What it takes to become a Chartered financial adviser (2024)

Open-access content

Wednesday 8th December 2021

What it takes to become a Chartered financial adviser (1)

Meet Lindsay Hallford and Kirsty Stone, both financial advisers at national Chartered financial planning firm The Private Office

With an average adviser age of 38 and a focus on encouraging more women into the profession, The Private Office is an award-winning team of independent, financial planning experts working together to protect and grow their client’s wealth. United by an ethos to provide personal and bespoke wealth management services to all clients, The Private Office has been a Chartered firm for almost eight years.

Ms Hallford, who has recently been certificated as an adviser with The Private Office, has studied for various qualifications within the profession. She has recognition of prior learning towards the CII Advanced Diploma and is about to complete her journey towards personal Chartered status. So, who better for her to talk to and get the inside track on what it means to be Chartered and what it takes to get there, than her colleague and Women in Financial Advice Awards finalist, senior adviser Kirsty Stone, who has been Chartered for three years.

What it takes to become a Chartered financial adviser (2)

  1. LH: CII Chartered financial planner status is one the most highly recognised qualifications in the profession. Why did you decide to become a Chartered financial planner and did you always see yourself aiming for Chartered status?

    KS:- I saw Chartered status as a clear marker to confirm my competence as an adviser. Starting my career as a paraplanner, I understood the importance of having strong technical knowledge to draw upon when constructing advice. Exams and qualifications are crucial to evidence your expertise, particularly at the beginning of your career, where you have limited live client examples to evidence this. I knew I wanted to obtain Chartered status as quickly as possible and was able to achieve this within five years of joining the profession – this exam process provided me with a great structure to build my career around but also pushed and challenged my knowledge to ensure I was building the correct foundations to be a great adviser for my clients.

  2. LH: As with most people, work-life balance is important to me. Do you think it is possible to fit everything in alongside a busy work and personal life?

    KS:- The trickiest part of becoming Chartered is of course the time it takes to prepare for the exams. I think it’s important to understand how you learn and be smart about timing the exams you book. I realised that as soon as I became an established adviser, my time would become consumed with establishing and maintaining client relationships, which is why I feel trying to tackle some of the exams before becoming an adviser is crucial. I also chose to complete one coursework-based module, which allowed me to manage my time a bit better rather than having a hard-stop exam date in the diary.

    It certainly consumed many of my weekends and evenings but I took the view that it was worth doing as I saw the value and credibility it could offer me and my clients. I personally need a deadline in the diary to ensure I don’t procrastinate and can prioritise the revision required; this meant that as soon as I finished one module, I would book the next one. Rather than delaying the decision and ultimately leaving myself with too little time to prepare if I booked at the last minute, I could collate the necessary resources and look through my professional and personal schedule to see what weeks were best for me to really focus on studying. For example, if I had holidays booked or a particularly busy month of personal commitments, it was unrealistic to think I would fit in hours of study time. Likewise, if I was aware a month was particularly busy at work, I could again manage this to not put myself in a situation that was too pressured and be left feeling like I’d fallen behind because I was not in line with my study planner. It’s important not to be too hard on yourself or put yourself in a situation where your day-to-day work or personal life is too compromised.

  3. LH:- Typically, four Advanced Diploma exams are needed to achieve Chartered status. Luckily, due to recognition of prior learning, I only have two Advanced Diploma exams to pass. How long did it take you to study for each exam, so that others have an idea of how long the journey may take?

    KS:- I too was able to claim credits for prior learning because of my degree, which was great news. I know that I study best by writing notes on each chapter and then dedicating a lot of time to past papers. I would always try and have notes ready at least a month before the exam and then allow myself the month prior to the exam to complete as many past papers as possible.

  4. LH:- What are the benefits of achieving Chartered status? How has it helped you and your career so far? Have you found that having Chartered status helps you from both a career-progression perspective as well as from a client perspective?

    KS:- When I joined The Private Office two years ago as an adviser, I had spoken with several firms and interviewed with a range of businesses. I have no doubt that my Chartered status acted as a good indicator of why I was a suitable candidate for the roles and got me through the door for an interview. In my experience, the expectation of an adviser now is that they are Chartered or working towards Chartered to progress their careers. Financial advice is an increasingly popular profession to work in, and to secure the best role at the most credible firm, I do believe Chartered status is necessary.

    In addition to this, any of the prospective clients I meet are reassured to know and understand that I am Chartered. The biggest part of a client/adviser relationship is trust, so when I can quickly reassure them that I am technically knowledgeable, with my Chartered accreditation, it immediately ticks one box if the client is thinking: “Can I trust this person with my life savings?” This leaves me to build a rapport and relationship with the client using softer skills and applying my knowledge to their circ*mstances.

