View more on these topics

New Blood: Why I’m training to become an IFA

Kyle Dale MM blog

I’ve read with interest recent articles on the Money Marketing website putting across different opinions on why people are positive about being an IFA or why you would be mad to consider it.

I’m aiming to become an adviser in the next few years and have thought long and hard about this decision.

Being in the industry for over 9 years, I’m still what would be referred to as ‘new blood’. Fresh from university I went straight into the mortgage sector, which went downhill within two years. I saw the warning signs and left; the company became a claims management company and then became a national press covered scam, lucky exit.

After, I moved over to a pensions and investment provider as an account manager. I’ve done well for myself over the last six years gaining many exams and experiences; good and bad. I’ve worked directly for one of the ‘big four’ and more recently a provider who outsourced their telephone based account management. Working direct worked well, although there was the threat of redundancy at stages. Working for an outsourcer however did not work, but that’s another story.

Over time I have made many good friends/contacts in the adviser world gaining a good insight into the troubles advisers go through and the changes you have to put up with. In essence I agree with the basics of RDR, though I do not agree with how it has been handled and implemented and next year is going to be a war zone for at least 6-8 months. I do believe the dust will settle eventually and we will end up with a system that works…..but for who?

I’ve had good values instilled into me over the last six years. One of my first advisers, Grant, once showed me one of his reports and the level of detail and quality of service he and his wife provide. This was my basis as what advisers should be, their clients are their world.

After working in the industry for this short period and having had family who have been affected by bad advice in the past, the decision for me to shift over to the advice side was an easy one. Of course I wanted to do it. I want to provide great advice for my future clients and do all I can for them. I want to work towards a long career I can be proud of and I believe my experience thus far has given me ‘some’ skills needed.

I have a great deal to learn but I’ll get there. The various redundancies, company change overs and general amateur financial services companies I have worked with have given me a good indication of when to spot a flaw. My provider work has given me a good starting point and understanding of selling and what areas are important to clients, I have the required exams and shortly I’ll be ready to go.

There will be people that say I’m mad and shouldn’t even consider it, but with RDR coming in one thing I’ve seen is many of my excellent advisers who are in their late 60’s early 70’s being pushed out of the industry as they cannot pass exams so they’ll shift over to mortgage and protection or become introducers. This was not the intention of RDR and is one of the bad points about it. It is this area that I really believe more should have been done. A system of grandfathering could have easily worked for certain advisers who have been in the industry for many moons with no complaints etc.

For me, starting as a new adviser in the future, the main attribute needed is to have your clients best interests at heart, as it has always been. The only difference being that this new RDR world will be all I’ll know.

So the future can look very bleak for some, the same as now for others, but can also (hopefully) be a very promising fulfilling career in a new world for people like myself.

Kyle Dale is training to become an IFA


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 46 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Before you get started ask yourself one question.

    Would you play russian roulette with loaded revolver with one bullet and then to be told the FSA/Government will gradually fill some, or all, of the chambers before you’ve had your turn?

    Walk away, very quickly, now

  2. The only advice I could give, besides the obvious one of “Don’t do it” is that if you appear to be as determined on taking this career route, you need to consider that the only sensible way of entering this profession, is to ally yourself with a large firm, maybe an accountancy service which has a strong HNW client base and which will pay you a decent salary so you do not have to struggle with getting your money in, worry about FSCS levies, FSA fees, FOS fees and trying to make a profit to pay all the hangers on who are determined to do away with transactional based intermediation IFA services.

    Either that or be at the mercy of a regulator determined to put you out of business by hook or by crook, end up liable indefinitely for the consequences of any successful complaint by a lieing cheating consumer who just wants to make a fast buck and essentially ruin your whole life trying to help people who at the slightest provocation from the press will label you a “fee hungry” adviser.

    The legal profession has struggled for years to cope with fee paying and the number of complaints against that profession for professional over charging is legion.

    One last thing to consider, it is not whether YOU know only about the RDR world of fee paying services, it is whether the type of client you need to deal with is willing to pay you what you need to earn if you try to go it alone.

