Financial Advisor Job Overview & Description

What is a financial advisor? Well, that depends. A number of different finance-related jobs fall under the umbrella of “financial advisor.” Without a few specificiations, you would be looking at a very lengthy financial advisor job description.

This financial advisor job description will provide a categorized answer to the question, “What does a financial advisor do?” A financial advisor job can be found in a bank, a broker’s office, at an insurance agency – the list goes on. Instead of one financial adviser job description, this article will touch on the financial advisor job requirements of a number of specific jobs that fall into this category, including the financial product sales agent, stockbroker, and insurance agent.

What Is a Financial Advisor? (What Does a Financial Advsior Do?)

Simply put, a financial advisor is somebody who provides financial advice or guidance for a fee. There is no legal qualification for a financial advisor; however, most of the jobs that fall into the category of a financial advisor job do require specific licenses. A few examples of professions that may be included in a general financial advisor job description include:

  • Financial planner
  • Investment manager
  • Stockbroker
  • Insurance agent

These are all jobs that involve providing expert advice for a lot of crucial financial decisions. In most states, individuals providing this kind of advice are required to hold the Series 65 license in order to advise the public for compensation.

This financial advisor job description will go into detail about the following financial advisor jobs: financial planner, investment manager, stockbroker, and insurance agent.

financial advisor job description

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What Do Financial Advisors Do? Financial Advisor Job Description

Many people ask, “What does a financial advisor do?” Well, what kind of financial advisor job are you referring to?

Financial Advisor Job Description: Financial Planner

A financial planner is one kind of financial advisor job. Financial planners help clients meet their financial goals or evaluate their financial situation when unexpected expenses or life events crop up.

The job of a financial planner is a relatively new idea. In the past, these kinds of financial needs were traditionally met by a combination of professionals, such as investment advisors and estate planners. Now, a financial planner career falls under a financial advisor job description.

What is a financial advisor when it comes to financial planning? The best way to understand the distinction is to recognize the general shift from institutions to people. Individuals are looking to build personal relationships with somebody they can trust to provide sound advice that is not tied to the advisor’s self-interest. It also seems more logical to have a financial advisor job that is held by one person who can understand the unique needs of an individual or family as opposed to several professionals who do not have a solid relationship with their client or an understanding of that individual’s complex needs.

A day-to-day financial advisor job description for a financial planner can vary. A financial planner could sit down with a client to help that individual create a budget and determine how much he/she needs to put away in order to live comfortably in retirement.

A financial planner may also have the added responsibility of making investments on a client’s behalf, which requires regular appointments to keep the client up to speed on the success or failure of his/her investments.

As you can see, asking “What does a financial advisor do as a financial planner?” opens you up to a variety of answers. Depending on their certifications and licenses, financial advisors could also sell insurance or financial products.

They can also sometimes play the role of teacher or therapist as they help confused clients navigate tricky financial situations in order to find a good solution. Illness, death, accident or unemployment can throw a person’s finances for a loop, and, in some cases, financial planners are best poised to figure out how to handle such scenarios.

If you are reading this financial advisor job description and thinking that a career as a financial planner is the path for you, you’re in luck. Financial planning has healthy job prospects, and it is expected to grow at a rate of 30 percent up to 2024, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

This means an extra 73,900 financial planner positions in addition to the financial planner jobs that already exist. This rapid growth of the occupation is due to the aging baby boomer population that will most certainly be looking for advice on how to leverage their life’s earnings into a healthy retirement.

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Financial Advisor Job Description: Investment Manager

what is a financial advisor

Image source: Pixabay

As the name suggests, an investment manager is a financial advisor job that is more focused on the investing side of things. Whereas a financial planner would handle the overall financial situation of his/her clients, an investment manager is focused on a client’s investments.

This kind of financial advisor job involves actively managing a client’s portfolio in line with that individual’s risk tolerance and financial goals. Using what they have discussed with their clients, investment managers analyze the market and take action to grow their clients’ wealth.

Their job is not limited to simple buying and selling. They are also responsible for ensuring their clients’ portfolios satisfy all reporting requirements, that the portfolio is on track to meet certain goals, and that transactions are properly settled.

Financial Advisor Job Description: Stockbroker

Stockbrokers execute orders and trades and take a commission off of the transactions they facilitate. It’s technically considered a financial advisor job because stockbrokers provide advice to their clients about whether they should trade, buy or sell.

