Financial Advisor Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Financial Advisor, or Financial Consultant, is responsible for providing businesses and individuals with sound advice regarding their financial planning and investments. Their duties include meeting with clients to establish their needs and obtain financial statements, using financial statements and legislation to develop financial plans to maximize profitability or reduce debts and researching investment opportunities for clients.

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Financial Advisor duties and responsibilities

A Financial Advisor is responsible for educating clients on the products and services available to help them best utilize their available funds and achieve important monetary goals. This professional’s job duties include:

  • Meeting individually with clients to determine their financial objectives, risk tolerance, income, expenses and assets
  • Offering strategic advice on products and services, such as investments, insurance coverage and debt management tools
  • Securing stocks and bonds and establishing progressive savings accounts
  • Moving money from accounts per industry and federal regulations
  • Performing market research to stay current with financial trends
  • Preparing financial documents, such as income projections and investment reports
  • Maintaining compliance with all rules and regulations in the financial industry
  • Identifying and pursuing potential clients to maintain a strong client base
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What does a Financial Advisor do?

Financial Advisors typically work for banks, investment firms or financial services, but they may also be self-employed. They work closely with clients and finance professionals to strategize ways to enhance profitability or minimize debt expenses. Their job is to meet with clients to help them develop wealth management strategies and other long-term financial practices to maximize their wealth into the future. They may also be responsible for assisting clients in creating a long-term budgeting plan based on their income, personal expense needs and outstanding debts.

Financial Advisor skills and qualifications

A Financial Advisor uses many soft skills and a variety of industry expertise to help clients reach their financial goal and improve their employer’s business, including:

  • In-depth understanding of employer, industry and federal regulations
  • Knowledge of financial options, including investments, loans, savings accounts and stock options
  • Expertise in financial planning and investment strategies
  • Familiarity with the securities, mutual fund and insurance industries
  • Advanced ability to analyze and explain market data
  • Proficiency with word processing, spreadsheet, database and financial planning software
  • Analytical thinking skills and the ability to assess clients’ needs
  • Excellent communication abilities, including writing, speaking and active listening
  • Effective sales, presentation and customer service skills
  • Good organization and time management skills

Financial Advisor salary expectations

A Financial Advisor makes an average of $68,556 per year. Salary may depend on level of education, experience and geographical location.

Financial Advisor education and training requirements

Financial Advisors typically need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as finance, accounting, economics or business. A master’s degree in finance or business administration can demonstrate advanced industry knowledge. Though not required, the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards can demonstrate a candidate’s expertise in the processes and best practices of the role.

Financial Advisors who buy or sell stocks, bonds and insurance products must be licensed for the products they work with. Advisors in small firms must register with state regulators, while those working for large firms must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Financial Advisor experience requirements

Many entry-level candidates should receive on-the-job training of a year or more to work under the supervision of senior staff members learning how to develop a client base and build strong financial portfolios. Other candidates with proven experience in the financial industry, such as sales, business management or in another finance position, may not require as extensive a training program. Proven experience as a Financial Controller, Specialist or Planner demonstrates a candidate’s ability to successfully evaluate clients’ situations and develop effective strategic financial plans. 

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Frequently asked questions about Financial Advisors


What is the difference between a Financial Advisor and an Investment Advisor?

The difference between a Financial Advisor and an Investment Advisor lies in their areas of expertise and the types of services they offer to their clients. For example, Financial Advisors work with clients to develop financial plans that help them reduce debt, set budgets or maximize their profits. They may also assist their clients in smart investing practices. 

In contrast, Investment Advisors specialize in helping their clients develop investment portfolios, identify market trends and determine how much they should invest and where to invest. Investment Advisors also conduct assessments on their client’s current investments to help them decide whether to sell or increase their investments.


What are the daily duties of a Financial Advisor?

On a typical day, a Financial Advisor starts by checking their email and voicemail to respond to service queries and time-sensitive messages from existing clients. Financial Advisors working at finance firms receive new client assignments from management and contact them to introduce themselves and establish a meeting time. Throughout the day, Financial Advisors travel to their client’s businesses or homes to talk with them about their needs and concerns. 

Once back at their office, Financial Advisors develop financial plans for their clients based on their current goals and financial stability. They also use time at their office to read finance articles and review laws and regulations from government agencies like the United States Department of Treasury.  


What qualities make a good Financial Advisor?

A good Financial Advisor uses their extensive professional background in accounting or financial planning to help others achieve their financial goals. They need to have a personable nature that allows their clients to feel comfortable addressing their concerns. Further, a good Financial Advisor also needs to have a strong ethical code. This is important as they have access to their client’s financial records and account information. 

A good Financial Advisor also maintains up-to-date knowledge of current financial planning practices and laws or regulations relating to finances. Their eagerness to complete industry research ensures that their clients receive expert professional help.


Who does a Financial Advisor report to?

A Financial Advisor typically reports to their Firm Manager or Bank Manager if they work for a financial establishment. However, self-employed Financial Advisors may report directly to their clients.

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    Last updated: Apr 28, 2021