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Become An Investment Advisor

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Working As An Investment Advisor

  • Getting Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $80,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Investment Advisor Do

Personal financial advisors provide advice on investments, insurance, mortgages, college savings, estate planning, taxes, and retirement to help individuals manage their finances.  

Duties

Personal financial advisors typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients in person to discuss their financial goals
  • Explain the types of financial services they provide to potential clients
  • Educate clients and answer questions about investment options and potential risks
  • Recommend investments to clients or select investments on their behalf
  • Help clients plan for specific circumstances, such as education expenses or retirement
  • Monitor clients’ accounts and determine if changes are needed to improve the performance or to accommodate life changes, such as getting married or having children
  • Research investment opportunities

Personal financial advisors assess the financial needs of individuals and help them with decisions on investments (such as stocks and bonds), tax laws, and insurance. Advisors help clients plan for short- and long-term goals, such as meeting education expenses and saving for retirement through investments. They invest clients’ money based on the clients’ decisions. Many advisors also provide tax advice or sell insurance.

Although most planners offer advice on a wide range of topics, some specialize in areas such as retirement or risk management (evaluating how willing the investor is to take chances and adjusting investments accordingly).

Many personal financial advisors spend a lot of time marketing their services, and they meet potential clients by giving seminars or through business and social networking. Networking is the process of meeting and exchanging information with people, or groups of people, who have similar interests.

After financial advisors have invested funds for a client, they and the client receive regular investment reports. Advisors monitor the client’s investments and usually meet with each client at least once a year to update the client on potential investments and to adjust the financial plan based on the client’s circumstances or because investment options may have changed.

Many personal financial advisors are licensed to directly buy and sell financial products, such as stocks, bonds, annuities, and insurance. Depending on the agreement they have with their clients, personal financial advisors may have the client’s permission to make decisions about buying and selling stocks and bonds.

Private bankers or wealth managers are personal financial advisors who work for people who have a lot of money to invest. These clients are similar to institutional investors (commonly, companies or organizations), and they approach investing differently than the general public does. Private bankers manage a collection of investments, called a portfolio, for these clients by using the resources of the bank, including teams of financial analysts, accountants, and other professionals.

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How To Become An Investment Advisor

Personal financial advisors typically need a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree and certification can improve one’s chances for advancement in the occupation.

Education

Personal financial advisors typically need a bachelor’s degree. Although employers usually do not require personal financial advisors to have completed a specific course of study, a degree in finance, economics, accounting, business, mathematics, or law is good preparation for this occupation. Courses in investments, taxes, estate planning, and risk management are also helpful. Programs in financial planning are becoming more available in colleges and universities.

Training

Once they are hired, personal financial advisors often enter an on-the-job training period. During this time, new advisors work under the supervision of senior advisors and learn how to perform their duties, including building a client network and developing investment portfolios. This training usually lasts for more than a year.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Personal financial advisors who directly buy or sell stocks, bonds, or insurance policies, or who provide specific investment advice, need a combination of licenses that varies with the products they sell. In addition to being required to have those licenses, advisors in smaller firms that manage clients’ investments must be registered with state regulators and those in larger firms must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Personal financial advisors who choose to sell insurance need licenses issued by state boards. Information on state licensing board requirements for registered investment advisors is available from the North American Securities Administrators Association.

Certifications can enhance a personal financial advisor’s reputation and can help bring in new clients. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards offers the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification. For this certification, advisors must have a bachelor’s degree, complete at least 3 years of relevant work experience, pass an exam, and agree to adhere to a code of ethics. The exam covers the financial planning process, insurance and risk management, employee benefits planning, taxes and retirement planning, investment and real estate planning, debt management, planning liability, emergency fund reserves, and statistical modeling.

Advancement

A master’s degree in an area such as finance or business administration can improve a personal financial advisor’s chances of moving into a management position and attracting new clients.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. In determining an investment portfolio for a client, personal financial advisors must be able to take into account a range of information, including economic trends, regulatory changes, and the client’s comfort with risky decisions.

