February 15th, 2013
Financial Advisor Articles
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Become a Financial Advisor
For those of you who are good with money management, you may be tempted to have a look at the financial sector as a career. Be warned though – It takes more than good personal budget management to become a financial advisor. Especially now after the current recession has hit, leaving consumers more sceptical than they ever have been, with nobody taking the financial advice from just anyone.
You really need to know your stuff to make it as a financial advisor, and fortunately, you don’t need to know every minute detail to get started in the industry.
What counts more is your specialism.
Knowledge is the key to going far as a financial advisor. To ensure you’re at the top of your game, finance firms will look for specialists in a variety of fields. That could see you specialise in investments, advice for the small business owner, retirement planning, insurance provisions, or perhaps dealing with business advice involving mergers, acquisitions, or any other niche subject within the broader spectrum of financial services.
One of the key areas you will be dealing with will be sales, so if you aren’t good at handling rejection, you may find it extremely challenging to progress in this career. You must be able to build rapport with clients, establish trust, and with that, work with each of your clients, tailoring your advice to meet their personal, and business finance goals, while selling not only your services as a financial advisor, but also the investments best suited to each of your clients needs.
Trust must be built through rapport, and each investment advised, must be thoroughly thought through before advising clients on your professional opinions.
The field is tough and only the strongest survive. It’s estimated that over 50% of graduate students qualifying to become a financial advisor, actually make it beyond five years in the field, as they’ll opt for a career switch to something that isn’t as challenging a career.
Careful consideration to your career is advised, prior to enrolling in training.
Financial Advisor Training
What training do you need to become a financial advisor?
Training to become a financial advisor is going to take a lot of study, as it is a graduate job. That requires you to study towards a bachelor’s degree, which will take you four years to complete.
There are degree courses, which only take two years to complete, but these are undergraduate degrees and of no use to gain employment as a financial advisor. Although, you may find a private investment group willing to offer an internship, but those will be few and far between.
The vast majority of finance firms require a bachelor’s degree and fortunately, there are a number of courses for you to choose from. Each of them will help you towards moving into this career with a narrower niche area focused on.
Regardless the area of finance interests you; you can and should focus your studies towards a specialist subject.
Some popular degree courses to consider for getting started are:
- Computer Science
Once you’ve obtained your bachelors degree, you can (and are best to) study through other short courses, designed to help you construct a resume with an emphasis on the niche finance area you’re looking to specialise in. That could be investments, retirement planning, insurance provisions, or any other area of finance of interest to you.
Given that employers are looking for only the best in the field, the more formal certification you have to your related field of expertise, the higher your employment opportunities grow, alongside your salary expectations.
Once you’ve gained your qualification, the next step in the process is gaining accreditation. To become accredited, you can’t sit your exams as an individual. You must have sponsorship and that comes from a member of FINRA . (The Financial Industry Regulator Authority).
At this stage, you’ll be required to undertake your series 7 exam for professional accreditation.
Financial Advisor Jobs
What type of jobs are available to those who become financial advisor’s?
It’s no secret that for the successful financial advisor there’s money to be made. The better you are, the higher a remuneration receive, and that’s often backed up with a bonus package. However, finding the attractive financial advisor jobs is the difficult part.
The spectrum is broad, and there’s very few organisations going to look for someone with an industry wide knowledge, as the smarter FA, is one who is specialised in a specific field.
When you first graduate, the best thing to do is to look for a narrower job title, applicable to your field of study. That will get you the experience necessary for career progression.
Job titles that could be used for financial advisor positions include:
- Securities broker
- Stock broker
- Investment advisor
- Financial manager
- and also the independent financial advisor
Those are all job titles that a qualified financial advisor could be suited to. For the independent financial advisor, there are some firms who prefer to hire people on a self-employed basis, taking a cut of the profits generated by your own business.
Some people will opt for this route, while others prefer the security of a fixed salary. It’s worth noting that out the majority of advisory jobs in the finance sector, around 1 in 4 financial advisors choose to go independent, working for themselves.
The more experience you gain on the job, opens doors to career progression. You can either continue to progress your career, working for large financial services firms, or go into business for yourself.
That’s one of the perks of this career.
If you ever find it difficult to gain employment, there is the option to go it alone, offering your services independently.