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What organisations look for when hiring IFAs

01 Mar 2021

A career as an IFA (Independent Financial Advisor) can be lucrative and rewarding, especially when you work with the right company. If you’re thinking about taking the next step in your career, you should make sure you have a good book of client business and that you are able to show your track record of performance and service.

At Idex Consulting, we’ve been helping IFAs climb up the ladder by matching them with organisations that will help them thrive. To help you make the jump, Tony Bates, Managing Director at Idex Consulting tells us what businesses look for when they’re hiring IFAs.

Initiative, passion and drive

What sets a brilliant IFA apart from a terrible one is their passion for wealth management and financial planning, and their ability to stay up-to-date with the constantly evolving world of finance and investment.  

When an IFA is passionate about what they’re doing, they’ll naturally want to learn more and more about the industry and how they can do their job better. 

Without this spark, it’s easy to fall behind as there isn’t the drive to keep up with the industry. So, be prepared for a prospective employer to ask you, “What's new in the industry?"

Analytical skills

The saying goes, the devil is in the detail and this is absolutely true when it comes to diving into the detail in the data. If you’re looking to excel in your career as an independent financial advisor, it’s important that you can showcase your in-depth analytical skills. 

Whether this is in cash flow management, retirement planning, investment management or tax planning, having the ability to dive into the data and make informed decisions and recommendations is a sure fire way to take that next step in your career.

You can showcase your skills by creating a well structured portfolio that takes a wide range of metrics into account, such as strategic asset allocation, standard deviation and tactical asset allocation. In doing this, you’re showing that you’re able to reallocate assets that align with industry and goal changes. 

Growing your book of business

For IFAs to succeed, they need to be able to grow their book of business. In fact, if you have a large book of client business to take with you, you’ll be a much more appealing candidate, as it shows you’re able to sell the services you offer. 

That being said, it is important to make sure the services you’re selling to a client are of genuine interest to them, rather than making a sale for the sake of it. A healthy book will show prospective organisations that you have excellent communication skills and can identify gaps within a client’s financial plan and offer the right solutions to help them. 

Putting your clients first

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - every successful Financial Advisor will do everything they can to put their clients’ interests first. Every bit of advice they offer must have the financial interests of both parties involved, otherwise they risk souring the relationship. 

For example, if you’ve sold mutual funds with high sales loads or irrelevant insurance policies, or you’re charging high investment management fees, it will look like you’re draining the client of their funds, and show you’re not acting in their best interests. It sounds simple, but it is an easy mistake that can jeopardise an otherwise easily manageable relationship.

Ensure you're regulated by the FCA

Any experienced IFA will know that they must represent or be an appointed representative of a firm registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

Before the end of 2012, Financial Advisers only needed a Level 3 Qualification and Credit Framework or above. However, since the 2013, Financial Advisers need a Level 4 qualification or above. Additionally, IFAs must obtain an annual Statement of Professional Standing, that establishes they have the right qualifications and are up to date with the code of ethics. 

Additionally, UK based IFAs must be authorised or exempt under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Part of the IFA Network, it is responsible for the advice and regulatory compliance of its members.

Again, it sounds simple enough, but it’s this kind of simple administrative tasks that if not kept up with could lose you the edge against another competitor.

With over 75 years’ worth of combined experience, our team of expert Financial Consultants possess unrivalled knowledge when it comes to helping Financial Advisors succeed, whether they’re in Financial Planning, Employee Benefits, Investment Management, Compliance, Paraplanning and Senior Appointments. If you’re looking to drive the growth of your business, get in touch today.
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