Interpersonal skills. A major part of a personal financial advisor’s job is making clients feel comfortable. Advisors must establish trust with clients and respond well to their questions and concerns.

Math skills. Personal financial advisors should be good at mathematics because they constantly work with numbers. They determine the amount invested, how that amount has grown or decreased over time, and how a portfolio is distributed among different investments.

Sales skills. To expand their base of clients, personal financial advisors must be convincing and persistent in selling their services.

Speaking skills. Personal financial advisors interact with clients every day. They must explain complex financial concepts in understandable language.

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Investment Advisor Jobs

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Investment Advisor Career Paths

Investment Advisor
Account Executive Consultant Controller
Controller, Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Regional Sales Manager Sales Vice President
Senior Vice President, Sales
14 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Manager Vice President
Group Vice President
9 Yearsyrs
Finance Consultant Senior Finance Analyst Assistant Vice President
Commercial Lending Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Finance Consultant Consultant Regional Sales Manager
Regional Sales Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Finance Consultant Senior Finance Analyst Vice President
Vice President And Portfolio Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Account Manager Relationship Manager
Senior Relationship Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Finance Representative Finance Analyst Portfolio Manager
Senior Portfolio Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Finance Representative Team Leader Vice President
Client Services Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Finance Representative Team Leader Branch Manager
Business Development Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Investment Consultant Branch Manager Regional Sales Manager
Vice President & Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Investment Consultant Branch Manager Relationship Manager
Business Relationship Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Broker Underwriter Assistant Branch Manager
Finance Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Broker Senior Account Executive Partner
Founding Partner
7 Yearsyrs
Loan Officer Underwriter Assistant Branch Manager
Bank Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Broker Analyst Portfolio Manager
Investments Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Account Manager Market Manager
Market Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Trader Vice President, Fixed Income
Fixed Income Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Investment Officer 4.0 years
Stock Broker 3.1 years
Investment Advisor 3.0 years
Finance Planner 2.9 years
Finance Advisor 2.7 years
Finance Consultant 2.6 years
Bank Advisor 2.3 years
Client Advisor 2.1 years
Top Careers Before Investment Advisor
Internship 6.1%
Manager 4.6%
Consultant 3.6%
Associate 3.0%
President 3.0%
Top Careers After Investment Advisor
Owner 6.3%
Consultant 6.2%
President 5.0%
Manager 3.6%
Director 3.4%

Do you work as an Investment Advisor?

Investment Advisor Demographics

Gender

Male

64.5%

Female

25.6%

Unknown

9.9%
Ethnicity

White

62.1%

Hispanic or Latino

14.3%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

8.5%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

39.8%

French

14.0%

Mandarin

9.5%

Chinese

6.8%

Portuguese

6.1%

Russian

3.8%

German

3.4%

Italian

2.7%

Arabic

2.7%

Cantonese

1.9%

Japanese

1.9%

Hebrew

1.5%

Swedish

1.1%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Hindi

0.8%

Ukrainian

0.8%

Armenian

0.8%

Polish

0.8%

Turkish

0.4%

Dutch

0.4%
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Investment Advisor Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.4%

Arizona State University

11.0%

New York University

5.7%

University of Florida

5.6%

Boston University

5.2%

Florida State University

4.6%

Northeastern University

4.6%

University of South Florida

4.3%

Ohio State University

4.3%

American College

4.2%

University of Iowa

4.2%

University of Chicago

4.0%

University of Pennsylvania

3.9%

Pennsylvania State University

3.9%

Boston College

3.7%

Michigan State University

3.7%

University of Texas at Austin

3.7%

Colorado State University

3.5%

University of Rhode Island

3.2%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.2%
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Majors

Business

28.9%

Finance

24.6%

Accounting

7.8%

Economics

6.6%

Marketing

4.2%

Management

4.1%

Political Science

3.6%

Psychology

3.1%

Communication

2.5%

Law

2.2%

Education

1.9%

Real Estate

1.5%

History

1.4%

English

1.3%

Criminal Justice

1.3%

International Business

1.1%

Insurance

1.1%

Liberal Arts

1.0%

Computer Science

0.9%

Business Economics

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

51.5%

Masters

25.9%

Other

13.0%

Associate

3.5%

Doctorate

2.7%

Certificate

2.5%

License

0.6%

Diploma

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$80,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$40,000
Min 10%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$161,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
3G's
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Oregon
Avg Experience Level
3.3 years
How much does an Investment Advisor make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Investment Advisor in the United States is $80,720 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $40,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $161,000.

