The future of financial advisors is promising since the profession is ranked as one of the best jobs in the finance industry.
Not only that, but it’s also among the best-paying jobs in the industry.
And so to find out a Financial Advisor career outlook, we’ll look into:
Let’s get started right away.
Financial Advisor Career Path
Starting a career as a financial advisor can be challenging, especially when one is not sure which steps to take.
Therefore, here is an outline of what it takes to start and grow a career in the advisory industry.
There are no specific undergraduate courses for financial advisors.
However, many advisors have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, law, economics, statistics, maths, business administration, and finance.
Additionally, elective courses such as financial planning, banking, investment, risk management, tax law, and financial management are equally helpful.
With a bachelor’s degree, an aspiring advisor can apply for an internship in a financial advisory firm.
As an intern, an advisor works under a supervisor where they learn the daily duties of an advisor including, prospecting for clients, developing a book of business, learning about financial products, and developing investment portfolios.
If the internship supervisor is impressed with the intern’s work, they will likely get a job upon completing their internship.
New advisors get on-the-job training, which goes on for up to a year after employment.
From there, they can dive deep into the waters of financial planning services.
Suppose an advisor doesn’t get a job after the internship.
Then searching for a new job is inevitable.
Ways to Improve Job Prospect
The financial advisory industry has many opportunities.
Unfortunately, there’s high competition.
For that reason, advisors increase their job prospects through licenses and certifications.
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requires advisors selling financial products or offering investment advice to have proper licensing.
The licenses include:
- Series 7 license
- Series 63 license
- Series 6 license
- Series 65 license
Given the wide range of licenses, the combination an advisor settles for depends on the products they sell.
Investment advisors who work with large wealth management firms must register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
If an advisor is working with a small firm, then they should register with the state regulators.
Likewise, advisors selling insurance must register with the state boards.
Beyond the licenses, a financial advisor can gain more authority in the industry if they take a certification program.
The most common certification in the industry is a certified financial planner (CFP).
With this designation, an investment advisor increases their trust with potential clients.
In addition, it opens up an advisor’s career path to better opportunities in the industry, which translates to higher income.
Besides certification, an advisor can go for a master’s degree in business administration or a finance-related course.
Suppose someone is changing their career path or they don’t have a degree.
The best way to get started in the industry is to work closely with a seasoned financial advisor.
With experience, one can enroll for the license exams and be on their way to a fulfilling financial advisor profession.
Another area of focus would be to build a network with other financial professionals.
They’ll be a point of contact when looking for a job.
With time, the advisor can grow their career through certifications and the many training programs in the industry.
Financial Advisor Job Specializations
Advisors serve companies and individuals in various capacities.
The area of specialization an advisor chooses depends on their interest and qualifications.
- Mutual fund representatives are employed by mutual fund dealers to help investors make sound investment decisions.
- Insurance agents are advisors who sell and guide clients on the best insurance policies depending on the client’s needs.
- Accountants record, interpret, and manage financial transactions. They also prepare tax returns, analyze financial reports, and audit accounts.
- Financial planners help individuals develop investment strategies to reach their short-term and long-term financial goals.
- Investment advisors are required to register with SEC to advise and guide clients on securities and investments.
- Brokers must pass FINRA exams and register with the same body to sell bonds, stocks, and mutual funds.
- Estate planners offer estate planning services that include making a will, naming beneficiaries, and setting up trusts.
- Financial controllers are employed by businesses to keep tabs on the company’s accounts and conduct internal audits.
- Certified financial planners are at the helm of financial advisory firms. They examine a client’s financial situation before developing a financial plan to help the client reach their financial goals.
- Personal financial advisors help clients make informed investments decisions.
Financial Advisor Career Ladder
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the financial advice industry is one of the finance professions that will experience a high growth rate in the next decade.
The growth in the industry is tied to the high percentage of baby boomers who are expected to retire within this period.
Since they make a huge percentage of advisors, entry-level advisors can prepare to take up the slots.
With that said, here are the types of job openings that advisors can jump into depending on their level of experience
Entry-level career options
Advisors graduating from college may apply for positions such as junior financial advisor, which have an average salary of $48,627 per year.
They could also find a job as an equity research assistant.
The average annual salary for this position is $65,751.
Another option is to start their career journey as a financial representative with an average annual income of $42,425.
New advisors can also seek analyst job openings.
Advanced career options
As the advisor advances in their career, there are several career options they can consider.
Advisors with three years of work experience can take certified financial planner certification and seek opportunities in this line.
CFPs earn an average salary of $66,662 per annum.
An advisor could also consider offering their services to private firms.
Private firms pay advisors an annual salary of $59,255 on average.
An advisor can also pursue a career as a financial planning and analysis manager whose annual average salary is $100,263.
Other advanced career options include lead advisors, financial managers, associate advisors, and service advisors.
Demand for Financial Advisors
The employment growth rate of the financial advice industry has been 2.1% per year since 2016.
Statistics show that the demand for financial advisors is still high, and it’s expected to be on the rise in the coming years.
The increase in demand in the industry is linked to several factors.
Top on the list is the increased accessibility to investment opportunities.
Secondly, millennials are defiling the odds and choosing to invest rather than save, unlike the generations before them.
This age group is more comfortable with financial advisors managing their investment portfolios.
Next, baby boomers who make a considerable percentage of the workforce are nearing retirement.
