How to Become a Financial Advisor
Licensing Needed to Become a Financial Advisor
As financial advisory is a regulated industry, you need to be licensed in order to become a financial advisor. The licensing requirements for Canada and the United States include:
Canada: Financial Advisor Licensing Requirements
In Canada, the Canadian Securities Course is required to sell securities and mutual funds, or the Canadian Investment Funds Course to sell mutual funds.
The Canadian Securities Institute (CSI) also offers the Financial Management Advisor (FMA) designation to applicants who have completed the Canadian Securities Course, Professional Financial Planning Course and Wealth Management Techniques Course.
CSI also offers the Personal Financial Planner (PFP) designation to financial advisement professionals who have completed a recognized educational route offered by the institute.
United States: Financial Advisor Licensing Requirements
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the regulatory authority in the United States. All financial brokers must be licensed and registered by FINRA, pass their qualification exams and satisfy continuing education requirements in order to maintain their license.
Those who want to become financial advisors who directly buy or sell stocks, bonds, insurance policies, or specific investment advice need a combination of licenses from FINRA, which may vary based on the products they sell.
Financial advisors who choose to sell insurance products need licenses issued by state licensing boards. State licensing board information and requirements for registered investment advisors are available from the North American Securities Administrators Association.
Skills Needed to Become a Financial Advisor
In order to become effective in a career as a financial advisor, you need to posses a certain set of skills. These skills will allow you to perform your job duties with competence; you will need them in order to develop and maintain a profitable client base.
to develop rapport with customers
• Able to apply listening skills in order to determine client needs
• Able to understand complex financial documents such as wills, insurance policies and financial statements
• Knowledge of financial products (knowledge may be acquired during on-the-job training)
• Entrepreneurial and marketing skills
• Able to balance the needs of clients with the range of financial products being offered
• Excellent presentation skills
Characteristics Needed to Become a Financial Advisor
In order to enjoy performing the duties of a financial advisor, you need to have certain traits. Taking enjoyment from your duties as a financial advisor is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.
• Enjoy helping people financially prepare for their futures
• Respect for client confidentiality
• Enjoy getting to know the needs and goals of clients
• Willing to keep up to date with advancements in the industry, including financial products and regulations
• Able to endure the possibility of low earnings, especially while beginning a career as a financial advisor
• An interest in having control over your own income level
• Enjoy meeting new people
• A keen interest in building a business
• Willing to ‘cold call’ and ‘door knock’ to develop your client base
• An interest in life insurance, health insurance, wealth accumulation, and savings products
Career Advancement for Financial Advisors
Financial advisors that are experienced, highly knowledgeable, skilled, and demonstrate initiative put themselves in position for career advancement opportunities. Financial advisors who demonstrate these attributes have the opportunity to grow their business by expanding their client base, or move into positions of greater responsibility, such as:
• Sales manager
• Associate manager
• Senior Associate manager
• Regional manager
• Financial Centre manager
• Regional Vice President