A financial consultant or financial advisor is an individual who gives financial advice to clients according to their current financial circumstances. In the United Kingdom and United States, financial advisers must meet certain licensing requirements and be registered with an independent regulatory body, depending on the type of advice they give. The amount of financial advice that can be given is limited by the various Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulations that are in place to protect the consumer.
When considering hiring a financial adviser, it is important to take into consideration what services they offer. Some advisers specialize in certain areas such as pensions, savings, insurance, business advice and international finance. Other professionals provide general advice and may work with a range of people from young adults to retired individuals. It is important to consider what specific services you require before deciding upon an adviser.
Most FSA regulations require financial advisers to be members of the Financial Services Authority (FSA). This is the body that regulates all matters that relate to financial advice and investment. To become a member of the FSA, an adviser must register with the FSA and pass a three-year examination. In order to find an FSA member, contact the Financial Services Authority and request information about becoming a member.
Another type of financial advice that is available from financial advisers is in the area of retirement planning. Retirement planning includes the management of money for the long-term as well as investing for future earning potential. Some FSA regulations allow registered advisors to provide general retirement advice; however, this service is only allowed in specific circumstances. Registered investment advisers must hold an FSA retirement annuity license in order to offer financial advice.
Many financial advisers offer investments for those who are starting out in their retirement years. These services are often referred to as wealth enhancement or life strategy management. These services can be very affordable and are not usually covered by insurance policies. Some advisers will offer a complimentary initial meeting up with financial advisors who specialize in these services.
A certified financial planner, also known as a CFP, is an advisor who meets both the requirements of being a member of the FSA and the guidelines for offering financial advice. Certified financial planners can be licensed by the FSA and will meet certain educational and membership requirements. In order to become a certified financial planner, the advisor must pass a three-year exam and obtain three years of supervised experience. To find a certified financial planner, contact the FSA and request information about becoming a member of the organization.