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7 Skills You Need to Be a Successful Financial Advisor

Matt Schulte January 17, 2024

A financial professional works at his desk.

Being a successful financial advisor goes beyond having wealth management knowledge and financial planning skills. As the scope of financial planning expands and client expectations evolve, there are a variety of essential financial advisor skills that can help professionals serve their clients better.

In 2023, the World Economic Forum released their Future of Jobs report1 and gave us all insight into what skills will translate into success in the future. This post examines how several of these skills, along with a few additions of our own, will be crucial for the future of financial advice.

1. Technological Literacy

Being tech-savvy isn’t a nice-to-have for financial advisors anymore–it’s a need-to-have. From financial planning software to digital apps for consumers, financial professionals need to be familiar with the technology available because their clients will be looking for it and using it themselves. In order to deliver an exceptional client experience with their tech stack, advisors must be able to understand how the technology they utilize works together so they can get the most out of it.

The importance of this is accentuated by CFP® Board, whose Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct now includes duties for selecting, using, and recommending technology. Those duties include that a CFP® professional must have a reasonable level of understanding of the assumptions and outcomes of the technology they employ.2

In addition, financial planning technology isn’t the only technology that financial professionals need to be familiar with. To connect with the client base of the future, advisors need to reach them where they are with a social media marketing program.

2. Active Listening and Empathy

Active listening, which is when you intentionally listen to another without distractions, helps financial professionals understand their clients’ needs and prepare a successful financial plan. Effective listening takes practice, but mastering it will lead to the development of trusting, long-lasting relationships between you and your clients. Good listening also supports the development of other skills, such as empathy, which will also help you better understand and collaborate with your clients.

3. Coaching

It is not enough to just offer clients your financial advice and conclude your interactions with them. Clients today are looking for you to guide, support, and empower them to achieve their financial goals.  This is why financial professionals should be prepared to blend giving advice with coaching. Using coaching skills, you can keep your clients engaged with their financial plans and motivate them to act on the recommendations that will help them accomplish their goals.

4. Flexibility and Agility

Flexibility and agility go hand in hand. A person who is flexible is able to adjust to short-term change so they can deal with unexpected problems or tasks effectively. A person who is agile can quickly adapt and respond to a changing world. Developing a flexible, agile mindset is key for financial professionals so that they can react to changes in the market, keep up with new trends and tools, and adapt to the changing expectations and unique needs of their clients.

5. Collaboration and Teamwork

Collaboration skills, or the skills you use to work with others efficiently, are becoming essential for the modern financial advisor. Traditionally, financial advisors worked on their own rather than as part of a team. But with clients looking for a holistic planning approach and an all-encompassing list of services, it’s getting more difficult for a single advisor to bring all the skill sets necessary to meet their needs. Many advisors are now coming together in teams or forming partnerships with other professionals to ensure they are offering what clients want from their financial advisors.

6. Curiosity and Lifelong Learning

The financial industry is constantly evolving and there is always something to learn, whether it is new technology, a new business model, or new techniques to incorporate into your practice. By fostering their sense of curiosity and committing to lifelong learning, financial professionals can ensure that they stay relevant in the field.

7. Financial Psychology

Being able to incorporate financial psychology techniques into their practice is quickly becoming a necessity for financial advisors who want to garner client trust, loyalty, and satisfaction. Recent research shows that advisors who fully embrace FinPsych in the planning process have the most satisfied clients. Even advisors who are new to financial psychology can generate satisfaction gains by implementing a single FinPsych action.3

Position Yourself for Success

You need more than knowledge of financial planning to be a successful financial advisor. By enhancing and adding to your skill set, you can build strong client-advisor relationships and meet the evolving expectations of today’s clients. For more tips on how to be the best advisor that you can be, explore eight powerful ways to grow as a financial planner.

Sources:

1. “Future of Jobs Report 2023.” World Economic Forum. April 2023.  https://www.weforum.org/publications/the-future-of-jobs-report-2023/

2. “Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct.” CFP Board. https://www.cfp.net/ethics/code-of-ethics-and-standards-of-conduct

3. eMoney, “Beyond the Plan” Research, July 2023

DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.

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About the Author

As Head of Financial Planning, Matt focuses on helping clients fully utilize eMoney's dynamic financial planning tools. As one of the founding employees of eMoney Advisor, he has made significant contributions towards the feature-set definition of the platform. With over 20 years of experience in financial services, Matt and his team of Certified Financial Planners help clients implement practice management strategies on an in-depth level to collaborate and achieve business results.

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