Personal Financial Advisors Sought in Chicago

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Openings for financial advisors abound in Chicago, especially entry-level jobs at wire houses and brokerage firms.

The demand in Chicago is part of a wider trend. "Financial advisors are among the top 10 fastest growing professions," notes Erin Polscynsky, division director in the Chicago office of Robert Half International. "There is a big increase in individual and high net worth planning."

Spurring the growth is the march of baby boomers toward retirement. A larger workforce of advisors will be needed to assist them with financial planning and management.

"Financial advisor" or "wealth advisor" are used to describe a wide array of financial jobs. Traditional brokers who now offer investment advice, insurance professionals who discuss retirement or estate planning, and bankers who assist clients with their full balance sheet needs may all use these terms to describe what may be very different types of advice, products or services. In 2006, approximately 30 percent of personal financial advisors were independent, self-employed individuals who operated small investment advisor firms, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chicago Firms Recruiting

In and around Chicago, positions are open at numerous firms, especially in global wire houses and insurance companies.

Citigroup's Smith Barney wealth management business, which has over 15,000 advisors in approximately 800 global offices, is advertising openings across the Chicago metro and suburban area for advisors who can develop a client base, analyze investment opportunities and recommend appropriate strategies from their platform. The ability to acquire a Series 7 and 66 is listed as a minimum qualification.

Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch has multiple listings in the area for "Registered Client Associates," which provide sales support to financial advisors. These jobs require Series 7 and 63/65 or 66 registrations, undergraduate degrees or equivalent experience. MassMutual Financial, a global diversified financial services organization, has openings in the area for professionals who would prospect and develop client relationships and recommend appropriate financial solutions. No licenses are initially required. AXA and Morgan Stanley are also seeking advisors.

Eat What You Kill

In most wire house or insurance FA positions, compensation may include a modest base or draw coupled with opportunities for commissions on sales or a payout on fee-based business. Those who perform well, bringing in new business and generating sales, can do well financially, but many beginners don't succeed. According to the BLS, "most independent advisories fail within the first year of business... Because the occupation requires sales, people who have strong selling skills will ultimately be most successful."

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