How Do Financial Advisers Get Paid?

Building a trusting relationship with your financial adviser is fundamental when entrusting them with your financial future. A crucial aspect of this trust is understanding how financial advisers are compensated for their services. In this guide, we’ll delve into the various ways financial advisers get paid, exploring fee structures, influencing factors, and tips for navigating the cost of regulated financial advice.

Understanding Financial Adviser Compensation: How They Earn Money

Financial advisers play a crucial role in helping individuals manage their finances, plan for the future, and achieve their financial goals. However, it’s essential to understand how these professionals are compensated for their services. Financial advisers typically earn money through various methods, including fees, commissions, or a combination of both. Fee-only advisers charge a flat fee or hourly rate for their services, providing advice without earning commissions from product sales. On the other hand, commission-based advisers receive compensation based on the products they sell, which could potentially create conflicts of interest. Understanding how financial advisers get paid is vital for clients to ensure transparency and align incentives with their financial objectives.

Exploring Financial Adviser Fees:

  1. Fee Structures:
  • Financial advisers occasionally offer an initial free consultation to acquaint clients with their services. This session is not designed to provide specific advice but serves as an opportunity for clients to understand the adviser’s approach and fee structure.
    • Fee structures can vary, including:
    • Hourly rates.
    • Set fees for specific projects, dictated by the complexity and time involved.
    • Ongoing fees, either flat or a percentage of invested funds.
    • Ongoing fees for continuous services, subject to specific criteria.
  1. Choosing the Right Payment Structure:
  • Clients are encouraged to explore different payment methods for distinct services, aligning with their preferences and financial needs.
  • Some advisers offer a complimentary introductory consultation, providing an opportunity for clients to ask questions and assess the compatibility of working together.
  1. Understanding the Costs:
  • Advisers must provide clients with a copy of their charging structure before rendering any services, offering transparency into potential costs.
  • While this provides an idea of costs, clients should seek estimates or precise cost information for the services they require.

Factors Influencing Adviser Fees:

  1. Location and Delivery Method:
  • Location and how services are delivered (phone or online) can influence costs. Advisers in expensive areas may have higher office costs, while online services may have lower overheads.
  1. Type of Advice Service and Qualifications:
  • The classification of advisers as restricted or independent could impact fees. Highly qualified advisers may charge more, reflecting their professionalise.
  1. Complexity of the Situation:
  • The complexity of the client’s financial situation can affect fees, as more intricate matters may require additional time and professionalise.
  1. Firm’s Approach:

  • The approach of the firm, such as the use of low-cost ‘passive’ investments or outsourcing investment management, can influence costs.

Assistance with Affording Financial Advice:

  • Options like the pensions advice allowance and potential employer support through benefit packages can assist clients in managing the costs of professional financial advice.

Financial Adviser Fees vs. Commission:

  • Advisers cannot receive commissions for certain advice categories (pensions, investments, and retirement income products) but may earn commissions for other services (mortgages, equity release, general insurance, and protection insurance).


Understanding how financial advisers get paid is a crucial step in making informed decisions about your financial future. By exploring various fee structures, considering influencing factors, and utilising available assistance, you can navigate the costs associated with seeking professional financial advice. Remember, transparency and clarity about fees are key to building a strong and trustworthy relationship with your financial adviser.

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