What does a financial adviser do?

If you’re wondering what a financial adviser actually does, this ‘day in the life’ example will give you a clue.

9:00-9:20 Drink coffee, check emails, respond as necessary

9:20-9:30 Phone call from Client A asking about private medical insurance

9:30-10:15 Speak to Private Medical insurance specialist on behalf of client. Find a provider that’s £2,000 less than the £5,000 the client had originally been quoted. Phone them back. Client very happy.

10:15-10:20 Admire the ‘adviser alpha’ mindmap on the wall and re-read the article we wrote about it a while ago: 7 magnificent reasons why investors work with an adviser. Realise it’s still valid so it doesn’t need updating.

10:20-10:40 Read article about the Value of Advice. Discover that:

  • Vanguard estimates that a financial adviser adds 3% pa in net returns
  • Russell Investments makes it 4.4%
  • International Longevity Centre reckons it’s 50% greater
  • University of Montreal says it’s 2.73 x

Bask in the knowledge that we’re doing a good job.

10:40-11:00 Walk the office dog

11:00-12:30 Travel to meet Client B at their home for an annual review. Remember to take biscuits. Ask open questions. Listen to their needs. Turns out their circumstances have changed and they want to drawdown some of their pension funds. Explain how they can do that, and discuss the options and long-term impact.

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-14:30 Forecast lifetime cashflow for Client C. Phone them to discuss limitations and issues. The conversation moves into behavioural finance, so recommend some books they might find useful and point them to Tucana articles on the subject

14:30-15:00 Phone call from potential new client. Explain the Tucana approach is based on science. They seem interested. Arrange meeting for next week.

15:00-15:20 Walk the office dog

15:20-16:00 Phone call with Client D, wanting to get their investments out of the market after reading a scaremongering newspaper article. Discuss why that’s a bad idea, and reassure them. Relieved (for their sake) that they agree to stick to the plan

16:00-16:15 Drink a cup of tea while finding some data about what clients value in their financial advisers. Consider the top five:

  • 76% say empathy
  • 49% say understanding their life goals
  • 47% say providing peace of mind
  • 47% say it’s making things simple
  • 41% say it’s building a personalised plan

Remind self that financial advice is not just about managing numbers, it’s dealing with human emotion too.

16:15-16:45 Produce a report of recommended ways to rebalance the portfolio for Client E (because asset values have fluctuated and they need to control their risk)

16:45-17:15 Phone call from Client F, asking about a major life decision. It’s not connected with their finances, but act as a listening ear anyway and help them keep the emotion out of it

17:15-17:30 Plan for tomorrow, including scenario modelling so Client G can pursue their lifelong dreams

17:30 Tidy the desk and leave the office

What this means to you

Financial advisers don’t just focus on the money side of things. We help clients deal with their emotions around finance too.

To illustrate that (literally), you might find this graphic from Vanguard useful: What to look for in an adviser

We know when you’re considering a financial adviser, you need to justify the cost. Obviously, clients pay Plan 100 an annual fee for our support and advice. In return, we aim to provide more value than the price we charge.

Lance Baron

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) based in East Sussex, UK. We support people in Southeast England with more than £500K to invest by building a financial plan that will help them live the life they want… until age 100