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Three advisers share their experience and guidance when stepping up from an associate role to a provisional financial adviser.

Many new entrants in the advice industry undergoing their professional year (PY) begin in an associate role. From sitting in on client meetings, shadowing their adviser and producing advice documents, this back-end administrative role is often seen as a stepping stone to becoming an adviser.

ASIC defines a provisional financial adviser (relevant provider) as one who is undertaking work and training in accordance with s921B(4) of the Corporations Act. An individual progresses to a provisional financial adviser once they have passed the financial advice exam and been authorised by their licensee.

To understand the transition from associate to adviser, Money Management spoke with three professionals who recently made the jump.

Alexis Kavaliotis was recently appointed as a provisional financial adviser at Unite Wealth after working as an associate at the firm for one year. She is in her third quarter of the PY since passing the adviser exam in March and has been taking more control in client meetings.

While some new entrants seek to complete their PY as fast as possible, Kavaliotis is looking to learn as much as she can from her mentor without rushing through the process.

“Some people come in and they want to become an adviser straightaway. They don’t want to wait, they don’t want to do the admin work,” she explained.

“[I was previously told] the ones that wait and learn more along the way do better in the long term because they’re not rushing to get to that adviser point. I also need to be comfortable and confident in talking to people that are a lot older than me and explaining to them that while I may be younger, I’ve got the experience.”

While she did have initial feelings of nervousness when beginning the client-facing provisional adviser position, Kavaliotis reminded herself the importance of practice.

“You just need to keep practising and you’ll make mistakes along the way.”

Andrew Clucas is a financial adviser at McGregor Wealth Management. He recently shared his journey into advice as a former teacher and international development worker.

After deciding to change careers, he completed his graduate diploma of financial planning and landed a paraplanning position at his current firm in 2022. Clucas then worked up to becoming a fully licensed adviser by January 2024.

Since taking on his own clients from the beginning of the year, Clucas said he has enjoyed making a stronger contribution to his firm.

“The key learning [lesson] for me is it’s a really big responsibility being a financial planner and it can be a big step for people to trust you with their finances. In that sense, it’s a really important role and you have to do well to honour the people that trust you because that can have a big impact,” he told Money Management.

Money Management also spoke with Sosha Jay, a provisional adviser in Findex’s wealth management team who made the transition from associate in late 2023.

“The biggest thing I noticed was the level of responsibility. You can prepare as much as you want on your PY, but the level of responsibility is so surreal when you reach that point,” she said.

Seeing the advice Jay delivered being actioned by clients for the first time was a particularly rewarding experience.

She added: “If you’re tossing up [becoming an adviser], it is a long process but that’s the benefit – it’s very rewarding, particularly with a support system behind you.”

For those transitioning from associate to adviser, Clucas said: “It’s not an easy road, but anything really worthwhile takes hard work. So just persist and eventually you will get there.” 

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