1. Financial Careers: Introduction
  2. Financial Careers: Qualifications and Credentials
  3. Financial Careers: Finance Employers
  4. Financial Careers: Investment Banking Jobs
  5. Financial Careers: Trading Jobs
  6. Financial Careers: Financial Advisory Jobs
  7. Financial Careers: Analytical Jobs
  8. Financial Careers: Financial Media Jobs
  9. Financial Careers: Analyst Jobs
  10. Financial Careers: Portfolio Management Jobs
  11. Financial Careers: Conclusion

Financial advisor jobs are some of the most familiar to the general public. Individuals with these jobs focus primarily on providing financial services to retail investors. The general term “financial advisor” can apply to a wide variety of jobs; the term is typically more common today than “stockbroker,” although many individual investors consider these interchangeable.

Where the Jobs Are

Financial advisor roles are unlike many other types of financial careers in that they can be found commonly outside of major financial centers. Careers in this area may therefore appeal to individuals interested in working in finance but not interested (or unable) to live in New York, London, or similarly large cities. Financial advisors work closely with clients and spend a good portion of their time interacting with the public. Large financial advisory firms tend to have hubs in major cities, as well as smaller outposts in less densely populated areas. In some cases, financial advisors may even be able to work remotely, further expanding the range of areas in which these individuals can live and work. The financial advisory business includes large brokerage firms, smaller brokerage firms, and independent registered investment advisors, as well as private banking firms. The size and type of firm that a financial advisor selects as a place in which to work will depend upon his or her individual preference.

How to Get a Financial Advisor Job

Typically, applicants for financial advisor positions hold at least an undergraduate degree. While some hold graduate degrees as well, these are not considered a requirement for these positions. However, nearly all financial advisors are required to hold a number of securities industry licenses, and in order to earn these licenses, advisors must study for and pass a series of exams. Many of the licensing programs also require that the advisor engage in continuing education programs and comply with ethical standards. Many financial advisors earn the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, especially those advisors who work independently and who provide their public clients with a wide range of planning and tax advice alongside securities recommendations. Certified Public Accountants (CPA) tend to look at a client’s entire financial picture, and many financial advisors hold this designation as well.

Types of Financial Advisor Jobs

  • Stockbroker/Financial Consultant Jobs

These jobs tend to be found at larger “wire house” firms including Morgan Stanley, or smaller brokerages like Charles Schwab or Edward Jones. At larger companies, individuals typically enter the structure at a lower level and complete a training course to gain knowledge of the basics of the financial industry, the specific company, and the designation and licensing systems. Entry-level employees will also study for and attain their Series 7 & 63 licenses at this time. These employees then move on to working for an established broker, and some continue by finding their own clients and branching out on their own. Initially, the work can be quite daunting, as it involves cold-calling prospective clients. Successful stockbrokers must be able to approach this part of the job with confidence, and they must be able to handle rejection appropriately. Once established, though, a financial consultant can earn a comfortable salary through managing their client portfolios.

  • Certified Financial Planner Jobs

Certified financial planners (CFPs) are more likely than stockbrokers to work at smaller firms or on their own. CFP positions tend to attract individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as those who prefer to work in a small office setting. This also means that CFP jobs can be found in communities of many sizes and in many parts of the country. It’s very common for CFPs to have licensure, and most have completed the CFP program or the CPA program. On a day-to-day basis, CFPs work in a similar capacity to financial consultants at larger companies; they work with individual clients to help them manage their finances in an effort to meet their long-term goals. CFPs usually take a broader view of client finances, including such activities as tax planning, estate services, and more. (To learn more, check out Studying For The CFP Exam.)

  • Private Banker Jobs

Private bankers work with high-net-worth individuals to manage finances. In many cases, the minimum account size may be in the millions of dollars, and clients are often considerably more wealthy than that. Private bankers may work at a specialized firm which caters to this clientele, or they may work in a specialized division of a more general brokerage firm or bank. The daily work of a private banker includes meeting with clients to discuss their goals and assist them in managing their finances toward those ends. One difference between private banking and the above jobs, though, is that most clients have already attained great wealth. For this reason, private bankers are often more concerned with maintaining wealth levels than with creating new wealth. They may also be more deeply involved in tax planning and specialized investments, like art and real estate collections. Private banker jobs are more readily available in countries experiencing a growth in the number of extremely wealthy individuals, including may Asian countries.


Financial advisor jobs tend to be somewhat less competitive than many other types of careers in finance. Individuals in these positions often have a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to work locations and office settings. On the other hand, though, financial advisor jobs typically don’t pay the same outsized salaries as some other financial careers. Financial advisor jobs can also be difficult, requiring large amounts of confidence and tenacity, particularly for those individuals working on their own or looking to get established for the first time. People who find these positions fulfilling typically enjoy the satisfaction that comes from assisting clients in meeting their long-term financial goals. (For more, see Why Financial Advisors Disagree.)


Financial Careers: Analytical Jobs
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