Financial advisors guide customers through the complex landscape of investing, wealth management, and tax and estate planning. The job description's a given, but how does one choose the best company to work for? 

The best company reflects your personal preferences. A self-starter who likes having the independence to call his or her own shots may fit best at a place like Raymond James Financial, Inc (RJF), which offers its advisors several types of affiliation (including that of independent contractor, which around 60% of them are). Or perhaps you're looking for the advantages that come with working at one of the big-name firms like Fidelity Investments or Charles Schwab (SCHW).

Questions to Ask Yourself

How do you choose? Lots of research, interviews with employees and some soul-searching. Ask yourself:

  • What type of environment — casual, corporate — do you prefer?
  • Do you like flying solo or do you prefer or the hustle and bustle of a big firm?
  • Where do you want to be located geographically?
  • What type of clients are you interested in serving?
  • What type of work would you like to do?
  • What type of services will you offer?                                             

The Fortune List

Each year, puts out its list of the "100 Best Companies to Work For," a well-regarded survey that looks at factors like the credibility of a firm's management, employee job satisfaction and workforce camaraderie. Many financial services firms, investment companies and insurance companies make the grade – and may offer ideas about the best places for financial advisors to work.

Here are the finance sector's top 10 companies listed in order of their rank on the 2018 Fortune list: 

  • The Boston Consulting Group (no. 4): Boston, management consulting
  • Edward D. Jones & Co. (no. 5): St. Louis, investment services
  • Deloitte (no. 11): New York City, accounting and financial services
  • Baird (no. 12): Milwaukee, investment services and insurance
  • Quicken Loans (no. 14): Detroit, banking and insurance
  • Capital One Financial Corp (COF) (no. 17): McLean, Va, banking and financial services
  • USAA (no.19): San Antonio, Texas, investment services and insurance
  • Plante Moran (no. 20): Southfield, Mich., accounting and advisory services
  • Pinnacle Financial Partners (no. 22): Nashville, Tenn., investment services
  • American Express Co. (AXP) (No. 23):  New York City, credit services

Other companies that score high:  Camden Property Trust (no. 24), a Houston-based REIT; KPMG (no. 29), the New York City-based accounting firm; and Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (ALV.DE) (no. 40), headquartered in Minneapolis.

The Bottom Line

Job seekers looking for a financial advisor position have lots of factors to sift through. Remember that many of the large financial services firms have numerous offices nationwide and that locations may differ in work environment and what they offer for employees. Do your homework. Speak with current — and if possible, former — employees. Investigate work practices and research any ethical violations. Additionally, investigate fee structures and corporate culture.

The best company for a financial advisor to work at? The one that matches up with his or her skill set and personal preferences.