Both financial analysts and advisers are responsible for providing financial information to clients so that they can make appropriate business and investment decisions. The job responsibilities of both professionals will vary due to their investor relationships.
Securities analysts will usually work for banks and insurance companies, making investment decisions and determining company values in order to estimate future earnings for shareholders. Some analysts are responsible for selling shares for a company, often called institutional investors, and others are responsible for selling securities for their clients.
Most financial analysts will specialize in a particular type of security instrument, such as commodities or municipal bonds. They will have to keep abreast of any latest changes in company ratings or global situations that will affect companies share price and investment holdings.
Financial advisers are responsible for helping individuals invest their money wisely, often planning for both short and long-term goals. Some planners may help the clients with retirement, while others will provide tax advice or information on estate management.
Wealth managers are responsible for helping clients who have a lot of money to invest, managing the portfolios of very rich individuals such as billionaires.
The working conditions for financial advisor jobs can be fairly stressful, as they often involve long hours and travel. Most analysts will work overtime in order to meet the needs of their clients, although personal finance advisors usually have more regular hours.
Most analysts and advisers must have a bachelor’s degree in order to gain employment with a financial institution, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is responsible for licensing agents.
In 2006, these professionals occupied almost 400,000 jobs in America, with most financial analysts working on Wall Street in New York and planners working across the country, with a concentration in suburban and urban areas. Overall, the employment prospects for both jobs are strong, although competition is cutthroat in order to receive a decent career.
In 2006, the highest paid financial analysts earned more than $130,000, often receiving substantial bonuses, while the middle 50th percentile of advisers made between $44,000 and $114,000 annually.