Why a Career in Financial Advice Often Flies Under the Radar

Why a Career in Financial Advice Often Flies Under the Radar

For some people, work is meaningful if they get to use skills they’ve honed throughout their career. For others, they find work meaningful if they get to flex creative muscles. But for others, finding meaning or purpose in what they do for a living can leave them feeling that their career is lacking.

Changing career can feel incredibly daunting, but it needn’t be so. There is no age limit to changing career, nor should there be a stigma about previous experience not being in the same field. In fact, transferable skills are highly valued in some professions. There may be a requirement for additional qualifications to get you where you want to be, but that’s no more than you’d expect for a career worth striving for.

For many career changers turning to a career in financial advice, an overarching feeling of purpose and meaning is often reported. So why is it a profession that’s not often considered as a career change option?

Changing the perception of financial advice 

Financial advisers can sometimes remain in the shadows when it comes to public perception. Perhaps that’s to do with lingering doubts about the integrity of the financial services profession as a whole or fuelled by outdated perceptions?

Yet, it’s important to recognise financial advisers are committed to their clients’ best interests, providing clarity, education, and empowering people to make informed decisions. By embracing their expertise, clients gain confidence in their financial journeys, ensuring a more secure and prosperous future.

Perhaps there is a need to change the perception of financial advice?

After all, when it comes to seeking guidance in critical aspects of our lives, we instinctively turn to professionals we trust: doctors for our health, lawyers for legal matters, and bankers for our financial needs. These experts play integral roles in safeguarding our well-being, providing expert advice, and helping us navigate complex terrain. But for some reason, financial advice is a profession that often flies under the radar when it comes to recognition and trust.

The value of financial advice 

When we think of financial advisers, various topics may come to mind, such as taxes, pensions, and mortgages. However, the scope of financial advice goes far beyond these individual aspects.

Regardless of personal circumstances, money touches all aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, our brains are not naturally wired for effective financial decision-making, often falling prey to behavioural biases and traps. Additionally, unforeseen circumstances like bereavement or divorce can further complicate our financial journeys and lead us to make subjective decisions. Considering these challenges, it is crucial to be informed and fully aware of the decisions we make, emphasising the need for impartial and trustworthy financial advisers.

Therefore, as a financial adviser you play a significant role. This extends well beyond being a tax negotiator or mortgage adviser. The relationship between an adviser and a client can span not only years but also significant life events and milestones. As a financial adviser, you become the crucial support system and knowledge-base for clients, guiding them in making informed and sensible decisions that secure their financial futures. What could be more meaningful?

A snapshot of the life of a financial adviser: 

Carla Brown, financial adviser at Oakmere Wealth Management Ltd, Partner Practice of St. James’s Place, shares a remarkable story that illustrates the depth of her relationships with clients.

One of Carla’s clients, Louise, along with her husband Andy, had a well-designed lifestyle and financial plan in place. Tragically, Andy fell critically ill and passed away from cancer, leaving Louise devastated and facing numerous challenges.

Reflecting on their journey, Carla explains,

“The first part of the relationship was about establishing your situation at that time – what you already had and how you were going to ensure the family was fully protected from that moment onwards.”

During Andy’s illness, Carla’s unwavering support provided immense reassurance to Louise and her family:

“Because of Andy’s treatment, we were to-ing and fro-ing from hospital daily. It was reassuring to know that Carla had everything under control, and we didn’t have to worry about it” Louise explains.

Beyond managing the financial aspects, Carla also assisted with wills and powers of attorney, understanding that these seemingly peripheral matters greatly influence financial decision-making.

Grateful for Carla’s guidance, Louise attests that her family is now financially secure, and even her children are becoming more financially conscious as a result. Carla emphasises her commitment to making a positive impact through her work, stating, “To be able to do some good with the Practice, to give something back, we try to put that across in what we do and what we put out to clients. It’s important that people understand that.”

Interpersonal skills just as important as finance skills 

Carla’s story highlights the significance not of possessing a robust knowledge of financial processes, but rather of having the essential interpersonal skills, empathy, and resilience necessary to understand and serve clients effectively. Contrary to popular belief, it is not skills in mathematics or deep knowledge of economics that makes the difference between a good financial adviser and a great one. Instead, it is the ability to make well-informed yet sensitive decisions that truly sets exceptional advisers apart. These professionals become trusted partners in life’s most significant financial decisions. They stand by their clients during times of joy and celebration, as well as during moments of uncertainty and crisis.

Recognising the need for comprehensive training, the St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy has designed a program that equips individuals with the knowledge, qualifications, and expertise required to provide robust financial advice. However, the Academy’s training goes beyond mere technical knowledge and also emphasises the development of qualities such as empathy, communication, and resilience.

Louise’s story serves as a poignant reminder that her experience is not an isolated incident. There is a significant and growing demand for financial advisers worldwide. In fact, we estimate that the profession needs approximately 50,000 new financial advisers to meet the growing demand in the UK. Each adviser has the potential to positively impact the lives of numerous clients.

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