A day in the life of a financial adviser

15 June 2022

A financial adviser showing his client data on a digital tablet.

If you’re someone that loves to check the financial section of the newspaper, you possess an active interest in the world of stocks and investments, and/or searching for a new career path in the financial industry, a role as a financial adviser could be exactly what you are looking for. While we have previously explained exactly what you need to do to become a qualified financial adviser, as well as what qualifications you will need to gain, we have yet to explore what a day in the life of a financial adviser actually looks like.

In this handy guide, we explore what financial advisers actually do, how they differ from financial planners, and what tasks they are expected to complete as part of their role. 

What does a financial adviser do?

Financial advisers provide specialist advice designed to help their clients manage their money and assets sensibly and efficiently. In order to carry out this role, advisers are required to have a strong working knowledge of the current financial and economic environment, as well as research-driven, in-depth knowledge of their clients’ individual financial circumstances. This allows them to provide bespoke advice and recommend the most appropriate financial products and services to meet their clients’ needs.

As a financial adviser’s career progresses, there is also the option to specialise to become an expert in certain areas. For example, this could include becoming an employee pension scheme expert for businesses and their employees, or focusing on mortgage, pension or investment advice for private clients.

What is the difference between a financial adviser and a financial planner?

Although both roles fall under the umbrella of financial advice, there are a number of key differences between financial advisers and financial planners. Put simply, a financial planner is a qualified individual that can help to put in place financial plans or strategies that help clients achieve their mid- to long-term financial goals. This can include help with budgeting, investing, saving and pension plans. On the other hand, financial advisers can provide the same future strategy planning as financial planners, while also providing advice and recommending the most appropriate financial products and services to help a client manage their money and assets in real time. This may include, for example, providing specialist advice on investments and stocks, insurance policies, estate management, and day-to-day banking and accounting services.

How are financial advisers paid?

There are a number of different ways that financial advisers can be paid, depending on the work they do and whether or not they are self-employed or work for a firm. Some charge a flat annual fee for the services they provide to each client, with the potential for additional fees to be added to this based on certain recommendations, services or investment advice they provide during this period. Alternatively, other financial advisers charge a one-off commission on the advice they provide and/or the transactions they execute for their clients. 

Financial adviser daily tasks

As touched upon above, with so many services on offer, the average day-to-day life of a financial adviser can vary. However, there are a number of core tasks almost all financial advisers will have to complete on a frequent basis. These include:  

  • Financial market research

Keeping a finger on the pulse of the economy and key financial markets is essential. Simply reading the news and other more niche financial publications is essential in ensuring you are able to continue to provide the best, most relevant advice to your clients.

  • Meeting potential clients

In order to sustain and grow your portfolio of clients, you will have to court new clients regularly. This will involve undertaking client-based research that will allow you to properly assess how you can help the client and how to make your pitch.

  • Servicing existing clients

As well as attracting new clients, looking after the ones you already have is an important part of being a successful financial adviser. To do this, effective communication is key, meaning a lot of time needs to be spent building relationships. This will typically be done through a mixture of face-to-face meetings, regular phone calls, and frequent email correspondence. In terms of the work itself, a large proportion of a financial adviser’s day will be taken up with assessing client portfolios, replying to client inquiries and requests, and addressing outstanding issues.

  • Administration

While part of this falls under servicing client accounts, a certain amount of time each day will be spent on administration tasks. These typically bureaucratic tasks could include the likes of updating client records when required and processing trade tickets.

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