Financial Advisors or Broker Advisors deliver personalized investment solutions. Likewise, this person executes orders on the stock market and sells financial products (e.g. stocks, treasury bills, mutual funds, annuities, and variable life insurance), and manages other financial activities on behalf of clients in exchange of a commission. Financial Advisors sometimes offer counselling and consulting services. However, these services are mainly focused on a transaction-based relationship, since the Financial Advisor stands as an intermediary between a buyer and a seller and must set transactions that are suitable for both parties.
This position is easily confused with the one of Investment Advisor, whose role is to offer a more comprehensive vision on a variety of financial topics, including investment and guidance. Investment Advisors work in conjunction with their clients to make investments and allocation decisions, providing them unbiased and unrestricted advice.
Financial Advisors are commonly hired by investment companies, stock brokerage firms, stock and commodity exchanges, building societies, financial planning firms, independent financial advice companies, insurance companies, and a number of retailers who offer financial services.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Financial Advisors are required to complete.
- Providing a professional level of financial-based advisory and transactional services to customers:
- Identifying clients’ needs and goals and assessing their current and future investment actions;
- buying and selling financial products such as stocks, commodity futures, foreign currencies, among others, on behalf of investment dealers and other clients;
- developing investment and trading strategies while ensuring their clients’ best interests are being served;
- recommending the best-suited products to their customers;
- promoting financial products and services; and
- providing education, counselling, and consultation related to investments and finances.
- Maintaining detailed records on the transactions executed and decisions made:
- Following up on customers’ investment portfolios to ensure that every transaction is being held pursuant to industry’s regulations.
- Establishing business relationships with clients:
- Maintaining a record of potential customers and transactions.
- Searching for opportunities to access and build new brokerage markets and products:
- Contributing to ongoing professional business development activities:
- Cooperating with the company’s endeavor of achieving gross revenue and net operating income objectives; and
- working in conjunction with colleagues to gather market information, statistics, and trends.
- Contacting clients and setting up meetings.
- Reviewing customers’ financial status, as well as their current and future aims.
- Designing financial strategies.
- Buying and selling financial products on behalf of their clients.
- Selling securities by making bids and offers.
- Researching the marketplace and monitoring its conditions.
- Keeping detailed computerized records.
The average Financial Advisor salary is $58,506 per year or $30 per hour. This is around 1.8 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $41,000 while most experienced workers make up to $82,000. These results are based on 45 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, in order to effectively advise and interact with clients;
- displaying strong customer service skills combined with great listening skills in order to fully understand and meet the clients’ requirements;
- acting with transparency, keeping customers informed about decisions made and transactions executed;
- establishing and maintaining supportive work relationships; and
- being able to deal with team members and customers in potentially adversarial situations using a calm, tactful, discreet, and effective approach.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Prioritizing and planning work activities in order to manage time efficiently while handling a high volume of work; and
- multitasking; being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
- Effectively analyzing numerical data, drawing logical inferences, and providing reasonable recommendations;
- identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner; and
- being able to exercise strategical thinking and mature judgment.
- Strong attention to detail:
- Entering and reviewing data efficiently and accurately; and
- staying focused during highly repetitive tasks.
- Administrative skills:
- Demonstrated computer proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, including the ability to develop and use formulas; and
- experience in creating graphics, flow charts, and projections in order to generate statistics.
- Goal-oriented, reliable, flexible, and confident:
- Being self-motivated, highly driven, and having an entrepreneurial personality; and
- being able to work independently.
Due to the nature of this position’s responsibilities, it is fundamental for Financial Advisors to have strong quantitative and problem solving skills, as well as a background in Sales, Public Funds, Investments, and Finances. These practitioners play a determinant role in customers’ endeavors of fulfilling their financial goals and therefore should be capable of determining risk tolerance to identify when an action might represent a risk.
Most Financial Advisors are usually required to have completed a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Global Business, Finance, Business Administration, or Economy, or to have obtained any other equivalent certification.
Additional credentials are usually required and will vary according to the Financial Advisor’s location and specialization. In Canada, these credentials include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Canadian Investment Funds Course (CIFC) Certification;
- Partners, Directors and Senior Officers (PDO) Certification;
- Mutual Fund Dealers Compliance (MFDC) Certification;
- Chief Compliance Officers (CCO) Certification;
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Membership;
- Sales Representative Proficiency (SRP) Certification;
- Branch Managers Course (BMC) Certification;
- Exempt Market Proficiency (EMP) Certification;
- Life Licence Qualification Program (LLQP) Licence;
- Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) Designation;
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification; and
- Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) Designation.