June 14, 2023

Pros and Cons of Being a Financial Advisor in Singapore

What you need to know to make an informed decision

Mindy Wee
Customer Success @ Finberty
Mindy Wee

Most people want to find a career that will give them a good salary, decent job satisfaction, and maybe even some intellectual stimulation. The finer details of this will look slightly different for everyone depending on their preferences and skillset, but one path you may want to consider is becoming a financial advisor in Singapore.

pros and cons of choosing financial advisory as your career

Considering the country is a major financial center, it makes sense to work in a field that capitalizes on the industry. But, as with any job, being an insurance agent comes with pros and cons — we’ll outline both sides today so you can make an informed decision for your circumstances.

Advantages of being a financial advisor

Now, onto the positive side. Here are the top benefits of working as a financial advisor or insurance agent in Singapore.

Financial freedom

Even if you’re not somebody who chooses a job based solely on how much earning potential it has, the financial side is a serious consideration for anyone. Fortunately, it’s good news in this case.

A financial advisor can expect an average of 3,000 SGD per month for their base salary when working in Singapore, according to Glassdoor. Some firms pay more — for instance, AIA Singapore recently launched a Financial Associate Scheme that pays between $2,700 and $8,000 SGD per month. That might not sound like much, but the majority of the salary comes from commission., which can go as high as 77,000 SGD if you’re really good at your job (according to Glassdoor). The very best FAs and leaders are often multi-millionaires.

You can choose between two primary career paths: Becoming a specialist financial advisor, or going down the leadership track to head a team of other FAs. Both offer fantastic earning opportunities.

When you work for yourself,here’s no fixed income ceiling since you set your own prices — and as a leader, you can expand your team to boost your income further. This is a career path where you have the chance to reach financial independence over time, especially when you consider that you can apply the skills you learn to growing your own wealth.

Plus, as well as earning a great salary, financial advisors that hit certain production targets also receive other perks. These can include annual conventions, gala dinners, award ceremonies, and even fully-paid trips to exotic destinations like Hawaii and Santorini. Who doesn’t want a free vacation?

Freedom as financial advisor in Singapore

The chance to help people

Nobody wants to have an existential crisis because they feel their job is meaningless. Fortunately, financial advisors get the satisfaction of helping people — they might not be saving lives in the literal sense as a physician would, but advise people on how to protect their wealth and use insurance to shelter their loved ones from adverse circumstances.

If you’re a Millennial or Gen Z, chances are that this is especially important to you. Evidence suggests that values are becoming increasingly important to the younger generations, with a recent study finding that 38% of respondents said they’d quit a job if it didn’t align with their values. While this survey focused on the US and Australia, it’s likely the same ideas are also filtering over to Singapore.


Working as a financial advisor gives you freedom in the economic sphere. It’s also a career path that allows you to be your own boss, choose your own clients, direct your career in the direction you want to go, and work on your own terms. Say goodbye to office politics and annoying managers, and enjoy the perks of being self-employed.

If you want to work from 11am to 9pm instead of 9am to 6pm, or you’d prefer to work on Saturdays to have less time working during the week, that’s your prerogative. There won’t be anyone breathing down your neck.

Leave comfort zone

If you’re ambitious and want a job that allows you to channel that streak, you’re probably looking for a position to help you leave your comfort zone and learn new skills. Being a financial advisor fits the bill.

financial advisor as a career out of comfort zone

For one, you’ll have plenty to learn about the different types of insurance, options for insurance policies, and ways to manage and invest money. You can expect to work on tasks like:

  • Making plans for retirement
  • Figuring out a client’s risk profile
  • Creating financial plans based on goals
  • Explaining life, health, and general insurance policies
  • Analyzing a client’s cash flow based on income, expenses, and tax

But this is only scratching the surface, because succeeding in the career requires excellent interpersonal skills when communicating with clients, the ability to sell, and the motivation to run your own business. It gives you a fantastic opportunity to leave your comfort zone.

Potential challenges of being a financial advisor

As with almost every job, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Here are some reasons why working as a financial advisor might not be right for you, even if it holds great appeal for others.

Social dynamics

As mentioned previously, financial planning in Singapore follows a commission-based structure, which means that it’s very similar to working as a salesperson. This means it’s highly reliant on professional relationships — if that’s not your strong point, you may want to rethink this career path. And if you’re not prepared to really sell different

insurance policies and financial products, you may struggle to make a decent income.

The impact of this career path can even creep into your personal life. Some people are reluctant to have financial advisors in their social circle and feel suspicious they’re always trying to sell them stuff — meaning it can be more challenging to make friends.

This is where your personality and priorities come into play. Being a financial advisor might not be the right career path for some people, and that’s okay.

Slow learning curve

One of the benefits we highlighted in this career path was the chance you have to leave your comfort zone and develop lots of new skills. Yet while this can be exciting to many, it also means that you can expect a slow learning curve. It may be frustrating to get your head around so many new concepts and skills when you’re new to the work, and it will involve plenty of studying at the beginning.

This also means that you might not be earning the income you want to begin with. But if you have a good dose of grit and plenty of patience, you should be well on your way, so don’t let this put you off if you have the attitude to succeed.

unstable income for financial advisors

Less stable income

It’s possible to earn great money from being a financial advisor in Singapore, but you can’t sit around and wait for the money to come in. Unlike a standard employee role that gives you a predictable monthly salary to fall back on, when it comes to being a financial advisor, it’s up to you to grow your income. That can be daunting for some.

Even if you have a great salary, you also need to remember that you won’t have some of the perks most employees do. For instance, you won’t receive CPF contributions or have access to medical coverage.

decide whether to be a financial advisor

The call is yours to make

If you’re looking for a career with great earning potential where high-performers are rewarded for their efforts, you can learn new skills, and everything you’re doing helps others, being a financial advisor in Singapore could be a great career path for you. But it may not be perfect for everyone given the slow learning curve and relative income instability.

Still on the fence about whether this is the right career for you? Or maybe you’re sure it’s what you want to do but you have some questions for experience financial advisors? We'd be happy to connect you with top performing directors in the industry to share their story and tips - no sales, and no strings attached. Simply send us a message here!

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