Real Investment Advisor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Global Investment Specialist Jpmorgan Chase and Co. New York, NY Sep 30, 2011 $330,000
Investment Advisor Manager 3G Capital, Inc. New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $300,000
Investment Advisor Manager 3G Capital, Inc. New York, NY Sep 16, 2015 $300,000
Global Investment Specialist Jpmorgan Chase & Co. New York, NY Sep 16, 2013 $300,000
Investment Advisor Manager 3G Capital, Inc. New York, NY Sep 08, 2015 $300,000
Investment Advisor 3G Capital, Inc. New York, NY Jan 10, 2016 $300,000
Investment Advisor 3G Capital, Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2013 $300,000
Senior Investment Specialist (Investor) Jpmorgan Chase & Co. Los Angeles, CA Jul 02, 2016 $250,000
Senior Investment Advisor SSB Operations, LLC Los Angeles, CA May 04, 2012 $240,000
Investment Advisor NEZU Asia Capital Management LLC New York, NY Jan 03, 2014 $200,000
Equity Investment Advisor NEZU Asia Capital Management, LLC New York, NY Jan 28, 2016 $200,000
Investment Advisor Partners Group (USA) Inc. New York, NY Apr 14, 2013 $125,000
Investment Advisor Lloyd Crescendo Advisors LLC Miami, FL Jan 09, 2016 $125,000
Investment Advisor Partners Group (USA) Inc. New York, NY Oct 15, 2013 $122,000
Investment Advisor Drapac Investments, LLC Los Angeles, CA May 04, 2014 $120,000
Investment Quantitative Specialist MacKay Shields LLC New York, NY Feb 18, 2012 $120,000
International Investment Oversight Specialist BBVA Securities Inc. Houston, TX Dec 02, 2016 $119,829
Analytic Investment Strategy Advisor CVS Pharmacy, Inc. Woonsocket, RI Jan 07, 2016 $119,761
WM Investment Advisor U.S. Bank National Association San Francisco, CA Mar 28, 2011 $115,000
Eastern Europe Region Investment Advisor Noble International Investments, Inc. Boca Raton, FL Aug 20, 2016 $85,000
Medical & Biotechnology Investment Advisor Sasco Investments, LP Houston, TX Jan 15, 2011 $81,286 -
$105,165
Investment Advisor-Portfolio Manager Genesis Investment Advisors, LLC Coral Gables, FL Sep 16, 2014 $80,000
Investment Specialist Procyon Ventures, LLC Cambridge, MA Apr 01, 2014 $80,000
Investment Specialist National Securities Corporation New York, NY Jun 09, 2012 $75,000
Investment Specialist Lloyds TSB Bank PLC Miami, FL Sep 19, 2012 $75,000 -
$80,000
Investment Specialist National Securities Corporation New York, NY Jun 09, 2015 $75,000

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Top Skills for An Investment Advisor

  1. Sales Floor
  2. Investment Strategies
  3. Asset Allocation
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Presented personalized investment portfolios to clients, including analysis of investment strategies and allocation of funds in clients' equity/bond portfolios.
  • Gathered and analyzed data used in financial planning, asset allocation, portfolio diversification as well as general investment management.
  • Created customized marketing strategies specifically for a private portfolio management firm.
  • Complete audit projects including researching client transaction history and real estate valuation.
  • Founded this company in 2004, Successfully hired and managed teams to the desired goal of attracting and retaining new clients.

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Top 10 Best States for Investment Advisors

  1. District of Columbia
  2. New York
  3. Delaware
  4. Washington
  5. Georgia
  6. New Jersey
  7. Connecticut
  8. California
  9. Indiana
  10. Illinois
  • (13 jobs)
  • (95 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (34 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (177 jobs)
  • (15 jobs)
  • (57 jobs)

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