Investment Advisor

How to Become an Investment Advisor
Investment Advisor Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of an Investment Advisor
Investment Advisor Salary
Influential Investment Advisors
Leading Organizations for Investment Advisors
Top Cities for Investment Advisor Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become an Investment Advisor

As a general rule, an Investment Advisor must possess a bachelor's degree. To advance in the profession, that degree should be related to finance or business administration. Many Investment Advisors choose to go on to obtain a master's degree as well as other professional designations.

Most employers require Investment Advisors to have a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, statistics, business administration, or economics. This education may also include coursework in risk management, taxes, financial analysis, corporate budgeting, estate planning, tax law, mathematics, and accounting policies and procedures.

Nearly all Investment Advisors must obtain one or more licenses, including the Series 7 and Series 63 or 66 licenses. These licenses are required so that the Investment Advisors may act as a registered representative, able to give professional financial advice. The Series 7 license requires that Investment Advisors have a sponsor; so self-employed Investment Advisors must have an ongoing relationship with a licensed securities company.

The main licensing body for Investment Advisors is The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Because there are a variety of licenses that require sponsorship, it is not necessary for an Investment Advisor to obtain the licenses before applying to work at a securities firm. Also, if a worker leaves the firm, a new license must be issued in relation to the worker's new employer.

What does an Investment Advisor do?

Investment Advisors, often referred to as financial analysts, may hold one of many different positions, either with an established securities firm or as an individual. There are Investment Advisors that specialize in various areas.

In general, Investment Advisors provide guidance for businesses and individuals interested in making investments. Investment Advisers are expected to provide sound advice and analysis on a variety of investments, including stocks and bonds. Investment Advisers are also expected to gather and analyze financial information, and to marry the best type of investment to the client.

It is imperative for Investment Advisors to know and understand how to assess the economic standing of industries and individual companies so that the client's investments will be as sound as possible. To do this, Investment Advisors must know and understand how to read a company's financial statements and to analyze various costs, expenses, commodity prices, sales, and tax rates so that the company's value can be determined. Based on that information, an Investment Advisor should be able to project the company's future earnings. Investment Advisors typically work with securities firms, insurance companies, investment banks, mutual and pension funds, the business media, such as newspapers, radio and television, and other businesses.

Because of the intricate nature of the financial world, Investment Advisors tend to focus on a specific type of product, industry, or geographic region. For example, an Investment Advisor may feel most comfortable and therefore choose to focus on the options market, real estate industry, or Europe. Larger companies may choose to divide the research and work between a number of departments, making the Investment Advisors' focus even sharper. When an Investment Advisor is able to dedicate himself to a particular niche market, it is easier to assess current economic trends in regards to competition, products, and general business practices. The Investment Advisor must be able to stay on top of new policies, regulations and laws that may affect the earning potential or market share of the chosen industry.

There are also Investment Advisors dedicated to the financial needs of the individual. Investment Advisors must use many of the same tactics in providing services to individuals as they would with corporate clients. The role of the Investment Advisor on this level entails educating the client on the type of investments that best suite the client's portfolio or level of wealth. The client is advised on various types of investments and insurances through short and long-term goal plans. These investments commonly include estate planning, retirement plans, trust funds, college education funding, and general investment advice. Investment Advisors often have relationships with legal professionals and certified professional accountants in order to provide the highest level of knowledge and expertise.

Many Investment Advisors must spend a significant portion of time marketing their services in an attempt to find news clients. There are many ways in which to do this, such as holding lectures and seminars to using personal contacts. One of the most important aspects to forming a successful financial business is to have a solid customer base.

What skills or qualities do I need to become an Investment Advisor?

Investment Advisors must have a number of specialized skills. These include:
  • Strong analytical, mathematical, and problem solving skills
  • Good communication skills, both oral and written
  • Self-confidence
  • Ability to work independently, motivated
  • Detail-oriented
  • Advanced knowledge of the economy, money markets, and applicable tax laws
  • Computer literate with the ability to create spreadsheets and statistical packages

How much does an Investment Advisor make?

As a general rule, the median annual salaries of Investment Advisors are difficult to gauge due to the fluctuating nature of the stock market. In times of economic struggle, the salaries of Investment Advisers may be severely affected because many work on a commission basis.

The median annual earnings of Investment Advisors and Financial Analysts as of May 2006 are as follows:

The average annual salaries, including bonuses, were $66,590. The lowest reported earnings were $32,340; the highest reported earnings were more than $145,600.

Many Investment Advisors who work for financial planning firms are also paid commission on products sold. The earnings of self-employed Investment Advisors are not included in these statistics.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Three of the most influential professionals in this space are:

Suze Orman
Charles Givens
Ric Edelman

What are some leading organizations in this field?

Investment Adviser Association

National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors

What are the top cities for Investment Advisor jobs?

Wall Street in New York City is the financial center of the United States and therefore employs the highest number of Investment Advisors. New York City is followed by Chicago, Illinois; Houston, Texas; and Dallas, Texas

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