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CHOOSING A CAREER / AUG. 21, 2014
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How to Become a Pensions Adviser

Pensions Adviser
istock

Would you like to provide organizations and people with information and advice on retirement provision? You can achieve this by working as a pensions adviser. Pensions advisers help individuals plan for their financial security upon retirement. These professionals have a trustworthy and honest manner that helps them win their clients’ confidence.

What do Pensions Advisers do?

As a pensions adviser, you can work for a pension consultancy firm. You might be responsible for establishing and running benefit schemes on behalf of various companies. Your other duties include:

  • Analyzing the fiscal market for appropriate investment funds
  • Planning pension and benefits packages to ensure that the needs of client companies are met
  • Managing the schemes
  • Administering client affiliations and finding new business
  • Calculating and evaluating the pension funds’ value
  • Giving out consistent statements to members of the pension scheme
  • Responding to enquiries arising from scheme members
  • Selling savings and pension plans to individuals
  • Updating clients on a regular basis on their investments and pensions

Salary

Pensions consultants’ annual median salaries are as follows:

Trainee advisers

 

£17,000-£26,000

Qualified advisers

 

£30,000-£50,000

Senior consultants

 

£80,000 and above

Source: Prospects

Skills

The position of a pensions adviser requires you to have the following qualities:

  • Excellent listening and communication skills
  • Ability to offer explanation on complex information in a clear and simple manner
  • Excellent negotiation and sales skills
  • Have a deep interest in markets and financial products
  • Good IT and Math skills
  • Have the motivation and drive to meet deadlines
  • Be honest and trustworthy
  • Have a good comprehension of regulatory guidelines
  • Correctness and attention to detail
  • Ability to research and evaluate information

Qualifications

Employers prefer individuals who have gained experience as financial customer service adviser or pensions administrator.  You can also take specified teaching in pension products to get the full qualifications of an adviser. There are several available provided by the PMI and the CII. Generally, a large number of potential employers consider strong sales or financial skills plus outstanding people skills to be more crucial than formal certificates when starting off.  Since some companies offer on-the-job training, excellent GCSEs particularly in Math and English or A level results can be very useful. Individuals who have already secured degrees can begin on the graduate trainee arrangement with a company.

As a trainee pensions consultant, you will receive training on computer systems and pension products. To offer pensions advice, you require industry-acknowledged qualification that conform to the regulatory standards set by the FCA. However, your qualification is dependent on whether you provide consultancy on occupational investments and pensions or offer advice to people on retail pension products. The following awards offered by both the Chartered Insurance Institute and the Pensions Management Institute are very useful:

  • PMI Level 3 Certificate in Pensions Essentials
  • PMI Diploma in Employee Benefits and Retirement Savings
  • CII Level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning
  • PMI Advanced Diploma in Retirement provision

To advance your training, you might consider pursuing the Level a Higher Apprenticeship in Providing Financial Advice. This program will not only give you more insight in this field but also improve your employability.

Career prospects

According to the National Careers Service, there will be about 2,260,000 jobs for pensions advisers by 2020 in the UK. Typical employers for these professionals include investment companies, pensions and benefits consultancies, other varieties of pension providers and banks.

Experienced professionals might consider specializing in a specific type of pension, assume the role of pensions managers or even shift to offering financial advice. Additionally, they, they might consider becoming self-employed pensions consultants.

If you have excellent negotiation skills and an interest in financial markets, this career is ideal for you.

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