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Giving investment financial advice is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) . In order to become a qualified financial adviser you must take specific professional qualifications.
Employers often provide internal training and support to employees in gaining the minimum level 4 qualifications needed to deliver financial advice. These include:
Financial advisers who want to provide advice on mortgages or equity, stocks and shares, or long-term care protection will need to take additional examinations.
For more information on the appropriate qualifications, see the FCA or Directions websites.
All financial advisers working in retail investment must have a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS), which confirms that they have successfully completed a level 4 qualification approved by the FCA. They must also complete an annual programme of continuing professional development (CPD) of 35 hours and adhere to the FCA code of practice. This must be renewed every 12 months.
Many trainee advisers begin as tied advisers, gaining basic training in a range of financial products. Employers usually provide this in-house through a combination of formal tuition and on-the-job training. Trainees will gradually begin to work with clients under supervision and, gaining experience and qualifications, will acquire their own book of clients.
In the early stages, you will usually shadow an experienced financial adviser, doing some of the research and administration connected with their work, and then you will gradually begin to deal directly with clients yourself, under supervision. As you become more experienced, you will acquire your own list of clients.
Most employers provide training and pay for examinations, but trainees are usually expected to study outside working hours, and many courses offer distance learning opportunities. After you are qualified, regular supervision ensures that you maintain levels of competence and compliance with regulations.
The qualifications that you take may depend on the requirements of the organisation you work for and their area of specialism.
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