keeping up with the constant changes in legislation. However, it means the outlook for the profession is bright! Complex and ever-changing legislation means it is harder and harder for investors to navigate the superannuation system and understand their investment options and possible investment structures, without obtaining advice. If you have a a love of learning and enjoy helping others, then financial planning is a fantastic career choice.
The typical day of a financial planner is client-focused and never dull! This could involve meeting with new clients to discuss how to assist them with their financial goals, and also meeting with existing clients to check in, discuss any changes to their lives and how this may impact their financial plan.
Alongside this, a financial planner will typically be responding to client calls and emails to assist with any enquiries, and working with their team to help with the completion of the Statement of Advice and implementation. A financial planner will also spend some of their time undertaking research and projection work to ensure that their advice is suitable for their clients.
When embarking on a career in financial advice, some best practices are:
Be detail oriented & conscientious.
Dealing with other people’s money is a big responsibility so you need to be on top of your game!
Some clients are going through tough times, like divorce or the loss of a loved one. You need to be supportive and empathetic throughout this process.
There are so many different areas in financial planning, and having a curious mind will allow you to learn and grow as fast as possible. You also need to be curious about your clients – what’s going on in their lives, what do they want, what makes them tick?
No two meetings are every the same, it’s what makes being a financial planner great, but also challenging! Always be prepared and be willing to adapt to changing situations or new legislation.
As a financial planner you will be managing a lot of clients and their needs at once. As a result, it’s imperative that you keep track of what you need to do, and stay calm under pressure!