Day One – Deciding to become a Financial Advisor

by Adam on April 5, 2013, no comments

Independent Financial Advisor York

Today I made a commitment to myself to become a professional Independent Financial Advisor in the UK.

My goal is to build a meaningful and fulfilling career, helping people get more out of life through good money management and growth.  This site will chronicle my journey into making this dream a reality.

A Short History

I’ve been interested in investing since early adulthood. I didn’t have any money to save or invest but that didn’t stop me dreaming of growing my savings in the stock market.

After graduating from University I saved almost all of my meagre earnings from a summer job to make my first investments. By the time I had done my research and accumulated enough to invest it was October 2007. Yes, indeed, the height of the market before the ‘Credit Crunch’ had really begun to unfold.

Every month after that sunny October day when I had begun my investing journey I would see the numbers on my computer screen fall as the world went into what seemed to be a financial meltdown. But being a student of the markets I knew not to worry and kept buying every month, all the way to the bottom in March 2009, and back up again.

As the numbers started recovering and growing I enjoyed telling my friends about my adventures in the stock market and in 2010 I decided to spread my message further with a personal finance website, Magical Penny.

I passionately believe everyone should be investing at some level or another, and the internet has opened up a host of opportunities to get started and manage a portfolio at low cost.

But not everyone has the time, patience, aptitude or drive for DIY investing. And many others have lofty goals and complex lives that require more in-depth knowledge and attention.

I want to help these people, so after 3 years of writing and growing Magical Penny, I feel it’s time to take my knowledge further and become a qualified Independent Financial Advisor.

This site will follow my journey so welcome.

Beginning the Process

For my first foray into the world of professional financial advising I decided to line up some work experience to get a feel for the day-to-day realities of the job, as well as learning about the process I will need to go through to become qualifed.

With this in mind, today I spoke with some financial advisors for the first time, Darren and Stefan at NHA Financial Management in York. It was incredibly enlightening talking for 90 minutes about how we could help each other grow. I’m immensely grateful to them for taking time out of their day to talk with me.

One of the most useful things they told me was about the specific examination requirements I would need to reach to begin my career. There are quite a few qualifications that get an advisor to the required ‘QCF Level 4’ needed to sell but I wanted to learn what Darren and Stefan would recommend.

The benchmark qualification for financial advisers

The qualification recommended to me was the CII Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.
(UPDATE: I have decided to pursue this – click here)

This is the benchmark qualification for those advising on retail investment products and importantly it meets the QCF Level 4 exam standards in full. Although I have been writing about personal finance and investing for a few years I don’t have any qualifications which makes this particular diploma suitable for me.

If you have other relevant qualifications like a degree in Finance you may be able to add credits to a slightly different qualification: the Diploma in Financial Planning.

Whilst some larger firms can foot the bill for these qualifications, small IFA firms are unlike to have the capacity to fund them, so at this point in time I think self-funding them would be my best option. It would give me flexibility and time to pass the 6 modules needed to get qualified without commitments that may come with working for a large investment firm.

A busy first day in the industry!

Do get in touch if you are a financial advisor or going through the process. Leave a comment or email me at




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This post was written by Adam, a Financial Services Apprentice (and aspiring financial planner) based in York, UK. Read more here. To follow his progress just put your name and email in the boxes below and join the Financial Planning Academy