According to the US Dept of Labor, this is what you need to know about becoming Financial Analysts and Personal Financial Advisors:
*A college degree and good interpersonal skills are among the most important qualifications for these workers.
*Although both occupations will benefit from an increase in investing by individuals, personal financial advisors will benefit more.
*Financial analysts and personal financial advisors who have earned a professional designation are expected to have the best opportunities; competition is anticipated to be keen for highly lucrative positions in investment banking.
*About 4 out of 10 personal financial advisors are self-employed.
Employers usually do not require a specific field of study for personal financial advisors, but a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, economics, business, mathematics, or law provides good preparation for the occupation. Courses in investments, taxes, estate planning, and risk management also are helpful. Programs in financial planning are becoming more widely available in colleges and universities. Working for a broker-dealer is a good way to gain experience that can help individuals pass the security license exams needed to practice financial planning. Individuals who start out as independent financial planners may find it more difficult to build their client base, and they often start by servicing their family members and friends. However, many financial planners enter the field after working in a related occupation, such as accountant; auditor; insurance sales agent; lawyer, or securities, commodities, and financial services sales agent.
Although not required for financial analysts or personal financial advisors to practice, certification can enhance one’s professional standing and is strongly recommended by many employers. Personal financial advisors may obtain the Certified Financial Planner credential, often referred to as CFP (R), demonstrating extensive training and competency in financial planning. This certification, issued by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, requires relevant experience, the completion of education requirements, passing a comprehensive examination, and adherence to an enforceable code of ethics. The CFP (R) exams test the candidate’s knowledge of the financial planning process, insurance and risk management, employee benefits planning, taxes and retirement planning, and investment and estate planning. The exam has been revised in recent years. Candidates are now required to have a working knowledge of debt management, planning liability, emergency fund reserves, and statistical modeling. It may take from 2 to 3 years of study to complete these programs.
Personal financial advisors also may obtain the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designation, issued by the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, which requires experience and the completion of an eight-course program of study. The ChFC designation and other professional designations have continuing education requirements.
Deregulation of the financial services industry is expected to spur demand for financial analysts and personal financial advisors. In recent years, banks, insurance companies, and brokerage firms have been allowed to broaden their financial services. Many firms are adding investment advice to their list of services and are expected to increase their hiring of personal financial advisors. Many banks are entering the securities brokerage and investment banking fields and will increasingly need the skills of financial analysts.
Employment of personal financial advisors is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. The rapid expansion of self-directed retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans, is expected to continue. As the number and complexity of investments rises, more individuals will look to financial advisors to help manage their money.
Median annual earnings of personal financial advisors were $62,700 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $41,860 and $108,280. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest number of personal financial advisors in 2004 were as follows:
Other financial investment activities $78,350
Securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage 63,310
Depository credit intermediation 57,180
Agencies, brokerages, and other insurance related activities 56,950
Personal financial advisors who work for financial services firms are generally paid a salary plus bonus. Advisors who work for financial investment or planning firms or who are self-employed either charge hourly fees for their services or charge one set fee for a comprehensive plan, based on its complexity. Advisors who manage a client’s assets may charge a percentage of those assets. Advisors generally receive commissions for financial products they sell, in addition to charging a fee.
Answered By: edith clarke - 2/3/2007