Persuading and selling are not the only skills you need to have as a financial adviser

It is a well-known fact that as a financial adviser, selling is your bread and butter.

Faced with research, client profiles and detailed planning of portfolios, financial advisers often cannot find the time to work on developing critical skills that will help propel their career. We can present you with a long list of traits that you should have to be a top-performing financial adviser but how many are you really going to adopt? We have narrowed it down to 5 qualities that gear you towards success in this industry.

Read also: This is the most important quality a financial adviser should have, according to OCBC’s Head of Wealth Advisory & Specialists

Thirst to keep learning

Evidently, you will need a strong base of professional expertise that goes beyond basic general knowledge. A successful financial adviser is one who has an absolute passion for the subject because standards, laws, methodologies and products within the financial and investment worlds are constantly evolving. Clients want you to be knowledgeable and experienced. It is the fact of the financial advisory industry but you can make up for the lack of experience in other ways – by expanding your knowledge and mastering the next 4 skills.

Adopting a proactive approach

Keeping the lines of communication open by updating clients on current financial issues and opportunities is key. Adopt the mindset and the mannerisms of an educator when interacting with clients. Your job is to help make complex financial concepts easy to comprehend. When your client understands the services and products that you bring to the table, it is easier to guide them towards taking the right step.

“Developing your tech skills is important. Knowing how to use technology to help clients make better financial decisions is a skillset that all advisers today should possess.”

– Mr Jeffrey Tan, Director of Synergy Financial Advisers

Another key aspect is to always maintain transparency especially since you’re dealing with money. Take your time to explain your recommendations without hiding information. Clients will feel your sincerity and start to trust you. If you provide people with information and options, there is a self-selection process that occurs. Being a guide to your clients will ultimately motivate them to trust your recommendations more.

Deep understanding and analytical ability

“You need to come across as competent. Show that you know and understand the market for your clients to trust your advice,” Mr Tan shares.

There are many categories and sub-categories involved in a complete and thorough financial plan. Cash flow planning, retirement planning, investment management and insurance planning are just some of the key areas that a competent financial adviser can help clients with. Deep understanding and analytical ability across these subject areas are important. The risk and return relationship is what drives almost all aspects of a financial plan so, always evaluate options that are best for your clients while at the same time, not diverting from a well thought-out structured strategic plan.

Putting your client’s interest before yours

Sound financial advice is based on more than just income levels or the types of asset classes your clients are investing in. Take your time to learn about your clients’ full financial situation, digging deeper into banking, investment, insurance and cash needs. Only by understanding your clients’ spending habits, debt obligations, and life goals can you begin to develop an accurate strategy. Instead of pushing products onto your clients, you should tailor plans to meet their needs. Always remember that the more you help your clients, the more they will recommend you to their friends. Word of mouth marketing goes a long way in this industry.


Typically, a successful person in any field is someone who is strong, courageous and visionary. Another trait to add to that list is vulnerability. Vulnerability requires incredible strength of character, vision and courage. Everyone can relate to someone who has screwed up. None of us can relate to anyone who hasn’t. Be bold enough to admit when you’re unsure about something or when you know that it is beyond your ability to handle the needs of a particular client. This honest vulnerability begets trust more than any other quality. The strength to be vulnerable comes from spending time in self-reflection and personal growth.



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