A financial adviser or financial planner is a professional who offers financial advice to customers according to their financial circumstances. In most countries, financial advisers are required to complete certain formal training and then be registered with a governing body to offer financial advice. However, financial advisers can also work independently, following their own passion or interest, and providing financial advice to their clients. This sort of independent financial advice is much sought after, as most people want to be kept informed about their financial health, and as such are likely to be more receptive to advice from an adviser who is not tied to any one particular organisation or firm. Independent financial advisers can work in various ways, and the methods used will depend on the type of advice they wish to offer and the relative expertise of the adviser and the person receiving the financial advice.
Some financial advisors work independently, selling insurance or pension plans to individual clients, and some work for professional organisations, such as investment firms. Some financial advisors may work for self-employed individuals, or in partnership with other professionals, such as accountants, estate agents and solicitors. However, there is no requirement that these people get a license or register with an authority to work as financial advisors, as they are allowed to offer any advice they like, and are not required to follow the guidelines stipulated by the Financial Services Authority or the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. Financial planners are registered members of the Financial Services Authority, and must meet a number of strict eligibility criteria, such as being over 18 years old, being UK resident, holding a Graduate degree, and having a fixed pass grade at the end of each three-year financial year (the FTSE 100). Financial planners can also be solicitors, but must not act as an advisor for a client in that profession.
Financial advisors can make a huge amount of money through their recommendations. The main reason for this is that they use their influence to persuade their customers to invest in the right projects for them. However, many financial advisors can be found online who will charge a small commission fee for their advice, which is often worth paying for if you have a particular project that needs advise and would otherwise be too expensive for you to take up on your own. However, before deciding on which financial advisors to use, you should read up on as much information as possible on the companies you are considering, and ensure that the advisors you are interested in fully meet the CFA registration criteria and have a professional and trustworthy reputation.