  3. You sound very excited but that will soon fizzle out. Good luck as you will need loads of it.

  4. Having tried many permutations of firms and structures, I can commend not working on your own – but find a good administrator and also someone with whom you can share management-type decisions – whether a business partner (sometimes hard to find the right person who you could work with and who shares the same values and concerns) or a mentor who is outside your business (the impartial external view of what you are doing would have been very helpful and encouraging to me).
    And businesses which pay nice salaries are not always the most comfortable to work for – which may I suggest, is why there are so many smaller businesses out there – you have your approach, your concerns, your strengths and your own philosophy of life and money – that’s what clients pay trusted professional advisers for … no, it’s not easy – but neither is any other business or professional occupation … there are pitfalls, just as with everything else in life … I’m not 50 yet, but I love the enthusiasm and commitment of “youth” and I’m sorry that we old-stagers come across as negative – be wise, be smart – but above all, every good wish for your sucess at being the best Independent adviser you can be!!

  5. “one thing I’ve seen is many of my excellent advisers who are in their late 60’s early 70’s being pushed out of the industry as they cannot pass exams so they’ll shift over to mortgage and protection or become introducers. This was not the intention of RDR”
    Oh No?
    Walk away now. You too will be old and tired one day and even if you have done an excellent job for your clients, the moment they realise they could have a no win no fee claim, they will have a go, no matter how good your relationship with them is.
    The regulator will side with the consumer and you will be the fee hungry crook.
    You have heard the saying “Get a life” My advice is to get one well away from anything to do with FS where you will have less rights than Abu Quatada.

  6. JF and Ned

    Thanks for your replies, much appreciated to get a few views.

    I fully expect a fair few comments saying to not do it, you chaps have most likely been in the industry for many years and have been through all sorts of changes. I will be aiming to come in once the dust has settled and hopefully carve a career to be proud of.

    As much as we are all worried about the detriment to clients over the next few years there will eventually have to be a system that works in some form.

    I’m hoping it will be about this time that I can shift over.

    Seeing what I have seen over the last year has been awful, so many good advisers telling me the news that they are leaving the industry and that was another factor as to whether I should take the plunge but I’m more determined than ever to make it work.

  7. Kyle, you’re bound to get a bunch of tired grey-beards who suggest you do something else. As you and i both know, these people are stuck in a time warp, confused and bitter about why their world has changed so much.
    Younger folk like yourself, university educated and understanding of what financial advice is like in the 21st century will do fine. I make a pretty decent living and am perfectly at ease with the job.
    Ignore the negative has-beens. They are…well, has-beens!

  8. @IFA They may be, as you put it, has beens, but the fact remains they were once as young and as enthusiastic as Kyle.
    FS has sucked the life blood out of them. The well meaning has beens simply do not want to see a young lad waste his life.

  9. I think we are all training to become an IFA and always will be until we retire.

  10. Hi Gillian

    I think that’ll be the best route to go down too actually, get myself on with a big company to have some good backing behind me.

    I highly doubt I’d have the guts to simply ‘go it alone’.

    What I think people need to understand is that for current advisers the changes made are a big shock and will hit you hard.

    But from my point of view as a working class lad originally from a very deprived area of Manchester I want to make something of myself, being an adviser would be a big achievement and will provide me with the life I want. I’ve worked hard for years to get to this point and as mentioned the RDR world will be all I’ll know and a nice pay jump to go with it for my hard work will be a nice cheeky bonus.

    Ambition is never a bad thing to have.

  11. good luck kyle

  12. @IFA – like your sentiments…they remind me of when I was young…..

  13. Fantastic article. Kyle, you are an inspiration, such a positive outlook on a somewhat negative industry. I hope things work out well for you, I know my first experience in Financial Services was one taken up by selfish fools with all the wrong motivations, but you look like you know exactly what you’re doing. Fingers crossed you make your next big step soon and continue those steps to success. Good luck.

  14. I would like to send my best wishes to Kyle, we worked together previously and he dispalyed all the makings of an excellent adviser. Fantastic positive attitude and a fresh outlook is exactly whats needed in this current cliamte.

