While Rumors of Layoffs on Wall Street Loom, Prospects for Jobs as Financial Advisors Remains Strong

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Editors Note (This is the 1st of a Series)

The media has been having a field day lately with numerous articles about potential summer layoffs on Wall Street and throughout the global financial markets. But one position in this industry, the financial advisor, appears to be under-represented and job growth has been projected to be at least 30% for the ten year period ending in 2018. In fact, personal financial advisor represents one of the most rapidly expanding and least understood in financial services.

The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth in the area of personal financial advisors by 30% over the period from 2008 to 2018. This figure is represents much faster growth percentages than the average for all occupations. And that's a conservative estimate. CNN Money reports "demand for personal financial advisors is projected to grow... 41% between 2006 and 2016."

In this series of articles we'll discuss the job prospects of personal financial advisors in today's marketplace. We'll review the job growth expectations, factors contributing to job growth, comparisons to other industries as well as educational requirement trends for the industry.

What Financial Advisors Do

Generally, a personal financial advisor/planner operates within a bank, brokerage, or insurance firm or on his or her own or in a small firm, many with a client base whose assets do not exceed $1 million. In the larger banks, they may be called "Wealth Management Advisors," or "Wealth Advisors." Moreover, personal financial advisors assess the financial needs of individuals and assist them with investments, tax laws, and insurance decisions. Advisors help their clients identify and plan for short-term and long-term goals. They help clients plan for retirement, education expenses, and general investment choices. Many also provide tax advice or sell insurance. Although most planners offer advice on a wide range of topics, some specialize in areas such as retirement and estate planning or risk management.

Personal financial advisors usually work with many clients and often must find their own customers. Many spend a great deal of their time marketing their services and meeting potential clients by giving seminars or through business and social networking. Finding clients and building a customer base is one of the most important aspects of becoming a successful financial advisor.

One of the top 10 promising jobs

Some career oriented companies have published a list of 10 promising jobs for the class of 2009. The top 10 list included personal financial advisors. The list included data provided by the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2009 survey

However, these figures may actually be an under-representation of the real growth of the role of the personal financial advisor. Many accountants and attorneys are expanding their practice to include more financial management services. Further, females currently comprise roughly a quarter of all regulated Financial Planners; and it's encouraging that their "their representation in the <a href=https://post.nyssa.org/nyssa-news/2011/02/personal-finance-planning-making-the-transition.html target=_blankindustry appears to be growing."

Lastly, independent financial advisor positions or independent firms continue to grow says Charles Schwab. The vast growth of the independent advisors outside of the brokerage firms, banks and insurance firms has been supported by the growth of the technology that allows individuals and small firms to manage client investments.

(We will continue this series with a discussion of factors causing job growth in the industry)