How to become a financial adviser: Chloe's story

Meet Chloe, 23, and find out about her job on a graduate scheme at St. James’s Place Wealth Management. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

"It's my job to help our largest financial advisers to grow their business."

What is your job?

I'm on a rotational graduate scheme, which means I move around different departments learning about different parts of the business. I've completed three six-month rotations so far in HR, Private Clients and the Large and Medium Business Unit. I am currently working with some of the largest financial advice businesses at St James' Place.

My job is quite project-based. Some projects are long, others are short, which means they can often overlap.

Can you explain what skills you use day-to-day?

I use my communication skills every day. Because I work in teams who are working towards the same project, we need to be able to collaborate well too. I also need emotional intelligence because I’m working with people all the time.

I need to be organised because I travel a lot in this job. I studied Business Studies at A-level and I am able to put the theory into practice in this job.

Is this the job you always knew you wanted to do?

No! When I was at school and university, I thought I knew what I wanted to do. Then, after I did a hospitality and Business Management degree, I started applying for jobs, and I was less clear because I didn’t want to go into the industry my degree was in.

I always thought that you needed to be good at Maths to work in the financial sector, which is why I thought it wasn't for me. But in the job I do, I don't really use Maths at all. I didn’t realise the amount of opportunities in financial services.

Chloe's graduate scheme is three years long and she moves to a new team every six months.

Top tips

  • Be open to change. You might have an idea of what you want to do, but there might be another option you haven't thought about before
  • Investigate all opportunities available to you.

In Chloe's graduate scheme, she works closely with financial advisers. This is a career option she can consider when she has finished her rotational programme. Financial advisers help people and organisations to choose investments, savings, pensions, mortgages, and insurance products.

What to expect if you want to become a financial adviser

  • Financial adviser salary: £25,000 to £90,000 per year
  • Financial adviser working hours: 35 to 40 hours per week

What qualifications do I need to be a financial adviser?

  • Typical entry requirements: You could start by doing a degree in Financial Services, Business Management, or Accountancy. You'll usually need 2 or 3 A-levels (or equivalent). Once you finish your course you could apply to join a financial services company or bank as a trainee adviser. You could also do a financial adviser higher apprenticeship or a financial services professional degree apprenticeship. To work as a financial adviser, you'll need to be registered as an 'approved person' by the Financial Conduct Authority.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

Find out more on the Prospects website about the role of a financial adviser.

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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