Financial Advisor

Financial Advisor

Financial Advisors work with clients to understand their short- and long-term goals, level of risk tolerance and overall lifestyle to provide tailored advice and effective financial plans to meet their financial objectives. They may work independently or in financial institutions, either as generalists or experts in specific financial products.

ROLE-AT-A-GLANCE
Binoculars
Demand Outlook
*

As investment products become more complex and customers seek out holistic financial advice, employment opportunities for Financial Advisors are expected to increase.

Diploma
Education & Credentials
*

Undergraduate degree typically required.

Data chart
Quantitative Skills Required
*
Group of people
Interpersonal Skills & Relationship Management
*
Multiple devices Specialized Technology Skills
*
Desktop area Work Environment

Office or home office; highly independent, work hours often follow client needs

ROLE-AT-A-GLANCE
Binoculars
Demand Outlook
*

As investment products become more complex and customers seek out holistic financial advice, employment opportunities for Financial Advisors are expected to increase.

Diploma
Education & Credentials
*

Undergraduate degree typically required.

Data chart
Quantitative Skills Required
*
Group of people
Interpersonal Skills & Relationship Management
*
Multiple devices Specialized Technology Skills *
Desktop area Work Environment

Office or home office; highly independent, work hours often follow client needs


WHAT IT IS

Key Role Dimensions

Helping customers make the most of their financial assets: Help clients understand their investment and savings options and create appropriate financial strategies.

Negotiating terms of service agreements with clients: Negotiate with product suppliers to obtain the best possible rates and modify client portfolios as needed.

Developing and maintaining client relationships: May need to cold-call potential clients or build relationships with an existing client base, as well as engage in general marketing and networking.

May consult Financial Planners to prepare financial plans: This depends on an organization’s strategy for the Financial Advisor role and the experience of the Advisor.

Focus Areas

Financial Advisors can work for a variety of organizations, and the role may differ significantly accordingly:

  • Independent Advisors: Essentially own their own businesses and operate as agents in a collective of independent business operators.
  • Employees in a Financial Institution: Banks, credit unions, investment dealers, insurance companies, wealth management and pension organizations place a strong emphasis on face-to-face financial advisory capabilities.

WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED

Key Job Accountabilities

Financial Advisors generally:

Sell financial and investment products (e.g. savings/credit, insurance, securities, etc.):

  • Prospect new business (using cold calls, databases, referrals, seminars, etc.), build contacts and negotiate terms of service agreements.
  • Negotiate with product suppliers (e.g. mutual fund companies, stock brokers) to obtain the best possible rates.

Manage client relationships:

  • Regularly contact clients to discuss portfolio status, new financial products/services, market developments or legislative changes that may affect their savings and investments.

 Provide financial planning advice:

  • Educate clients on different product offerings to help them achieve their financial goals.
  • Maintain detailed files on client income, occupation, family status, etc., in addition to legally required meeting notes and documentation.

Knowledge, Skills & Experience

Must-haves:

  • Proven adaptability and mental flexibility
  • Excellent Analytical Thinking: Problem-solving and reasoning skills
  • Relationship Management Skills: Ability to network, establish relationships and understand client needs from conversations
  • Knowledge of financial services business functions and operations
  • Knowledge of regulatory and legislative policy and procedures for the financial sector
  • Proficiency in financial and accounting techniques to create financial projections
  • Knowledge of the variety of available financial products and services

 Nice-to-haves:

  • Completing a Canadian Securities Course (CSC), mutual fund and/or financial planning course/designation prior to taking on the role (Completing the CSC course within six months of hire is often compulsory)
  • Previous experience in a sales or relationship management role
  • Strong existing network for contacts

Education & Credentials

Entry-level positions typically require:

  • College diploma
    or
  • Undergraduate university degree

In the fields of:

  • Accounting
  • Business Management
  • Finance
  • Risk Management
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering

 More senior positions may require:

  • Graduate degree

In the fields of:

  • Business Administration (MBA)
  • Economics
  • Mathematics

Employers in different segments may require candidates to possess one or more of the following designations:

Programs Offered

Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association Ontario (CMBA)

Mortgage Professionals Canada

Trent University

University of Waterloo

York University


WHERE IT CAN TAKE YOU

Career Pathways

Independent Financial Advisors may not see their job title change over the course of their career. However, the nature of the work may increase in variety or complexity depending on:

  • Client Net Worth: As you build your book of business, you may work with clients with increasing personal net worth requiring more complex, specialized, or greater variety of financial products and services. 

Financial Advisors working as employees in financial organizations may find pathways open to them through:

  • Increased Seniority: You may progress through sales management pathways by taking on a Branch Manager, Field Supervisor or other senior management role.

  • Head Office Transfer: Financial Advisors can bring their front-line experience to areas such as marketing, strategy and operations, risk management, product management and portfolio management.

Future Trends & Impacts

There are several external factors and environmental trends that can influence the demand and qualifications for this role:

  • Competition & Complexity: Increasing competition and complexity of investment products is likely to increase client dependence on Financial Advisors.
  • Technology: The emergence of online Financial Advisors (‘robo-advisors’) may begin to alter how services are delivered across the board.
  • Generational Change: As generational changes occur in the workforce, Financial Advisors need to be responsive to the varying needs of their client segments, and maintain understanding of the latest products and services to meet their needs.


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