  15. Kyle – you have the right way of looking at things. Integrity and the ability to truly communicate and care for your clients and offeri a fantastic service is what its all about.
    It does depend however on having clients who are appropriate, have goals in life and are fairly wealthy. Niche is good.
    I recommend you look at the IFP if you want to be very professional.
    Best of luck.

  16. Good for you. However I suspect you are under 40. You don’t say if you are married, have children or a mortgage etc. If I may give you some advice though – the same as I would give to most in your age group.

    By all means follow your chosen path, but do it elsewhere. Emigrate. If you haven’t yet paid off your student debt – you can then forget about it. Housing will probably be more affordable elsewhere. Healthcare, education and general quality of life will also probably be better. There are perfectly vibrant advice channels in places such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and if you are adventurous – Holland or some Middle Eastern States. I don’t have to tell you about the depressing state of the UK economy. If we do eventually leave Europe then all that is left would be banana growing. The prospects here – whatever your political persuasion – do not look good.

    (In case it crosses your mind – I have missed the boat on this, as I’m rather passed it and will probably see if I am able to leave once I retire).

  17. Kyle – really interesting article and I hope that you get your exams sooner rather than later.

    Most of the comments so far have been negative but don’t let that discourage you. There are so many IFAs in the marketplace who feel bitter about the industry which has given them a very good living for many years.

    People think that the world owes them a living – it doesn’t. For people like yourself who have a go get them attitude, you will easily find a place in the industry.

    For those who think that the world is conspiring against them, its not.

    By the time that you have your exams, you will most probably find that the banks will be recruiting again to service the clients that they are currently in the process of orphaning.

  18. Good luck Kyle.

    Although you might want to have a shave and get your hair cut before sitting in fromt of clients.

  19. Kyle,

    Career advice from a 45 year old: Get a job in the Public Sector.



  20. Excellent article Kyle,

    I am in the same position as you and have no doubt you will achieve a career path as an adviser.

    Have you heard of with profits bonds?

  21. Good for you. Despite all the undoubted problems this profession is still a great way to make a living. As a young person coming in with new ideas and enthusiasm I am sure you will do well. Don’t stop your studies until you are Chartered and get a haircut would be my only pieces of advice.

  22. Kyle,

    If you can be nothing else be adaptable – to each and every client be yourself and to them be what they need you to be.

    Look backwards and forwards and to either side at all times and hope that one day the Regulator will develop the same appreciation of your clients that you do.

    One day it may come.

  23. Kyle,
    You seem to have the right attitude and financial planning continues to offer a flexible and rewarding career.
    I would just suggest you think outside the box a little, especially in terms of commercial arrangements with clients, get Chartered and make sure you maximise the opportunities and efficiencies that new technology offers.
    You should be well placed to understand the needs and behaviours of your generation, and I’m sure you will provide an excellent and highly valued service.
    Good luck.

  24. Firstly, have a shave and cut your bloody hair.

    Secondly, good luck.

  25. Kyle,

    Good luck to you!

    I started advising a little over a year ago having done c9 years admin/paraplanning/trainee IFA roles. I also had a couple of redundancies thrown in along the way but joined a mid size firm in North Yorkshire about 3 years ago, did some more exams and undertook a training plan and was ‘let loose’ about this time last year.

    I have found the first 12 months to be fun as well as challenging but so far so good and I would highly recommend it.

    There are many short term challenges ahead but I share your view that once the dust settles there will be a good living to be made.

    I wish you every success.

  26. Dear Kyle,

    Congratulations! I appluad your deceision and determination to become an IFA, and from the sound of it you’re going into things with your eyes open.

    Two peices of advice if I might be so bold:

    1) Avoid negative influencers. You need to mix with people who have as positive an attitude as you do… unfortunately, as evidenced by the previous commentators, our profession is full to the gunwails with sad individulals living in a blame culture where doom and gloom rules their lives. Give these people wide berth.

    2) Don’t discount becoming a restricted adviser. ‘IFA’ is a badge valued most by IFA’s not their clients, and with open architecture products such as those now available, an adviser doesn’t need to be IFA to offer a range of attractive solutions to his clients.

    Good luck and may you and your clients prosper.