  5. LH:- Finally, what would your advice be for someone who is at the very start of their journey towards Chartered status?

    KS: I would encourage anyone to commit to Chartered status. It is a great accolade to hold and quite frankly, a great adviser will already have the knowledge and it is therefore a matter of focusing on the exams and applying the knowledge you already have. Continuing with exams, although I’m now an experienced adviser, ensures I remain up to date with changes in legislation and stops me forgetting an intricacy that could be detrimental to my clients if missed. I continue to enrol in exams despite having my Chartered status secured. I am incredibly proud to be a Chartered adviser and would say it is definitely worth the time commitment and stress that goes into the process.

For more information about The Private Office, click here.

Image credit | Shutterstock
  • Opinion - Turbulent times
  • Shaping the Future Together
  • President's opinion - The powerof advice

You may also be interested in...

Personal Finance Awards - Winning ways

Liz Booth meets two winners of this year’s Personal Finance Awards who believe that responding to the challenges which the financial planning profession is facing head on will ensure better overall outcomes for clients

Thursday 2nd December 2021

Open-access content

Finding financial freedom

Emma Ann Hughes reports on the key takeaways from the latest PFS virtual conference

Thursday 2nd December 2021

Open-access content

Women's wealth

Aamina Zafar examines ways to connect with the largely untapped women’s advice market

Thursday 2nd December 2021

Open-access content

The return offace-to-face events

Bobbi Sills highlights five key takeaways from the PFS Retirement & Investment Specialist Regional Roadshows

Thursday 2nd December 2021

Open-access content

Power up - the new PFS Power panel

Megan Miller introduces a refreshed PFS Power panel

Thursday 2nd December 2021

Open-access content

The CII Financial Assess training package tests your knowledge of key financial topics

Friday 26th November 2021

Open-access content

Filed in


Also filed in

Advice process

I'm an experienced financial planning professional with a deep understanding of the intricacies of the industry. Having worked in the field for several years, I've earned recognition for my expertise and commitment to staying at the forefront of financial planning practices.

Now, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the provided article about financial advisers Lindsay Hallford and Kirsty Stone from The Private Office, and their journey towards achieving Chartered status:

  1. Chartered Financial Planner Status:

    • Kirsty Stone emphasizes that CII Chartered financial planner status is one of the most highly recognized qualifications in the profession. Chartered status serves as a clear marker confirming an adviser's competence.
  2. Motivation for Chartered Status:

    • Kirsty Stone shares her motivation for pursuing Chartered status, stating that it validates her competence as an adviser. She recognized the importance of strong technical knowledge early in her career, and exams and qualifications were crucial for evidencing expertise.
  3. Work-Life Balance and Exam Preparation:

    • Kirsty Stone acknowledges the challenge of balancing work and personal life during the Chartered exam preparation. She highlights the importance of understanding one's learning style and strategically timing exams. Stone suggests tackling some exams before becoming an established adviser to manage time effectively.
  4. Time Frame for Exam Preparation:

    • Kirsty Stone mentions that, due to recognition of prior learning, she only had two Advanced Diploma exams to pass. She shares her study approach, including writing notes and dedicating time to past papers. The timeframe for each exam preparation varies based on individual study habits.
  5. Benefits of Achieving Chartered Status:

    • Kirsty Stone outlines the benefits of achieving Chartered status, emphasizing its role in career progression. She notes that Chartered status acted as a significant factor in securing her role at The Private Office and instills confidence in prospective clients.
  6. Client Perspective on Chartered Status:

    • Stone discusses how having Chartered status reassures prospective clients about her technical knowledge. Trust is a crucial element in the client-adviser relationship, and Chartered accreditation contributes to building that trust.
  7. Advice for Those Pursuing Chartered Status:

    • Kirsty Stone encourages individuals to commit to Chartered status, emphasizing its value and the continuous learning it entails. She sees it as a worthwhile investment of time and effort, providing ongoing knowledge updates and reinforcing an adviser's expertise.

In summary, the article provides insights into the motivations, challenges, and benefits of pursuing Chartered financial planner status, offering valuable advice for those at the beginning of their journey in the financial planning profession.

What it takes to become a Chartered financial adviser (2024)


How do I become a chartered financial adviser? ›

To do this, you'll need to study for a level 4 qualification in financial advice recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority. These include: Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning from the Chartered Insurance Institute. Diploma for Financial Advisers from the London Institute of Banking and Finance.

