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Financial Advisor

What does a Financial Advisor do?

A financial advisor is an expert who helps clients to organise their finances. An advisor will forecast the outcomes of investments and savings to form a clear picture of their clients' financial future. The professional assistance a financial advisor offers puts their clients' monetary strategy on a different level.

In broad terms, they collect personal and financial information and use this data to formulate a long-term monetary plan for their clients. In terms of preparation for the career, a financial advisor is somebody who has ideally received years of training, education and experience in everything finance-related. They could make a significant difference in the quality of the financial choices of their clients.


What qualifications do I need?

The best way to become a financial advisor is to obtain a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics or a related field. This educational background will provide you with the necessary knowledge and understanding of financial concepts and markets. Next, you should pursue professional certifications such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. This certification demonstrates your competence in financial planning and is highly regarded in the industry. Additionally, joining professional organisations like the Financial Planning Institute (FPI) can provide networking opportunities and access to resources that will enhance your career prospects.

What subjects do I need?



Where can I study?

Wits University
BCom (Economics and Finance)

University of Cape Town
BCom (Economics and Finance)

Bachelor of Commerce in Financial Management

University of Pretoria
BCom (Investment Management)

Where can I get more info?

Financial Planning Institute of South Africa (FPI) - www.fpi.co.za
Financial Intermediaries Association (FIA) - www.fia.org.za
Financial Planning Standards Board - www.fpsb.org


Interview with a Financial Advisor

Kirsten Smit | ADVISORY PARTNER | Citadel

Kirsten Smit | ADVISORY PARTNER | Citadel


Why did you choose this profession? 
I gain tremendous satisfaction from adding value to my clients’ lives and ensuring that their finances and investments are as efficient as possible, and in line with their respective lifestyles and ever-changing circumstances. I also really enjoy the fact that the role is both highly personable in that I get to engage with clients regularly, but also has a strong analytical and strategic slant.

What training did you undergo?  
I have a BCom Honours, an MBA, a CFP qualification and have also undergone RE training, and have various certifications across all the asset classes from the South African Institute of Financial Markets (SAIFM). In addition, the role requires ongoing continuous professional development (CPD), so I spend a lot of time attending investment forums, reading, and keeping up to date with what is happening in the markets.

Describe a typical day 
The day starts with me spending time catching up on the markets from the day before. I’m subscribed to several media platforms that cover all noteworthy events.  From there, I will reply to emails and check-in with my assistants. I usually see 2-3 clients a day, and then spend the time between meetings rebalancing portfolios, running cashflow analyses, and writing up client minutes and investment proposals.  Networking is also important; I spend a considerable amount of time each month attending events, keeping in touch with prospective clients, and looking to build my brand and profile.

What do you enjoy most about your work?  
I really love the fact that every client is different and that I get to help them along their respective journeys. I also value the flexibility – I am a mom of four young kids, and it is important to me that I can attend events that are important to them.  

Any dislikes?  
I never get to completely switch off. Even on holiday, I still need to be available to clients, but since I have such great relationships with them, I don’t really mind.    

What’s been the highlight?  
While I cannot pin down a specific highlight, I have found enormous satisfaction in growing my experience and skill set over time. My book (assets under management) has constantly evolved and grown and I’m currently managing over R1 billion worth of assets which, while financially rewarding, is also a huge responsibility. I am also proud of the inroads we are making in empowering females in the investment space. I am passionate about spreading the importance of financial health and wellness, especially among women.

Is there a type of personality best suited to this work?  
You need to be able to engage with others, form trusting relationships, and more than anything, be able to listen. A strong analytical ability also helps.

Advice for someone starting out?
Always be looking to learn. You will never know everything, and the world is changing at a rapid pace, so always seek to upskill yourself.  

Interview date: May 2022