There are two different types of financial adviser and advice:
Independent advisers, also called independent financial advisers (IFAs), research and consider all retail investment products or providers available to meet the client's needs. They must provide clients with unbiased and unrestricted advice.
Restricted advisers only offer limited advice, focusing on a particular range of products or on products from one, or a limited number, of providers.
All advisers must inform their clients, before providing advice, whether they provide independent or restricted advice.
Tasks vary depending on the role but typically involve:
- contacting clients and setting up meetings, either within an office environment or in clients' homes or business premises;
- conducting in-depth reviews of clients' financial circumstances, current provision and future aims;
- analysing information and preparing plans best suited to individual clients' requirements;
- completing risk analyses;
- researching the marketplace and providing clients with information on new and existing products and services;
- designing financial strategies;
- assisting clients to make informed decisions;
- researching information from various sources, including providers of financial products;
- reviewing and responding to clients changing needs and financial circumstances;
- promoting and selling financial products to meet given or negotiated sales targets;
- negotiating with product suppliers for the best possible rates;
- liaising with head office and financial services providers;
- communicating with other professionals, such as estate agents, solicitors and valuers;
- keeping up to date with financial products and legislation;
- producing financial reports;
- contacting clients with news of new financial products or changes to legislation that may affect their savings and investments;
- meeting the regulatory aspects of the role, e.g. requirements for disclosure, costs of the services provided and also the advised products.
- Financial advisers may also earn bonuses and commission and have additional benefits on top of their salary.
Salaries vary considerably depending on the employer and location, as well as on the level of qualifications and experience.
Income figures are intended as a guide only.
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