The advent of technologies that allow people to carry out trades themselves – as well as cultural mistrust of stockbrokers and their perceived self-interest – has led some observers to conclude that the job of the stockbroker is on a steady decline. If not that, it’s definitely a much more competitive arena than it used to be. 

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Financial Advisor Job Description: Insurance Agent

For some, including the insurance agent in a financial advisor job description is a stretch. Insurance agents don’t enjoy a particularly popular reputation. They are considered, at best, irritating salesmen and, at worst, fraudsters. However, genuine insurance plans can offer much-needed protection in specific circumstances, and insurance agents who can persevere through a lot of “no’s” are in a position to make a lot of money.

Death, a fire, illness, unemployment – these all have two things in common: they are emotionally tragic and also financially devastating. Part of the financial advisor’s job is to help individuals navigate extreme life events that can throw their finances for a loop. Strategically-chosen life insurance can help protect individuals, and a trusted insurance agent can help you pick a plan that’s relevant to your life and that has fair terms and conditions.

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Financial Advisor Job Description: Fiduciary Responsibility

While there are many jobs and responsibilities that can be filed under the financial advisor job description, there is a specific distinction in terms of responsibility. A genuine financial advisor is supposed to have the client’s interests in mind before his/her own and especially before any institution the advisor may be working for.

Many positions that are classified as a financial advisor job are not so when it comes to the specifics of their job arrangements.

A large number of professionals have loyalties to specific institutions or financial products, and, while this is not necessarily an unethical situation, it does change the dynamic of their interactions with the public. The most ethical thing to do is to disclose all institutional connections or incentives to clients in advance.

Financial Advisor Job Description: Series 65

The Series 65 exam, also called the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination, is mandated by most states for those hoping to be investment advisors. Holding this license indicates that a financial advisor is familiar with the laws, ethics, and regulations pertaining to a financial advisor job. It also covers topics related to portfolio management, financial planning, retirement planning, and more.

The test is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, a regulatory body. In order to hold a financial advisor job, candidates must pass the exam. Test takers have 180 minutes to answer 130 questions. In order to pass, 94 of the 130 questions must be answered correctly.

Financial Advisor Job Requirements: What You Need to do to Qualify for a Financial Advisor Job

A financial advisor job can also be specific to a particular area, and the financial advisor job requirements will vary depending on which sector an advisor chooses to specialize in. Some specialize in tax laws while others focus on estate planning, and others are all about investments.

A financial advisor job can be found in a large company or an independent firm. Some financial advisors choose to operate independently, which means their work requires more sales and networking in order to attract more clients. This is why you will often see self-employed financial advisors writing blog posts, maintaining websites, posting videos or hosting workshops or speaking events.

One of the main financial advisor job requirements is a bachelor’s degree. It is not mandatory, but it is considered a main one because many people expect it. That said, people have gained the knowledge they need through individual courses, college or diploma programs, and independent studies. So long as they have the necessary licenses, it is not mandatory.

Technically speaking, a bachelor’s degree does not guarantee a solid background in finance. Financial advisors could have a university education in a number of fields, including psychology, life sciences or humanities. This does not prevent them from being good financial advisors. What does a financial advisor do? They explain complex financial contexts and different products in an-easy-to-understand way – a skill that is developed and strengthened in any degree program.

Those who wish to supplement their education and are asking “What do financial advisors do?” should brush up on economics, finance, risk management, and estate planning.

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What Is a Financial Advisor? The CFP Designation

The Certified Financial Planner designation is one of the most widely-recognized certifications that a financial advisor can get. It is a rigorous program with a number of specific requirements. In the case of the CFP, those looking for CFP designation in the United States are required to hold a bachelor’s degree. Even if you have a bachelor’s degree (or a master’s degree) you are still required to meet the program’s education requirement. Exemptions are only provided in extremely specific circumstances (i.e., for people with a PhD in economics).

Earning a CFP designation also requires candidates to have a number of years of experience, pass an exam, and clear a background check that checks them for a criminal record or involvement in any regulatory agency proceedings. For someone looking to incrase their income or reputability in a financial advisor job, the CFP designation certainly does the trick. That said, the CFP designation is not a prerequisite for becoming a financial advisor.

A financial advisor job has a number of perks: helping people, making money, and providing healthy job growth. If you can meet the requirements and find the financial advisor job description that fits your interests (i.e., investing, insurance) you are well on your way to starting an interesting and rewarding career.

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