Financial advisors work primarily for financial institutions such as banks, mutual fund companies, and insurance companies. Generally, they work with individuals or institutional clients to assess their financial needs and help them achieve financial goals, such as choosing investments (money market, real estate investments, stocks and bonds), and they also explain tax laws relevant to certain investments and help with insurance decisions.
Financial advisors help clients plan for both short-term and long-term goals, such as education expenses if they have children who are going to college, or for their own retirement, and they recommend various investments to match clients' goals. A bachelor's degree in accounting, business, finance, or a related field is generally required for this position, and those with prior work experience with similar financial institutions may be preferred by some employers.
Applicants may be required to pass Series 6 and Series 7 exams and must be willing to learn their institution's computer system. Knowledge of Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) is important, and they must also have excellent verbal and written communication skills and work well with diverse people. They must have thorough knowledge of government (federal, state, local) laws and regulations and follow Security Exchange Commission (SEC) rules and guidelines, as well. They should stay up-to-date with frequent changes in monetary rules and regulations, and some may visit companies with which their institutions are interested in investing. Some may also train or mentor junior financial advisors.
Financial Advisor Tasks
Interview clients and gather information to determine strategies for financial investments.
Prospect and maintain clientele.
Recommend and sell financial plans and products that will help meet financial goals.