  27. I am an old grey f**t and have been in this industry over 38 years. For some reason, I still like going to work. There is nothing better than walking out of someone’s home and them saying “thank you”.

    Yes there might be a few who will try it on and put in a claim, but there are many more who want good advice and appreciate it. That’s why I still work.

    I have got my diploma, having passed the exams, and they weren’t easy, but I feel proud of doing them. So, I hope in many years time, you are the old f**t telling someone younger to give it a go. There is an old saying “better to have tried and failed than not tried at all” Having gone through what Kyle has in the last year, he will do it. Best of luck.

  28. Kyle,

    My advice to you would be to use your skills in a profession where the rule of law applies and your actions will not be judged by kangaroo courts. Somewhere where you will not be constantly asked to pay for the mistakes of others and blamed for the mistakes of failed regulators.

    You’re clearly a bright guy. Please go back through this publication and read about the demise of Arch Cru.

    Also read the comments under any article about Hector Sants. I guarantee that you will not find a positive one. This is not because advisers are vicious, its because this man has led a campaign of unfairness against the advice profession.

    This is not a profession to enter until advisers are treated fairly and lawfully by our regulator.

  29. Remember that time you set fire to an old yolks home, just saying! See you around yeah.

  30. Financial Fashionista 19th December 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I happen to think your eccentric hair and your stylish mix and match stubble matches your ambition and your drive.

    Yes, it’s not like everyone else’s, but you sure do rock it. You can help fill my ISA any day.

  31. A mixed bag of replies and exactly as i expected. I really do appreciate all your opinions and will sit down and digest them all when i have a bit of time.

    I most likely will have shorter hair by then haha, but I’m clinging on to what youth i have left right now before it’s too late….

    I was hesitant to do this article after seeing some of the attitudes on the comments section over the last few months but i am glad that i did.

  32. Soren, thanks for your comments.

    I will intend to wait until the right time and things are all set straight before the big switch over. Fully agree on that point

  33. Harry Katz – We have spoken before actually, a couple of times on the phone, always a good debate with your good self haha. Thank you for the advice as with everyone. Must admit I did learn a lot from our short chats.

    Adam Davey – I agree mate and thanks for your comment, exam wise I’ll just tick off the last one next year asap.

    Mark Hutchinson – I shall continue studying as I have been and get chartered, I don’t think I’ve actually stopped studying since I left university so why change a winning formula, thanks again.

    Andrew – You sound like me in 2 years time, ideally I’ll be able to add a similar comment on an article for someone else making the leap, good luck to yourself too.

    Phil H – Took me a second to realise who you were then as no one would know what has happened this year, I’ll leave it there. Thanks a lot for your comment and it’s been a please to help you out too over the last year.

  34. Kyle – For some reason some of my comments are showing as anonymous……

    I can now see that some of the lads back home have caught wind of this hence the nonsense comments…..cheers fellas.

    Not got any work to do I presume? haha, those Greggs customers won’t serve themselves you know.

  35. Good Luck Kyle. The industry is failing from the negativity of the people above, the positive people are those succeeding and progressing through the changes. You will be a brilliant adviser, and deserve every sucess given your hard work to date.

  36. To Kyle

    Good luck most people on this site who are negative tend to be people who are at the end of their career and just fed up with change or those individuals who have something to worry about because they are so concerned about long stop because they don’t want somebody looking in their files at the potential mis-selling problems they created

    I think if you have a high ethical standard and concentrate on keeping your knowledge up to date you will be a successful adviser. Good luck to you.

  37. I agree with Harry re Nz & Oz at ypur age. plus wait 6 months if staying in uk re rdr dust to settle

  38. I managed to get into an industry that was very hard to get into, with no experience, especially in 2009 and have fought my way up to IFA and I love it. There is nothing better than helping people and as the gentlemen said before, being thanked.

    Yes RDR will be hard and makes no sense in a lot of points but some common sense will eventually reign when they find it unworkable.

    Without new blood and the average age of advisers being 58 at some point in the next 10-15 years people would not have access to proper advice which would be a crying shame.

    Good luck and I think you would be a great adviser. You certainly listen to us all which is a good start.

