Financial Planning Careers

Over the past ten years, the growth in the financial planning industry has been nothing short of phenomenal. Financial planning courses have become more and more popular as aspirants clamour to take part in a profession that promises career satisfaction as well as financial reward.

They don’t teach us much at school about managing our money and building our futures, so we all need some degree of financial advice.

As a Financial Planner, you’re helping people empower themselves. They’ll achieve more in life, become financially better off, and plan a secure future for themselves, their partner, their children and their children’s children. So if you are good at analysis with a human touch, balancing the rational with the emotional, working with numbers as well as needs and desires, then financial planning could well be the career for you.

You’ll never get bored. Financial planning is anything but the same thing day after day, week after week − because all your clients and their lives and needs are so different. You will be wearing many different hats throughout each working day − life coach, financial guide, money management trainer, and even providing your clients with emotional support when they need it most.

Great Financial Planners are right brain and left brain people who thrive on variety and love a challenge. Best of all is that you don’t have to chain yourself to a desk day in, day out. You can choose to work at a big financial institution, a smaller boutique firm, or start up your independent practice.

Salaries for financial planners are above average, so while you’re helping other people become better off, you’ll be improving your own life as well. The financial knowledge you’ve gained in your work will help you make the most of your income.

Financial planning organisations are as varied as the people who work in them, and the clients they serve – most include a blend of financial planners, paraplanners, client service and administration staff.

Financial planners have many employment options to choose from, including large multinational financial institutions, to small three or four-person financial planning boutiques. Big organisations like banks, credit unions or fund managers have their advantages i.e. you’ll quickly develop the skills you’ve acquired in your studies. If you decide a smaller practice is for you, then consider joining a boutique financial planning firm. Their numbers continue to grow, and they offer different opportunities to larger firms.

When choosing a large or small employer, you’ll find there are benefits to working for either, and the choice is yours.

Larger firms can provide you with the ability to specialise in specific areas of financial planning, and the chance to work in various divisions and locations.  This can help you discover your strengths and weaknesses and develop your career further. Small firms can provide the opportunity to work on a much broader range of tasks, and you may develop closer relationships with your clients, which can be very personally rewarding.

ASIC has identified several specialist knowledge areas that need particular types of training.

These include:

  • Financial planning
  • Securities
  • Superannuation
  • Managed investments
  • Derivatives
  • Life and general insurance
  • Foreign exchange
  • Self-managed superannuation funds

For planners who wish to offer a complete service to their clients, ASIC requires that they be competent in all specialist knowledge areas. It is important to keep in mind that the licence holder overlooking the planner in training is ultimately responsible for any advice given out by the trainee.

To maintain professional standards, ASIC maintains a register of approved training courses, and it is incumbent upon potential financial planners to choose the appropriate course listed in the training register. Formal qualifications are highly regarded by licence holders, although they are not an absolute requirement.

For example, a Certified Practising Accountant who holds a degree may find their postgraduate qualification is an excellent foundation upon which to establish a successful financial planning business, and of the completion of financial planning, the course is a bonus.