Do you need a qualification to become a financial adviser?

22 May 2020

a man looking up the required qualification for becoming a financial adviser

According to statistics website Statista, there was an estimated total of 5,678 people in the UK working as financial advisers in 2018 alone. From this amount, 4,791 were working independently either on their own or as part of a law firm, 785 were working restrictively within a bank or building society and the remaining 102 people operated as a mix between the two.

The number of professional financial advisers only sees minor fluctuations each year, making it one of many popular vocations in the UK today. If you’re interested in becoming a financial adviser, you’d be joining the many thousands that train for the role every year, but before you take your first step, it’s important that you’re aware of how to train and qualify to work professionally within this role.

As a newcomer to the world of finance, you may be unaware of whether or not you need specific qualifications to become a financial adviser or if a simple work experience placement shadowing an expert, for example, would suffice. In this blog, we look at what you need you to do to become a financial adviser and whether formal qualifications are strictly necessary.

Do UK financial advisers need any formal qualifications?

Before providing any form of financial advice, you must possess a relevant qualification from a recognised body. Not only this, but you are required to follow the rules and regulations put in place by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

You can get into this line of work in a number of ways. For example, many people begin their career in financial advising through completing a degree, and while a degree of any level in finance, business management or accountancy is relevant and likely to improve your chances of finding work in the future, you can become a financial adviser after completing a degree in any discipline.

Alternatively, you could consider starting out with a bank or building society and working your way up using a training scheme. Another option would be to gain a financial advice qualification by studying a relevant course in your own time or working as an apprentice to earn the qualification through first-hand practice.

What qualifications are required to become a financial adviser?

There are several qualifications for providing financial advice, but while they’re all relatively similar, they each come with different benefits and targeted specialisms in the financial sector. The best suited to providing broad financial advice and allowing you the option to work as an independent financial adviser is the Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA).

Although the DipFA is the most relevant qualification for becoming a financial adviser, you may consider completing a qualification that is more directed towards providing mortgage advice, for example. To do this, you could consider a Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) or a Certificate in Regulated Equity Release (CeRER).

After completing one of these courses, you may want to gain more training for working as a financial adviser or to simply bolster your CV. The DipFA is a level 4 qualification but the CeMAP and CeRER are both level 3. However, if you’d like to reach level 3 without completing a DipFA, you could consider a level 4 CeMAP diploma, which you will be able to complete after finishing a level 3 qualification in financial advice such as a CeMAP or CeRER.

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