Moreover, the long life expectancy, which translates to a longer retirements period, makes baby boomers more likely to seek financial advice on retirement planning.
More than that, the old-age practice where the company managed pension plans is becoming outdated.
In its place, employees are personally saving for their retirements.
That’s where personal financial advisors’ services come in.
Their expertise comes in handy in guiding employees on planning for retirement and investment options.
Further, the trends in the financial market keep changing.
Thus, it takes the hand of an expert to manage complex investment portfolios.
In addition, matters of estate planning and tax law definitely require the input of a financial analyst.
Compounding on all these factors is the deregulation of the financial advisory industry in the past years.
More and more brokerage firms, banks, insurance companies, and other financial service-related firms are taking advantage and expanding their services countrywide.
This can only mean one thing, more job opportunities for financial advisors.
In a nutshell, the demand for financial advisors is increasing.
Future Job Outlook for Financial Advisor
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are 271,900 financial advisors.
The bureau predicts that the number of advisors will increase by 5% by 2030.
This translates to roughly 21,500 job openings per year.
The bureau links these opportunities to the advisors who may change professions and those exiting the industry through retirement.
Top Trends in the Financial Advisory Industry
The financial industry is growing, and with it comes new trends.
In the past years, advisory firms have adopted different strategies to ensure a seamless flow of processes, better customer relationships, and more inclusivity.
These new trends are reshaping the industry to become better at financial service delivery.
Adoption of New Technology
The financial industry is ever-changing.
Consumer demands and expectations are constantly evolving, so are the financial services tailored to meet these needs.
Thus, technological advancement that’s taking shape in the industry is timely.
The apps make access to financial planning and wealth management services faster, convenient, secured, and accessible.
Investors can access their investment portfolio in real-time and make financial decisions based on the current market conditions.
The apps allow investors to track their investments, access reports on investment performance, and engage with a personal financial advisor whenever need be.
More importantly, tools like Customer Interaction Management (CIM) have remarkably improved customer service.
Smart assistants analyze client’s questions, respond to their inquiries and even sell specific financial products depending on the client’s data.
With all the automation functions, personal financial advisors can now focus on what really matters, prospecting for new clients to increase their client base.
Beyond helping consumers, technology is transforming how personal financial advisors handle potential clients.
Most of these tools are data-driven, meaning they provide investment firms with comprehensive analytics on the clients’ behavior.
Often, the analysis is based on the clients’ previous engagement, risk appetite, investment patterns, and demographics.
Advisors use the data to understand clients’ behavior and needs.
Using the predictive feature of these tools, advisors tailor financial plans that give the client exactly what they are looking for.
Not only that, technology helps planning firms maximize return on investment.
Using evidence-based customer data, advisors can up-sell or cross-sell investment products depending on the client’s changing demands.
Technological advancement is truly changing the game in the financial industry.
Advisors’ work experience is taking a whole new shape.
Therefore, for investment firms to make the most of this technology, they must analyze what will work for their businesses before investing.
This will reduce the risk of adopting technology that’s not in line with the business requirement.
Growth in Work Force Diversity
Financial planning firms are highly traditional.
But in the past few years, the industry has been opening up to wide demography, including women and millennials.
This decade has witnessed women starting their own businesses.
These female entrepreneurs are interested in growing their wealth.
They are seeking financial advisors for wealth management services and financial advice.
Apart from women, millennials are equally creating wealth.
Millennials, unlike their predecessors, are cautious when investing their money.
And thus, advisory firms are shifting their financial services to serve this group better.
Advisory firms are moving towards a customer-centric model where millennial investors are well informed about their investment portfolios.
Work from Home
The independence that comes with financial planning services went to another level because of the pandemic.
Financial advisors, just like other professionals, resorted to working from home.
Now, working from home is the new normal.
During this period, personal financial advisors reported high productivity and were more in control over their schedules.
Advisors equally reported being more independent.
It turns out the change wasn’t that bad at all.
The future of financial advisors seems to incline towards working from home even after the movement restrictions have been lifted.
Interestingly, some firms’ new job opportunities are entirely remote.
And these are not only Robo advisors.
Increase in Independent Advisors
Independent advisors are in high demand.
The technological advancement, the increasing number of millennial investors, and the work from home trend have opened financial planning careers to independent advisors.
Since there’s demand for a wide range of services, investors are opting for pay for individual services they need rather than an entire package.
Independent financial planning specialists offer financial advice to investors in estate planning, tax planning, retirement planning, and financial products.
They also offer holistic financial planning services.
It all depends on the needs of an investor.
Demand for independent advisors is also associated with their hands-on approach when working with clients, which is not always the case with big financial firms.
Meticulous Financial Planning
Life expectancy has been on the rise for the past years.
Since people are generally expected to live up to 78 years, there’s an increasing demand for specialized financial planning services.
This planning goes beyond conventional investment strategies.
Longevity means that individuals must bridge the income gap between now and the retirement period.
Financial plans must focus on balancing client’s financial life such that when they retire, their financial needs are still met.
As people grow older and transition from working to retirement, their needs evolve.
Their financial needs and goals equally change.
Retirement planning, in this case, would require an individual to take into consideration several factors.
Expenses such as bills or caregiver fees can be a hurdle if not put into consideration.
Therefore, with the increased life expectancy, more and more people are seeking the help of advisors to help develop a robust retirement plan.