Financial adviser

financial planner independent financial adviser (IFA)
Financial services

Career outlook for financial adviser

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would advise people so they can make the best decisions about how to use their money. You’d help them plan both for the present and the future.

You’d advise your clients on the right financial products for them, confidentially and fairly. These could be investments, savings, pensions, mortgages or insurance.

You would:

  • Talk to clients about their current finances and future plans
  • Research financial products
  • Explain details of products to clients
  • Prepare clear recommendations
  • Negotiate with the providers of financial products
  • Keep detailed records
  • Deal with client enquiries
  • Produce financial reports
  • Keep clients regularly updated about their investments

You’d need to keep up to date with new products and changes in the law, and meet performance and sales targets.

There are different types of financial adviser.

If you work as a tied adviser you’d work for a bank, building society or insurance company and only offer your own company’s financial products. As a multi-tied adviser you’d sell products from a number of companies. Both of these types of adviser are also known as ‘restricted’ advisers.

An independent financial adviser (IFA) offers products and gives advice on all financial products on the market.

Some advisers work with businesses and give advice to companies on benefits for their employees.

Working conditions


Your hours will vary depending on your employer. As a financial adviser at a high street bank, you will usually work standard office hours with some Saturday mornings. Evening and weekend work is common in banking contact centres. If you are giving independent financial advice you will often need to work in the evenings and at weekends to fit with your clients’ needs.​​


You could work in various settings such as an office, a banking contact centre or an estate agency.


As an independent financial adviser (IFA), you might work from home or travel to meet clients in their own homes.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Building relationships
  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with numbers
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Negotiating

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


You must take an Financial Conduct Authority approved qualification at SCQF level 7/8.

You would need a degree (SCQF level 9/10) to enter a graduate training scheme. To enter a finance degree requires National 4/5s and at least four Highers at BBBC or equivalent qualifications. 

Or you can take Financial Conduct Authority approved qualifications while working in another role within the finance sector. Though you can apply with any degree, qualifications with a numerate, business, or legal focus can be valuable.


Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses and employers) 
  • Maths (required by most courses and employers)
  • Accounts
  • Economics
  • Business subjects
  • ICTsubjects

You will also need

Once in the job you must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to give advice on financial products and have a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS).


Helpful to have

It is helpful to have relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Providing Financial Services (SVQ level 2/3) or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.