What Are A Financial Planner's Responsibilities And Skills?
Updated 19 September 2023
Financial planners are specialists who advise and assist clients in managing their financial affairs. This work involves a combination of hard and soft talents to assist people handle the demands and challenges of the job. Learning about the responsibilities of a financial planner might help you prepare for the role if you want to pursue a career in this sector. In this article, we discuss what a financial planner does, present a list of their duties, explain how to join this field and describe the skills they often use.
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What Are A Financial Planner's Responsibilities?
A financial planner's responsibilities include working with individuals, families and businesses to manage their finances and achieve long-term financial goals. These professionals help people manage their assets, financial risks, estate planning and investments. They also have in-depth knowledge about finance, budgeting and taxation. While some financial planners offer specialised services, others provide general financial advice. Here is a list of responsibilities financial planners assume to help you understand what they do:
Financial planners study clients' financial health by reviewing their income, expenditures, assets and liabilities. This information lets them identify suitable opportunities for their clients and helps them manage their client's finances. In addition, financial planners help clients file their taxes correctly and ensure they understand their financial circumstances. These professionals also help simplify complex topics for their clients and explain changes to economic policies.
Create financial plans
Financial planners create long-term and short-term plans depending on a client's profile. They can help create monthly and yearly budgets, identify investment opportunities and present financial opportunities for a more secure future. Financial planners have an important role in retirement planning, as they help clients identify the best available retirement plan and encourage them to invest promptly. Depending on a client's career stage, financial planners may recommend different solutions to help their clients meet their goals.
Stay up to date with the latest financial developments
One of the most important responsibilities financial planners fulfil is staying up to date with the latest industry developments, policies and strategies to help their clients. Reading this material ensures financial planners can recommend the best options available. Changes to fiscal policies and economic conditions may affect tax policies, public spending and budgets. Financial planners learn about these changes to minimise the impact on their client's finances.
Assist in times of crisis
Financial planners play an important role in helping manage unforeseen events, such as accidents, death, illness, job loss or financial loss. During times of crisis, they may recommend emergency actions, offer advice for managing finances and create plans to ensure their client's financial security. They may also help people plan for life events like marriages or starting a family.
How To Become A Financial Planner?
While some financial planners offer advice for free, certified financial planners are professionals who have the appropriate qualifications to offer financial advice. Here are the steps that you can follow to become a certified financial planner:
1. Obtain the relevant education
The first step to entering this profession is to obtain the appropriate educational training. It is important to pass your 10+2 examinations at a recognised college and receive a minimum of 50% marks. You can also enroll in a bachelor's course in finance, accounting, business administration or economics. These courses teach you topics such as budgeting, business ethics, managerial finance, accounting principles, business statistics and others. Pursuing any of these courses can help you learn the basic concepts that help when you become a financial planner.
2. Apply for internships
The next step is to apply for an internship in a company's financial department or a financial organisation. Here, you can work closely with senior financial planners and observe them to learn the applications of the concepts you learned at university. During your internship, you can also learn about complex financial topics, help managers attend to important portfolios and network with clients. This experience can also allow you to build customer relationship skills to help you manage future clients effortlessly.
3. Register with the Securities and Exchange Board of India
The next step to becoming a certified financial planner is to obtain recognition from the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Two courses help you accomplish this. They are NISM Series-X-A: Investment Advisor (Level 1) and NISM Series-X-B: Investment Advisor (Level 2). These certifications make you eligible for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification that the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) distributes. Once you achieve these certifications, you become a qualified financial planner and can offer financial advice for a fee.
4. Pursue additional certifications
After you achieve the initial certifications, you can pursue additional courses to help you specialise in a particular area and offer those services. For example, you can become an expert in investments, retirement planning or risk management. Some of the courses that you can pursue include Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Financial Risk Manager (FRMN), Chartered Mutual Fund Counsellor (CMFC) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA).
5. Apply for jobs
Once you complete all your educational requirements and acquire your additional certifications, the next step is to look for jobs. You can find several vacancies for financial planners on job boards. Before you apply, ensure you update your resume with the latest information. It is beneficial to highlight your certifications and achievements, so the recruiter notices them. Alternatively, you can independently offer your services to build a portfolio of clients and help them manage their finances.
Financial Planner Skills
Here is a list of skills that help financial planners perform their responsibilities well:
One of the most important skills financial planners can cultivate is wealth management. This skill helps them plan and manage their clients' finances with care. Using this skill, financial planners can generate a higher income for their clients, identify the best investment opportunities and mitigate financial risks.
Financial planners analyse the current financial status of their clients, study their income sources and identify the best financial opportunities for them. When clients are in financial trouble, it is the responsibility of the financial planner to identify the best solution. Finding solutions requires them to study all options and review financial policies or strategies that can help. Analytical skills help financial planners evaluate the seriousness of a problem, calculate and identify a good solution and determine the implications an option may have in the future.
As financial planners work directly with clients, interpersonal skills are important because they help build strong relationships. These skills include good communication, empathy and active listening. Depending on the situation, financial planners often adjust their communication style, to better relate with the client. While interpersonal skills help build relationships with clients, it is important for financial planners to have good customer service skills such as patience, a sense of responsibility and persuasion.
Attention to detail
As financial planners manage and ensure their client's money financial security, attention to detail is an important skill. It helps ensure financial planners maintain error-free records for their clients. It also ensures they check all policy-related documents carefully before presenting them to mitigate expensive losses.
One of the most important skills for financial planners is foresight. This skill can help them identify potential risks and create plans to minimise losses. Foresight can also help financial planners predict economic conditions, judge their direct effect on their clients and suggest solutions accordingly.
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