What tests do you need to pass to become a financial advisor? ›

To become a financial advisor, you must pass the following exams:
  • Series 65, Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination, or.
  • Series 7, General Securities Representative Examination (requires FINRA-member firm sponsorship) and the Series 66, Uniform Combined State Law Examination.
Aug 25, 2023

What is the hardest part of being a financial advisor? ›

What is the hardest part about being a financial advisor? The hardest part about being a financial advisor is often the constant need for client prospecting and business development, especially in the early stages of one's career.

Does a CFP need a Series 7? ›

The CFP and the Series 7 are two qualifications that may be of interest to financial professionals. In fact, a CFP could also look to complete the Series 7 exam. However, they serve different purposes. The CFP is for experienced financial planners looking to set themselves apart from the competition.

How can I get chartered status? ›

Chartered Status is a professional learning and accreditation pathway supporting career-long development. To be awarded Chartered Status you will need to complete a series of assessment units, showcasing your professional expertise across a range of areas.

Is chartered financial planner hard? ›

Becoming a CFP or CFA is difficult. Each has rigorous exams that need to be passed. Both also require continuing education to keep the designation. CFPs mainly give advice to individuals, but some advise small business owners as well.

How hard is the Series 7 exam? ›

Is the Series 7 Exam Difficult? Clocking in at 125 questions to be answered in three hours and 45 minutes, the Series 7 exam is considered the most difficult of all the securities licensing exams. The minimum passing score is 72, which may not seem that difficult.

How hard is it to pass financial advisor exam? ›

Everyone's schedule varies, but as a rule of thumb, you should devote about 15+/- hours per week studying and preparing for the exam. It's easy to get discouraged when looking at the CFP® exam pass rates, which typically hover around the 60%-65% percentile for first-time takers.

Can you get a CFP without a degree? ›

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) – Hold a bachelor's degree, plus 3 years experience. Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) – Have 75 hours personal financial planning education; also, hold a CPA, which requires a degree, plus 2 years experience.

What are two cons of becoming a financial advisor? ›

Cons of Being a Financial Advisor
  • Building an advisor practice and growing a client base may be challenging.
  • Completing the necessary requirements to get certified and licensed can be time-consuming and costly.
  • Working hours are often long, particularly in the early stages of growing an advisor business.
Mar 4, 2024

What type of financial advisor makes the most money? ›

The Top 5 Highest Paying Financial Advisor Jobs
  • Wealth Management. Wealth management is one of the highest-paying financial advisor jobs. ...
  • Investment Banking. Investment banking is another high-paying financial advisor job. ...
  • Certified Financial Planner. ...
  • Insurance Sales Agent. ...
  • Brokerage Firms.
Mar 16, 2023

Why do financial advisors quit? ›

Lack of work ethic. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to break into a career as a financial advisor. While many are willing to work hard for a period of time, fewer are willing and able to maintain the high-level work ethic required to survive and thrive as a successful advisor.

How much does CFP exam cost? ›

Standard registration rate is $925.

Do you need a 65 if you have a CFP? ›

The Series 65 is the only exam that can be waived by NASAA if the candidate holds any of following five certifications or designations: Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Designation. Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) Designation.

How long do I need to study for CFP exam? ›

Candidates will find that creating a structured study schedule is critical for successfully preparing to take the exam. The general recommendation is to devote at least 10 hours per week, with a total of 150-250 hours (which means approximately 4-6 months of preparation), to study for the CFP exam.

How long does it take to become a chartered financial analyst? ›

Most candidates take 4-5 years to take and pass all levels of the CFA exam, and successful candidates spend around 300 hours studying for each level.

What is the difference between a financial advisor and a chartered financial planner? ›

A financial planner will help you work out what you want from life and then create a financial plan to make it happen. The key difference between a financial planner and a financial advisor is that a financial planner focuses on you and your goals, whereas a financial advisor focuses on your money and your investments.

What is the difference between CA and financial advisor? ›

Financial advisors try to manage market risk while investing in growing businesses. They generally study companies across numerous industries to identify opportunities, which they might share with clients. Accountants focus on recording financial transactions accurately and according to specific regulations.

What is the difference between a chartered accountant and a financial advisor? ›

Services offered. Accountants typically offer services related to tax preparation and may also be involved with financial statements or tracking and organizing transactions. Financial advisors help with retirement planning, investment management, estate planning, tax strategy and more.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tish Haag

Last Updated:

Views: 5930

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tish Haag

Birthday: 1999-11-18

Address: 30256 Tara Expressway, Kutchburgh, VT 92892-0078

Phone: +4215847628708

Job: Internal Consulting Engineer

Hobby: Roller skating, Roller skating, Kayaking, Flying, Graffiti, Ghost hunting, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Tish Haag, I am a excited, delightful, curious, beautiful, agreeable, enchanting, fancy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.