Managing money can be challenging, especially with the abundance of information available. The ease of access to financial products and services can make it tempting for individuals to make impulsive decisions without a solid plan in place. As a result, the demand for financial advisors in India has witnessed a significant increase in recent years. But with so many options available, how can you ensure that you choose the right financial advisor to meet your unique needs?
In this blog, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of financial advisors in India and how you can choose the best financial advisors based on your goals and risk tolerance.
Who is a financial advisor?
A financial advisor is a professional who provides advice and guidance to individuals, families, and businesses on various financial matters, such as investment planning, retirement planning, tax planning, estate planning, risk management and more.
Such advisors typically have a deep understanding of financial markets and investment products and can help clients make informed decisions based on their risk tolerance and investment objectives. In addition to providing advice, a financial advisor may also manage their clients’ investments, monitor progress, and make adjustments as necessary to keep them on track.
What does a financial advisor do?
A financial advisor can play a crucial role in helping individuals manage their finances and achieve their financial goals. Let’s explore the role of a financial advisor.
1. Long-term financial planning
Long-term financial planning is another significant area where financial advisors provide invaluable guidance to their clients. They can help clients create a comprehensive plan that takes into account their financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. For example, a young professional looking to save for a down payment on a house may need a different investment strategy compared to someone nearing retirement.
2. Tax planning
Tax planning is also a crucial aspect of a financial advisor’s role. Advisors can help minimise tax liabilities, make the most of available tax deductions and credits, and create tax-efficient investment strategies.
3. Investment advice
Financial advisors can help create an investment portfolio aligned with their client’s financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. They can also help clients monitor and adjust their portfolios over time to ensure they stay on track toward achieving their objectives. For example, a financial advisor can recommend a diversified investment portfolio that balances risk and reward and adjusts the portfolio to reflect changes in market conditions.
4. Debt management
A financial advisor can help clients develop a strategy to manage debt, which can include consolidating debts, negotiating with creditors to lower interest rates and more.
5. Retirement planning
Retirement planning is a critical aspect of a financial advisor’s role. They can help clients estimate their retirement expenses, create a savings plan, and choose the right retirement accounts and investments to maximise their savings.
6. Estate planning
A financial advisor can help clients create an estate plan that includes a will, trust, and other documents to ensure their assets are distributed according to their wishes. Financial advisors can also help clients minimise estate taxes, avoid probate, and plan for incapacity and disability.
How to become a financial advisor in India?
To become a financial advisor in India, certain educational and skill requirements must be met. As a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, accounting, or economics is necessary. However, to enhance your knowledge and marketability, pursuing a master’s level degree is recommended. For instance, an MBA with a specialisation in finance can provide a strong foundation for a career as a financial advisor.
Apart from the educational qualifications, it is important to have certain skills to become a successful financial advisor. Some of the key skills that a financial advisor must possess are listed below:
- Interpersonal skills
- Good communication skills
- Research and critical thinking
- Analytical skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Business development skills
- Wealth management
- The ability to work under pressure
To gain practical knowledge and experience, one can look for internships or apprenticeships with financial advisory firms. Additionally, with one of the following certifications, you can become a certified financial advisor and enhance your credibility as a financial advisor.
- Chartered Alternative
- Investment Analyst (CAIA)
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Financial Risk Manager (FRMN)
- Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC)
- Insurance Regulatory Department Authority of India (IRDA)
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Financial advisor vs wealth manager
A financial advisor can help you with retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning, investment advice, debt planning, and more. Financial advisor fees can be hourly, annual, or a percentage of assets under management (AUM).
A wealth manager, on the other hand, is a type of financial advisor who typically deals with HNIs (High-Net-Worth Individuals) and offers comprehensive financial services, including investment management, tax planning, and estate planning. Wealth managers normally charge an annual fee that is a percentage of AUM. They may also require a minimum investment amount. Wealth managers provide a high level of personalised service and work closely with their clients to create financial plan that meets their unique financial needs.
How to choose a financial advisor?
Listed below are the primary factors you must consider before choosing a financial advisor:
It is important to research potential financial advisors to ensure they have the required qualifications and experience. Look for advisors registered with regulatory bodies. Additionally, you have read reviews online or ask for referrals from friends and family.
Learn about different types of financial advisors
Financial advisors come in many forms, including robo-advisors, fee-only, commission-based, and commission-based advisors. It is thus important that you understand the different types of advisors and choose the one that best fits your requirements.
Choose which financial advisor services you want
Financial advisors specialise in different areas, such as investment advice, debt management, retirement planning, taxation, insurance, estate planning, and more. Understanding your financial goals and the financial advisor services you need will help you narrow your options and choose the right advisor.
Decide how much you can afford to pay a financial advisor
Some advisors charge a percentage of the assets they manage for you, while others charge a flat or hourly fee. Discuss with your advisor on their fee structures, hidden fees, and more to determine an ideal fit.
Financial advisors play a crucial role in helping individuals and businesses navigate the complexities of their finances. Whether you’re looking to invest your savings, plan for retirement, or start a business, a financial advisor can provide the guidance and expertise you need to make informed decisions about your money. By understanding financial advisor services and choosing the right advisor for your needs, you can confidently take control of your finances and achieve your financial goals.
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- Strong analytical skills.
- Ability to work under pressure.
- Commitment to continuing education and professional development.