Financial Planner / Financial Investment Advisers

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Openings 5 years to November 2018: 10,001 to 25,000
Median weekly earnings: >$1500
Australian Government Department of Employment 2014
Self employed financial planner Adam Smith describes the euphoria that comes with his occupational territory: ''I get a real buzz from taking someone who is in financial disarray and helping them to take charge of their financial affairs".

There are currently around 2,400 financial investment advisers employed in South Australia. Employment is largely full-time and most work in the finance and insurance industry. Most persons in this occupation are male and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. Financial Investment Advisers and Managers have a median age of 42.
  • Whether you're anxious about where to invest your savings, how to fund your children's education or your retirement, a financial planner can help you. A financial planner will interview you to develop an understanding of your needs and goals. They will assess your requirements, your current financial strategies and work with you to develop a customised financial plan to meet your needs.

    A good financial planner needs to develop a relationship of trust with clients, who are required to disclose highly personal information related to their assets and liabilities, their earning capacity and their personal lifestyle requirements.

  • Bachelor degrees in commerce and economics are relevant to this occupation. These courses are available from all universities in South Australia. It is recommended to take tertiary degrees to a postgraduate level.

    TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Accounting and the Diploma of Financial Planning. Pathways include Certificate II, III and IV in Financial Services, Certificate III in Accounts Administration, Certificate IV in Accounting, or Financial Practice Support.

    Studying at TAFE SA is one of the easiest and most successful pathways towards a University Degree. Dual offer courses are available to TAFE SA and Flinders University in the Diploma or Advanced Diploma of Accounting/Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting), Diploma or Advanced Diploma of Accounting/Bachelor of Commerce (Finance.

    Still unsure? Then try a short course also offered through TAFE SA such as Business Tax Calculations, Basic Bookkeeping or Financial Calculations. Check the website for the full list of short courses.

    SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

  • It is a large occupation with good employment prospects. Once experience has been gained, opportunities for advancement are also generally very good. However, entry to this career is highly competitive. Those wanting to be recruited by the top firms need to demonstrate a strong academic background. It takes some time to gain the experience required for advancement, and many firms demand specialised qualifications or relevant experience.

    While there is an increasing demand throughout the country for financial advisory services, banks and other financial institutions are increasingly focusing their dealer functions in their head offices, usually located interstate.

  • Before making recommendations, planners will look at a variety of ways of meeting each client's financial needs. These might include different forms of investment, a range of insurance policies, superannuation plans, or taxation planning strategies. Most financial planners are usually linked to a specific set of insurance or investment products. Once they have obtained the relevant information they require from their clients, they may use computer packages, developed by these companies, to determine which provider best suits their client's needs. Independent financial planners, on the other hand, are not affiliated in this way. They do not receive commission from the company they recommend, but instead receive a set fee from the client.

    Once a financial planner has prepared a recommendation, they meet with their client to discuss possible options. If the recommendation is what the client is looking for, the planner will complete any necessary paperwork and finalise the agreement with the client. ''The hardest part of the job is trying to find the best solution to someone's financial problems. Communication and interpersonal skills are a must for this occupation. The ability to understand where the client is coming from is really important here. If you cannot communicate with your client and understand their individual needs, you will not be able help them,'' says Adam.

  • Financial advisers have a legal obligation to provide sound advice, and consequently the job has considerable responsibility attached to it. They need to have good communication skills and should be able to make accurate calculations quickly. As they would be working with software packages specific to financial planning, it is necessary that they have an aptitude for using computers. They also must be able to work independently and be able to work under pressure. Considerable research is involved in this occupation, as such they need to have a strong interest in the financial market and have good analytical skills.

  • Employment can be sought with banks, insurance and investment companies, accounting and legal firms, financial dealers and stockbrokers. There are also good self employment opportunities for experienced financial planners, however they need a large network of clients, extensive experience in the finance industry, and a detailed knowledge of running a small business. As much of a financial planner's work involves mathematical calculations, they must have very good skills in this area. New computing programs have made it easier to undertake some of the necessary financial modelling, so it is now necessary to have strong computing skills. There is a high demand for skilled financial planners in Western Australia. As people become increasingly aware of the importance of financial independence, more and more people, including those on average incomes, are requiring advice on how and where to investment their money.

    Further information:
    ASIC - South Australia
    GPO Box 9827, Adelaide SA 5001
    Phone 1300 300 630
    Fax: (08) 8202 8410

    Financial Planning Association of Australia
    Phone: 1300 626 393