Financial advisors are professionals who are trusted by their clients to give them the best advice and guidance when it comes to money and investing. This makes it essential for all financial advisors to be ethical, responsible, and properly qualified to perform their duties.
To be an effective financial planner, at least two qualifications are needed – the Certified Financial Planner™ and General Tax Practitioner qualifications. Apart from this essential education, a degree in commerce is extremely beneficial for financial advisors.
How to qualify as a financial advisor
If you’re interested in a career as a financial advisor, there are several ways to earn the qualifications you’ll need to do the job. Here is a quick guide to understanding the two essential qualifications that every financial advisor needs:
Certified Financial Planner®
This qualification equips financial advisors with the knowledge and skills they need to assist their clients. The CFP qualification covers various topics including financial planning, insurance, estate planning, and retirement planning.
A financial planner who receives their CFP certificate should be able to assist clients in all areas of their personal finances, providing advice and assistance where necessary.
The Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa offers finance professionals the option of writing their CPF exams through a local branch. The organisation’s website has more details, including the syllabus, exam dates, and fees.
For general information of the CFP qualification, please visit the CFP Board of Standards website.
General Tax Practitioner(SA)™
General Tax Practitioners are licensed to give taxation advice and assist their clients to file returns, as well as handling queries related to SARS.
Unlike the CFP which is a qualification on its own, to become a General Tax Practitioner you will need to obtain a license from the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners.
The SAIT has certain minimum educational requirements that must be met before a GTP license will be issued, and most of these require a strong background in accounting. However, finance professionals who have been in the industry for some time will also be given credit for their experience when applying to practice as a General Tax Practitioner.
Financial advisors are often B.Com graduates, and a background in commerce is an excellent training for finance professionals who would like a career in this field. As well as the right qualifications, it’s important for financial advisors to be good with people – clients will feel more at ease with a financial advisor who makes them feel comfortable and will be more receptive to advice.