• A financial adviser is a professional in the financial services industry who offers investment advice and services to individual or corporate clients--on a fee or commission basis. The objective is to help the client reach his investment or savings goals by using the financial planner's expert knowledge and services.


    The road to becoming a financial adviser is a rigorous one. A bachelor's degree and knowledge of economics, statistics, finance and accounting are fundamental. This career requires not only a post-secondary degree, but also the passage of license exams.

    Licensing And Certifications

    The Series 7 license entitles a financial adviser to buy and sell different types of securities; passing this exam is necessary--not only to register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority--but also to take additional exams for credentials common amongst financial advisers, such as the Series 63 and 66 licenses. To take this exam, a $250 enrollment fee and employer sponsorship are necessary. The Series 7 license exam is a six-hour test with 260 multiple choice questions. The exam focuses on the services and information an adviser should provide to clients, such as assessing a customer's current holdings and future financial goals, making appropriate investment recommendations, and monitoring and maintaining account records. To be awarded the license, a financial adviser must attain a score of at least 70 percent. Even after earning the necessary licensure, further credentials are recommended by many employers to enhance a financial advisor's reputation. To this end, a financial advisor might pursue the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. To be eligible for the CFA, applicants need four years of relevant work experience just to sit for the exams; there are three highly quantitative exams an aspiring CFA must pass to gain this credential. The CFP exam, in turn, requires three years of relevant work experience and knowledge of the retirement and estate planning processes. Though they are extremely rigorous, these credentials prepare financial advisers to work with high net worth individuals, or to become portfolio managers or fund managers.


    Bureau of Labor Statistics: Financial Analysts and Personal Financial Advisors

    Investopedia: Exam Prep--Series 7 Exam

    Forbes: 10 Things You Need To Become a Financial Advisor

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