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Financial Consultant Career

Career Description

Financial Consultants assess the economic performance of companies and industries for firms and institutions with money to invest. Financial Consultants work for investment banks, insurance companies,  mutual and pension funds, securities firms, the business media, and other businesses, helping them make investment decisions or recommendations.

Common Work Tasks

  • Read company financial statements and analyze commodity prices, sales, costs, expenses, and tax rates
  • Assess current trends in business practices,  products, and competition
  • Devise investment strategies for a company’s portfolio
  • Help securities dealers to sell their products
  • Keep abreast of new regulations or policies that may affect the investments they are watching
  • Monitor the economy to determine its effect on earnings
  • Guide a company in selecting the right mix of products, industries, and regions for their investment portfolio
  • Evaluate the ability of companies or governments that issue bonds to repay their debts
  • Perform budget, cost, and credit analysis
  • Write reports and make presentations

Other Job Titles

Financial Consultants are also known by other titles,  including:

  • Accountant
  • Tax Examiner
  • Tax Collector
  • Revenue Agent

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
 
Most companies require financial consultants to have at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, business administration, accounting, statistics, or economics. Coursework in statistics, economics, and business is required, and knowledge of accounting policies and procedures, corporate budgeting, and financial analysis methods is recommended. A master’s degree in finance or business administration also is desirable. Also useful are advanced courses in options pricing or bond valuation and knowledge of risk management.

Certification and Licensure
     
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the main licensing organization for the securities industry. The majority of these licenses require sponsorship by an employer, so companies do not expect individuals to have these licenses before starting a job. Experienced workers who change jobs will need to have their licenses renewed with the new company.

Experience
         
Strong math, analytical, and problem-solving skills are essential qualifications for financial consultants. Good communication skills,  self-confidence, maturity, and the ability to work independently are important as well. Financial consultants must be detail-oriented, motivated to seek out obscure information, and familiar with the workings of the economy, tax laws,  and money markets. Financial consultants should also be very comfortable with computers, as they are frequently used in the industry. They must also be comfortable working with spreadsheets and statistical packages.

Salary

The median annual salary of financial consultants is $70,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $137,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $42,000. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of financial consultants are:

  • Management of Companies and Enterprises - $76,340
  • Securities and Commodity Contracts Intermediation and Brokerage - $99,100
  • Depository Credit Intermediation - $74,770
  • Insurance Carriers - $70,830
  • Other Financial Investment Activities - $110,230

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  34%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 75,000
  • Employment 2006 : 221,000
  • Employment 2016:   295,000
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