What Does a Finance Consultant Do? (Skills and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Finance consultants often possess deep financial knowledge to provide appropriate advice to clients. They work with their clients to understand their situations and provide recommendations to help them reach their financial objectives. Understanding what a finance consultant does can be beneficial if you're considering a career in the finance industry. In this article, we explain what a finance consultant does, outline some typical responsibilities, identify some necessary key skills and indicate how much you can earn as a finance consultant.

What does a finance consultant do?

Before learning, 'What does a finance consultant do?', it's helpful to know that a finance consultant is a type of financial adviser. Financial advisers and financial planners are similar roles, though there are sometimes differences. Financial advisers and planners typically work to understand their clients' assets and how they want those assets to benefit their financial future. For example, if a client is interested in saving for their retirement, a financial adviser can recommend the most appropriate products to invest in, along with other investment options to create a diversified portfolio.

Finance consultants typically have a relationship with their clients and meet with them regularly to affirm their long-term financial planning goals. This includes monitoring their entire financial situation and plans. Depending on their area of specialisation, a finance consultant may offer specialised services like insurance or tax preparation.

Typical responsibilities of a financial consultant

As part of their role in assisting clients, financial consultants typically analyse their client's current financial situation and make recommendations regarding investments, pensions and retirement planning. Typical tasks include the following:

Assessing financial goals and objectives

Finance consultants develop a factual understanding of their client's financial situation. This exploration can include assessing client assets and investments, along with their financial goals both in the short and long term. A full assessment can help ensure that recommendations are accurate and appropriate for each client.

Actioning and monitoring investments on your client's behalf

Finance consultants provide recommendations for clients and some consultants also implement recommendations from other sources. Financial consultants may use this information when purchasing assets, such as shares or managed funds. Depending on the arrangement between the finance consultant and the client, consultants may also take responsibility for monitoring investments and making changes to the portfolio to increase returns.

Acting in your client's best interest

In 2012, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) introduced financial advice reforms to the existing Corporations Act 2001. The Act guides all finance consultants on how to act in the best interest of their clients. As of February 2022, Act lays out the specific regulations that consultants follow to provide their clients with the best advice they can to meet client-specific objectives, financial situations and needs. These regulations can help prevent financial advisers from manipulating clients by recommending products they may receive a commission from or otherwise working against a client's interests. Consultants typically adhere to this reform when making any recommendations.

Conducting market research

Finance consultants analyse the market to help determine the best investment options for clients. They often monitor market movements to determine the trends that may benefit their clients. By thoroughly researching appropriate products financial consultants can customise recommendations to each client.

Soliciting clients

Most finance consultants also focus on developing their business network to build their client portfolio. A large amount of work may come through client referrals so it's often important to seek regular feedback and build strong relationships with their clients. Consultants may also establish relationships with referral partners, for example, accountants or pension providers, to help increase their clients.

Helping clients with retirement planning

Many finance consultants specialise in retirement planning. Providing this type of advice can mean paying attention to changing pension regulations and understanding the best way to structure assets. It's often important to understand the regulatory issues around accessing government. Finance consultants typically advise their clients on multiple aspects of their financial holdings, including pensions, to help them best fund their retirement.

Conducting risk assessments

Finance consultants assess and manage risks as part of the financial advice process. Risk assessment usually occurs as part of the research process. Consultants typically identify the level of risk their client is willing to take and what challenges their clients may face achieving their goals. For example, clients closer to retirement age may believe they can tolerate moderate levels of risk, but the consultant may recommend the client reduce their exposure to certain investments that are high risk because they have less time to regain any losses incurred.

Preparing advice documents

When advising, most finance consultants prepare a Statement of Advice for their clients that outlines all the recommendations regarding the financial situation. Depending on the size of the financial planning firm, many consultants work closely with paraplanners who prepare the advice statement. This can mean providing notes, research and approving the document before sending it to clients.

Basic skills for financial consultants

To provide advice as a finance consultant, it's important to have industry experience. Soft skills can enhance your technical expertise and help you interact and build relationships with your clients. Some important skills include the following:

Relationship management

Attracting new clients and retaining existing clients helps finance consultants. Strong relationship management skills are important when establishing rapport with clients. Finance consultants are also required to communicate with clients and build trust.

Related: How to Build Relationships For Career Success

Communication

Communication is important for client management for several reasons. Consultants often explain their recommendations in simple language to help clients feel confident and secure about their investments. Body language, facial expression and tone of voice are important aspects of building trust between finance consultants and clients. These skills can include maintaining eye contact, remaining neutral while listening to your client's situation and presenting a positive demeanour when dealing with clients.

Related: Why Interpersonal Communication Is So Important at Work

Analytical thinking

Analytical skills allow finance consultants to adjust to market fluctuations or other changing circumstances that affect their client's wealth and devise solutions. For example, a client may identify their financial goal but have limited funds to achieve the goal. Finance consultants can analyse their client's overall economic situation and provide recommendations that can produce a positive result without wasting funds. Finance consultants also analyse any new products to determine if any may help their clients diversify their portfolios.

Attention to detail

When working with numbers and multiple clients, attention to detail is often an important skill for offering the best financial outcome for your clients. This skill can include monitoring market movements, anticipating fluctuations and changing investments to protect the client's financial position. Attention to detail is also important because finance consultants often take responsibility for preparing compliance and audit documents where detail is often crucial.

Related: Attention to Detail: Definition and Examples

How to become a finance consultant

As of 2022, the government sets the standard requirements for financial planners and advisers in the Corporations Amendment Act 2017. Consider checking with ASIC to ensure you comply with all regulations when entering this career path. Here are some steps you can take to help you start this role:

1. Complete an approved undergraduate degree (or equivalent)

To work as a finance consultant, you can complete a bachelor's degree approved by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA). If you already have an undergraduate degree, you can obtain a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning or a Master of Financial Planning. The information provided in these courses often allows you to deliver tailored, professional financial advice when you begin working as a finance consultant.

2. Complete the financial adviser exam

Any new financial advisers are required to pass the ASIC financial adviser exam. By completing the exam successfully, it ensures that new or existing finance consultants comply with the necessary professional standards for professionals providing financial advice. Before booking your exam, it's a requirement that you have completed an approved degree.

3. Complete a professional year

Anyone training to become a financial adviser is required to complete a professional year before they're fully qualified. This year is equivalent to 1,600 hours. When completing this, it's required that you work closely with a supervisor and their Australian financial services (AFS) licensee. You can begin this year while in the final stages of completing your degree. Before you can begin the third quarter of this year, it's required to have completed your degree and passed the exam.

4. Maintain professional development

Financial advisers are required to comply with continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. This involves completing 40 hours of CPD every year, 70% of which is approved by their AFS licensee. Additionally, it's important to stay up to date with regulatory and technical developments relating to professional financial advice.

How much can you earn as a finance consultant?

The national average salary for a financial adviser is $100,656 per year. Whether you work as an independent consultant or as part of a large financial advisory firm can impact your earnings. Your area of specialisation, for example, tax or retirement planning, can also affect your earning potential.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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