A financial adviser (or advisor) is a professional who renders financial services to clients.

A financial advisory provides financial advice or guidance to customers for compensation.

Financial advisers, or adviser, can provide many different services, such as investment management, income tax preparation and estate planning. They must carry the Series 65 license to conduct business with the public; a wide variety of licenses are available for the services provided by a financial adviser.

Financial advisers provide clients with specialist advice on how to manage their money. The role involves researching the marketplace and recommending the most appropriate products and services available, ensuring clients are aware of and understand the products that best meet their needs and then securing a sale.

Advisers may specialise in particular products, depending on their clients, such as selling employee pension schemes to companies or offering mortgage, pension or investment advice to private clients. Others are generalists, offering advice to clients in all of these areas, as well as saving plans and insurance.

In order to give financial advice, advisers must have professional qualifications and follow strict financial industry rules.

Financial advisers may be known as financial planners or wealth managers.

Responsibilities

There are two different types of financial adviser and advice:

  • Independent;
  • Restricted.

Independent advisers, also called independent financial advisers (IFAs), research and consider all retail investment products or providers available to meet the client’s needs. They must provide clients with unbiased and unrestricted advice.

Restricted advisers only offer limited advice, focusing on a particular range of products or on products from one, or a limited number, of providers.

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