What clients look for in a financial planner

  • Staff Reporter | May 25, 2018
Financial Planning - Job Search

When you're looking after someone's financial future, you can bet they'll be looking at you.

On average, Australian financial planners are earning around $92,000 a year; far above the national average. However, when you first start out in financial planning, you might not be bringing in the big bucks, but with a few years experience and the right qualifications behind you, you could be breaking the six-figure mark and enjoying the success you worked so hard for. 

As a people-focused field, you’ll need to bring in clients – and keep them – in order to grow your career. Fortunately, there are lots of guides for customers on how to choose a financial planner and you can use this knowledge to create an offering that adds real value.

Clients want highly educated advisors

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Nearly every guide for consumers looking to find a financial planner starts out with a reminder to check the planner’s qualifications.

Under the old legislation, pretty much anybody could use the term “financial planner” or “financial advisor”, and you’d only need a minimum of a diploma to provide financial advice. Not anymore!

Since the changes to the Corporations Act in 2016, financial planners will be required to have a minimum of an approved bachelor’s degree starting 2019. They’ll also need to be accredited by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority by sitting an exam (following a year of supervised professional experience).

If you want to get ahead in financial planning, you can also do additional study in a related field, such as accounting, law or property, or undertake continuous professional development courses to specialise in areas such as retirement investing or debt management.

They’re checking the ASIC register

Switched on consumers will be checking the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s register of financial planners. This register holds the details of all 24,000 planners operating in Australia, listing their full names, employers, qualifications, memberships and a history of any complaints against them. It’s your responsibility to keep the register updated by contacting ASIC.

Trust is important

It’s not enough to just be great at crunching the numbers for your clients, people want to trust the person they’re taking financial advice from.

Fact Check: 82% of clients list interpersonal skills as the number one quality they look for in a financial planner.

Not technical knowledge? No – the study revealed that technical skills and ability are a basic expectation that consumers have of a financial adviser.

The elements of successful interpersonal communications were made up of communication skills, building rapport, caring and taking a genuine interest in clients, identifying and understanding client needs, listening skills, and empathy.

Got what it takes to be a top-notch financial planner?

There's a range of reputable Registered Training Organisations in Australia that can get you started on the road to a career as a financial planner. Find one in your area or even online!

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