  39. I started advising at 22 a year after finishing University. All these oldies said no one would deal with me (as i didn’t shave) and suggested buying glasses to make myself look older.

    I just ignored them and ended gradually building up a book of very high net worth clients. It isn’t about age it is about getting yourself sat in front of the right people. Network well, stag do’s, weddings, BBQ’s etc chat to people and then ask for referrals.

    I am now 27 and run a successful partnership. 3 years in to self employment and have built up over £30k of renewal income. I worked under the RDR terms since day one and have always explained the charges to clients properly.

    Think about your semantics on the way you put across the prices and write a script at first and practise it on any friend that will listen. Work on the presumtion that the client knows nothing about advice, the chance is that they probably don’t. Think of good metaphors to explain wrap platforms, stock market cycles, yields, capital gains and ISA’s. Aim to be able to explain each in less than a minute, you will find that these make an awkward conversation a lot easier.

  40. Peter Herd – Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.

    Phil Castle – Yeah moving abroad would be amazing but unfortunately the mrs would not have it haha. I’m going to be waiting until the dust has settled anyway before even getting the ball rolling.

    Anonymous | 19 Dec 2012 9:50 pm & Also Young – You both are where I’d like to be in a year or two.

    I knew once I clicked the send button on this article exactly what would come and what order it would come in.

    1 – Negative comments from the usual people who seem to live on this site having a go at things.

    2 – Average comments from people who are 50/50

    3 – Positive comments from people in similar situations or people who have made the leap in the last few years.

    It’s worked out exactly like that….with the added bonus of the lads back home chucking in their hilarious comments.

  41. Its not all cherries and ice cream. But if you have had good and bad experiences these can prove helpful when taking on any role.

    its all about the Clients, get good clients, have good clients and work with good clients.

    after that you are in a sector subject to continual gloom, doom and change.

    good luck

  42. Kyle,

    Most of the doom-mongers who comment on these pages never have anything positive to say. They’ll moan about the long term decline of our industry and then in the next sentence discourage people with a positive attitude from joining it and sustaining it.

    I joined the industry straight out of University 16 years ago when I was 21, and I will probably be in the industry for another 25-30 years. If there is one set of comments to take on board out of all of these posts, it’s “Also Young” at 11.40.

    In coming years RDR will be blamed for the number of advisers dropping dramatically, but I suspect that the demographics of advisers will have a larger effect – the average age of advisers is high and they would probably be retiring anyway, whether the RDR had occured or not.

    The number of advisers will fall and the need for quality advice will rise. The economics of supply and demand tell you the rest. More people will transact via the internet, but people will always want the comfort of dealing with a person face to face.

    If you look after your clients, your clients will look after you.

  43. Hi Kyle,

    I’ve read this blog twice over the last few days. I commend your general attitude and outlook on things.

    I will be leaving the industry myself in the next few years (not down to any of the reasons you mention I must add) but i would be fully confident that if i was to show this blog to my client bank when my retirement comes and say “this is going to be your new adviser” that they would be more than happy.

    Ive been doing this for over 35 years now and i can see why some advisers are not happy but im a big believer in movin with change rather than against it.

    RDR has not been thrust upon us, we have had years to prepare and if you have left it to a last minute dash then thats no fault but your own im afraid.

    You seem very diligent and intelligent and id welcome you to my firm if you were sat in my office asking. I hope to hear more of your views as time goes on, a pleasure to have read your thoughts.


  44. James Hurdman – Your comments are much appreciated as are others. I would have fully expected every comment to be as it has been on this subject and I do feel for ‘some’ advisers in how things have worked out. As mentioned in my blog I have spoken to some who really don’t want to leave and are the best of the best but simply cannot do exams anymore. But it will certainly also get rid of the bad apples. Swings and roundabouts I suppose.

    Anonymous | 20 Dec 2012 9:06 pm – What a nice comment, thank you. I’m glad to hear you are leaving for your own reasons and not being forced out.

  45. Maria Sorokina 4th July 2015 at 8:39 am

    Hi Paul,

    Good luck!
    Can i pls ask the process to become IFA? I am considering in doing it.

    Thank you,

Leave a comment