Why soft skills are so important for financial advisers

11 August 2023

a visual representation of soft skills.

The role of financial adviser has developed significantly over the last few decades. Traditionally, much emphasis has been placed on experience, technical prowess and analytical skills alone. However, as the industry has evolved and client expectations have shifted, the importance of additional skill sets have also become more pronounced. One of the areas in which financial advisers are expected to excel nowadays is in their use of soft skills.

Indeed, these interpersonal attributes are the intangible qualities that can distinguish the very best advisers from the rest. With this in mind, in this guide we delve into the realm of soft skills. We explain exactly what soft skills are and outline how they complement the practical skills learned as part of a traditional Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFA) qualification.


What are soft skills?

Soft skills, also referred to as ‘people skills’, are a set of attributes that relate to an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, collaborate, and interact with others. While technical skills – development through gaining qualifications and earning relevant experience in the financial industry – are essential for performing the specific day-to-day tasks and functions involved in working as an financial adviser, soft skills are the human-centric qualities that shape how these functional tasks are carried out. They also directly impact how relationships with both clients and colleagues are built and maintained.


Below we take a look at four key examples of soft skills that are essential for successful financial advisers.


Soft skills examples

1. Communication

This is arguably the most important soft skill. Financial advisers with strong communication skills are better able to convey complex concepts in a clear and understandable manner. This skill is crucial when explaining investment strategies and other financial plans to clients. Naturally, having this ability can put clients’ minds at ease, meaning it is an invaluable skill, and one that can be the difference between retaining and losing business.

2. Empathy

The most successful financial advisers boast strong empathy skills. This form of emotional intelligence can help advisers to better tailor their recommendations to align with clients’ values and goals. This can help to foster trust and build a strong advisor-client relationship.


3. Active Listening

As well as the ability to communicate and empathise, active listening is also a valuable skill in the financial advice industry. Being able to really listen to clients’ concerns and aspirations allows advisers to get a better grasp of the larger picture and thus offer more personalised guidance and solutions. On a more basic level, active listening also ensures clients feel heard and valued. This means they are more likely to maintain an ongoing business relationship.

4. Problem Solving

Financial advisers are faced with complex and intricate financial situations that require creative solutions everyday. Although specialist training programmes, such as the DipFA, provide the foundation knowledge all financial advisers need to succeed, strong problem-solving skills are also an essential. Indeed, these skills can shape how well an adviser addresses unexpected events and deals with genuine ethical dilemmas within their work. Indeed, the continuous refinement of problem-solving abilities allows advisers to provide effective, tailored strategies, ultimately enhancing client satisfaction.


Why are soft skills important?

Put simply, soft skills allow the most successful financial advisors to go beyond taught technical knowledge. At the end of the day, it is these soft skills that not only enhance the quality of advice advisers can provide but also creates a personalised and supportive client experience. As touched on above, in turn, this has the ability to drive client satisfaction and ensure you are able to attract and retain a strong client base.

Remember – while relevant training and qualifications remain a fundamental aspect of financial advising, the importance of soft skills cannot be understated. The ability to communicate, emphasise, listen and problem solve effectively is what sets exceptional advisers apart from medicare ones.

Here at Simply Academy, we understand this. That’s why, alongside our technical DipFA qualifications, we offer our CPD-accredited AdviserSkills programme. This course focuses specifically on improving your soft skills. Working with our expert trainers, subjects covered include building customer relationships, active listening skills, time management, and negotiation skills. Contact us today to find out more.

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