Are you thinking of making a career change to become a financial advisor? It’s a profession that has gotten more scrutiny in Canada in recent years, but I think that there will always be a need for financial advisors.
Managing finances well enough to achieve all our goals is a mystery to many people.
Although the fees that advisors charge can be high, there will always be people who are willing to pay for it.
It’s a job that can be quite satisfying, as you’re working closely with someone to achieve their financial goals.
This post will be ideal for you to begin learning how to become a financial advisor in Canada.
If you have ever had to work with a financial advisor, you know that talking to one can help you understand your options and get a better idea of what is and what isn’t important. Additionally, a financial advisor can help you see how you can increase your income and maximize your savings. These professionals also can prepare us to get out of challenging economic times.
A financial advisor, as the name suggests, is someone who gives advice on how to manage your finances.
These professionals should have a great understanding of financial markets, and they offer you advice on savings, investments, insurance, and any other financial tools that you might need to use to your advantage. Their in-depth understanding of financial markets does not mean they specialize in it, but they have a good enough grasp of it to provide you with an excellent overall strategy to manage your money.
The investment world is so much more than bonds, stocks, and savings. Depending on your financial goals, there are several ways to get the best out of your investment capital to achieve your dreams.
Whether you want to manage your investments yourself or give an expert total control, the real key is to ensure that your money has a secure setup. With several possible approaches, it is important to set everything up to meet your goals as best as possible.
How To Become A Financial Advisor In Canada
Becoming a financial advisor might not require having a masters’ degree in finance, but you do need certifications to qualify as someone who can give financial advice as a profession. There is plenty that you can learn so that you can get on this path.
It helps to have an educational background in finance, like a degree in economics, finance, or a related field. Besides a background in finance, you can take on courses that can help you pursue a career as a financial advisor in Canada. Again, it is a broad field and several courses that you can take, including:
- Asset allocation
- Portfolio management
- Canadian securities
- Financial planning processes
You also need to complete one of the courses below to be considered an accredited investment advisor:
- Wealth Management Essentials (WME) Course
- Conduct and Practices Handbook (CPH) Course
- Professional Financial Planning (PFP)
Completing the CSC and one of these courses will be necessary for employment in the field.
Having the knowledge base is just the start if you want to apply for securities registration. You will need at least 12 months of experience as a securities advisor in the three years before applying for a securities registration. Seek employment for a job that gives you experience directly related to the work you plan to do once you become registered.
Every financial advisor must complete the CSC to qualify to offer financial advice. Additionally, you may have to pass exam requirements for the specific area of practice you want to pursue. Here are some examples of additional exams you may need to pass:
- Canadian Investment Funds Exam (CIF)
- Canadian Investment Manager (CIM) designation
- Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) Exam
- Chief Compliance Officers (CCO) Qualifying Exam
- Investment Funds in Canada Course (IFIC) Exam
- Mutual Fund Dealers Compliance (MFDC) Exam
- Life Licence Qualification Program (LLQP) Exam
You can register for all of these exams throughout Canada. CSI Global Education has exam centers all over the country, and you must pass all securities exams within three years of applying for registration.
Every professional Canadian investment advisor has to register as a stockbroker to pursue their career. The registration is specific to every province in the country. Suppose that you are registered as a stockbroker in one province, but your career takes you to another province. In that case, you will have to register in that province to continue your practice.
Financial advisors need to register with the corresponding regulatory body depending on what securities products they sell.
The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA) are the regulatory bodies in Canada. These bodies are not government agencies, but registration with them is necessary.
IIROC provides approval for investment advisors if they want to sell securities, including stocks, Guaranteed Income Certificates (GICs), mutual funds, and bonds. The IIROC sets standards that financial advisors need to get approval.
The MFDA is responsible for regulating operations, standards, and expectations of its registered members to ensure protection for consumers.
What Type Of Financial Advisors Exist?
You might have heard the term financial advisor a lot but never realized that it is a broad term that covers several specializations. Here are some of the most important specializations within the field:
- Financial planner
- Bank financial advisor
- Mutual fund salesperson
- Investment advisor
- Financial coach
- Insurance advisor
Financial advisors, investment advisors, financial coaches, and financial planners might seem like they are all similar. However, a deeper understanding of each of these will help you understand how they differ from each other.
Understanding the differences between the work each of these professionals does can help you make an informed decision about which path is better suited for you.
A financial planner is someone who helps you get a clear picture of your financial goals based on your life goals. Once they help you understand your financial and life goals, they provide you with a guideline to accomplish those goals.
A financial planner “plans” and manages your investment and insurance requirements based on your income. They tailor the approach you need to take based on your circumstances and goals to help you enjoy a financially stable life that can gradually lead to a comfortable retirement.
A common misconception about financial planners is that they’re suitable for wealthy individuals. However, a qualified financial planner can help you meet your financial goals regardless of how much you earn or how much money you already have.
It does not matter how wealthy you are. Everybody can benefit from sound financial planning.
As the name suggests, an investment advisor is someone who specializes in investments and gives you advice on high-quality investment opportunities. Investment advisors can help you understand different types of securities, like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
Investment advisors traditionally work for investment firms. They work with you to help you create an investment portfolio that consists of assets that can help you meet your financial goals based on your circumstances.
An investment advisor receives commissions or a flat fee for their services by providing you sound investment advice.
Considering how similar the name is, many people think that financial coaches are the same as financial planners. However, financial planners might not have specialized training specifically for insurance and investments. Rather, they play more of a coaching role to help their clients become financially stable through:
- Helping them identify their goals
- Creating a budget for their cash flows
- Identifying their needs
- Factoring in their lifestyle, spending habits, and personality
- And managing their relationship with their finances
Financial coaches also help their clients set up financial plans and learn how to stick to them, but they don’t always sell financial products to earn commissions. From budgeting to managing debt, a financial coach traditionally helps their clients tackle several financial problems and challenges. They can also provide you with education on investment and help you create a retirement plan.
Most importantly, financial coaches give you the tools and motivation you need to get better control over your finances.
Helping people manage their relationship with money is a key part of what financial coaches do. Consider a person who constantly keeps racking up credit card debt each month without getting atop it. Consider another person who is so afraid of taking on debt that they barely have a credit history. Both situations do not present a healthy relationship with money.
A financial coach can help both these people improve their relationship with money by offering them guidance, educated advice, and equipping them with the tools they need to develop a healthy relationship with their finances.
Many people ask how long it takes to become a financial advisor. This is the golden question for anyone eager to switch careers. Reading this post on how to become a financial advisor in Canada might have helped you realize that it isn’t something you can become in a few months.
There are several steps involved in this career path, and you’re effectively going to create a specialty within a specialty, depending on the practice you plan to pursue.
You have to have the right education, experience, and certifications. The number of courses and designations can also differ based on the role you want to pursue as a financial advisor.
To give you an idea, the CSC exam alone requires an average of 100 to 200 hours of preparation, and that’s where your journey begins. So besides a year of education, you need experience and certification before you can become a financial advisor in Canada.
If you’re looking to change your career and pursue a different profession, here’s a useful resource that you can use to consider your options. You’d be surprised at all the possibilities out there.