Financial Advisor Career Profile

A financial advisor's career is driven by targets and goals. This is because a financial advisor is always trying to reach the financial goals of the clients. In a nutshell, a financial advisor manages the wealth and investments of its clients. Also referred to as Financial Consultants, financial advisors provide investment advice and financial planning service to the clients. As a financial advisor, you will be employing various investment vehicles like stock, bonds, mutual funds, real estate investment trusts (REIT), options, futures, notes and insurance products for the benefit of your clients.

Basic Tasks / Duties

You must possess strong quantitative and analytic skills for carrying out day to day activities efficiently. Thus, a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting or economics is desirable, though not essential. To become a financial advisor you have to clear Series 7 Exam conducted by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Daily tasks and duties include -

  • Examine the current financial status of the client by considering their assets, liabilities, commitments and current investment plans.
  • Prepare short and long term investment plans for your clients.
  • Counseling clients on various investment vehicles and opportunities and offering them a suitable plan.
  • Providing required data to the clients to support the suggested plans of investment.
  • Constantly monitor the clients' investment portfolios.
  • Update your knowledge of financial markets to keep abreast of new investment strategies and vehicles.
  • Quick and confidently deciding investment plans even in uncertain circumstances and advising the clients of the same.
  • Coordinate with stock market personnel and customers in an amicable way.
  • Acquiring new clients.

Work Schedule

Financial advisors' work schedule is on the heavier side as you normally have to put in around 60 to 80 hours a week. You might have to work at odd hours and also on weekends to meet existing and new clients. This is because your earnings greatly depend on commissions that you earn by selling various investment products to your clients.

Earning Potential

According to the survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2008, the median annual salary of the Financial Advisor is $66,000 and the highest being $145,000. The salary is based on the commission on revenue generation. There also is a study which tells that the top financial advisors can earn over $1,000,000 in a year.

Advancement Opportunities

After you have gained enough experience and market knowledge during your career as a financial advisor (in a full-service brokerage firm or bank), you can start working as an independent advisor. It is advisable to start something on your own only if you have a reliable customer base.

Types of Financial Advisor Jobs

Personal Financial Advisors or Corporate Financial Advisors are two most popular job profiles among financial advisor professionals. Personal Financial Advisors plan the investments of individuals, while Corporate Financial Advisors work with business firms. A few of the financial advisors also prefer to work with mixed type of clients. Some specific job profiles include - Working Capital Management or Business Loans. Such specialists are preferred largely by business houses.