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Financial Careers: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Overview of the Financial Services Industry
Financial careers and the financial services industry are exciting and rewarding options for high energy people. Look here for an overview of what the financial field encompasses and how it might be the right path for you.
All About Controller Careers
A controller exerts control over use of company funds and has a leading role in budgeting, reporting and the analysis of results. The job can have much broader, strategic responsibilities.
What Financial Advisor Careers Are All About
Financial advisors and financial consultants have fast-paced jobs with high pay potential. Learn about these jobs and how you can enter the field.
Should You Consider Starting a Career in Risk...
The importance of the risk management function is growing in tandem with the complexity of the financial system. Get the basics here on risk manager careers.
Should You Live to Work, or Work to Live?
Is your job the center of your life? Is career success the key driver of happiness for you? Or, is your job merely a way to earn a living? The answer has crucial implications for your career choices.
What Is a CPA?
A CPA license, while required for only a select few career paths in finance, can enhance your credibility as a professional with quantitative skills.
What Are the Big Four in Public Accounting?
The Big Four Public Accounting Firms are the leaders in accounting and auditing services, as well as major players in consulting and tax preparation.
What Do All Those Job Titles Really Mean? Find...
How job titles in financial services relate to pay, advancement and career opportunity.
Jobs in Banking
Are you interested in a banking job? Banking is a core function within the financial services industry and banks are among the leading employers within the financial field. Here is a list of the principal job categories and employers within it.
Dangers of Doing A Good Job
If you are in a position that requires you to stand in the way of politically powerful people, recognize that there are dangers of doing a good job.
So, You Want to Be a Bank Teller? Read This First
What do bank tellers do, how do you become one, and what does the job pay? What is the employment outlook for tellers? Learn this and more right here.
Why You Should Choose a Career in Financial...
Leading reasons why financial services careers are an attractive option for ambitious people who look to get ahead quickly and enjoy a high earning potential.
Mutual Funds Accounting
Mutual funds accounting involves portfolio valuation, net asset value (NAV) calculation and client record keeping. It is a complex process that is vital to the operation of mutual fund companies.
Everything You Need to Know About Careers in...
Considering a career in retail or commercial banking? Here is a survey of the key concepts and trends that you should know.
What is NASDAQ
NASDAQ is the second-largest stock exchange in the world, by annual share value traded, behind the New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE.
The Pros and Cons of Jobs at Public Accounting...
Public accounting firms are vital cogs in the financial system as well as training grounds for top business talent in many industries.
Financial Assets
Financial assets, also known as investable assets, are a normal measure of wealth for both individuals and households.
Career Paths in Insurance
Insurance offers a variety of career opportunities. Here is a survey of the principal functions and jobs.
What is a Financial Representative?
A financial representative is a type of financial professional, usually employed by life insurance companies, whose duties span those of insurance sales agents, financial advisers and/or financial planners.
What You Should Know About Loan Officer Jobs
A loan officer works for a bank, credit union or other financial institution that extends loans to individuals or business. A loan officer assists prospective borrowers in applying for loans and assessing their creditworthiness.
What Does a Financial Planner Do?
Financial planners have rewarding careers helping clients budget, save and set financial goals. Learn what it takes to enter and succeed in the field.
Top 10 Investment Banking Firms in 2013
Here are the 2013 North American Investment Banking Prestige rankings from Vault.com, based on a survey of industry professionals.
Top 22 Master's Programs for Financial...
Financial engineering, a.k.a. mathematical finance, financial mathematics, quantitative or computational finance, applies advanced math to finance.
What is an Actuary?
Actuarial science is statistical analysis applied to assessing risks. Actuaries are highly paid and particularly vital to the insurance industry, though many other types of firms employ them. Learn about what the job entails, and how to enter the field.
The Heart of Wall Street, the NYSE
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is traditionally the trading venue of choice for the largest U.S. corporations, as well as for growing numbers of leading foreign companies.
How to Become an Insurance Claims Adjuster
Insurance claims adjusters play the vital role of studying requests for payouts under insurance policies, then determining whether they should be honored or denied.
How to Become a Financial Advisor
Financial advisor is an attractive career option, but entering the field is challenging in many respects. Learn how to become a financial advisor.
Insurance Sales Agent Careers
Insurance sales agents (insurance agents) sell one or more lines of insurance products, may engage in financial planning and selling various other investment products, much like a financial advisor.
What Is Management Reporting?
Learn here what management reporting systems do and how they are developed and maintained. Tis is must reading for anyone in business and finance.
What is a Broker Sales Assistant?
To manage a large book of business, a skilled broker sales assistant (or financial advisor sales assistant) is essential. Here are the basics about this important job.
Why Job Titles Really Do Matter
Job titles denote respect and authority. An unduly low title can undermine both. Here we discuss why this is true and what you should do about it.
What Does a Claims Examiner Do?
Insurance claims examiners perform a role similar to insurance claims adjusters, scrutinizing claims for insurance payouts and assessing what, if anything, the client should receive.
First Vice President
As the Vice President title became too common, financial services firms began creating variants like First Vice President to stratify this management layer further.
How Much Do Financial Jobs Pay?
Drawing from data collected by the federal government, here are some comparisons of pay by industry (including government) for representative job categories within the financial field.
Risk Measurement
Given that risk management is a crucial function, growing in importance, in the financial services industry, familiarity with some of the basic measurements is vital. Here is an overview.
Career Prospects for Accountants and Auditors
Accountants and auditors are responsible for financial reporting, financial record keeping and the filing of tax returns. Here is a survey of the main branches of the field, compensation data and employment outlook.
What Does it Take to Become an Insurance...
Insurance underwriters perform the essential analytic work of evaluating applications for insurance, determining whether policies should be issued (written) and setting premiums and other terms.
All About Careers in Corporate Treasury
Corporate treasury is a fast-paced, highly-paid field related to investment banking and money management. Learn the basics about starting a career.
Financial Advisor Pay
Financial advisor pay plans have evolved significantly in recent years. Understanding the trends is equally important to financial services professionals and financial services clients.
The Role of FINRA in the Securities Industry
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, has succeeded the NASD in testing and certifying various securities industry professionals.
Information Technology in Financial Services
Financial services information technology offers significant career opportunities since financial services companies are among the largest spenders on information technology and employers of IT personnel.
What is a Retail Client in Finance?
In financial services terminology, exactly what is a retail client or a small business client? What is the significance?
The Best Places for Financial Advisors to Work
The Financial Advisor Satisfaction Survey from J.D. Power offers insights into how financial advisors view their firms and where they prefer to work.
What is Big Four Consulting?
Big Four consulting practices rival the audit and tax business in terms of size and prestige at these leading public accounting firms.
What Job Descriptions Mean
Formal job descriptions often do not capture the full spectrum of responsibilities that the job holder is expected to fulfill. This is especially true with financial job descriptions.
Issues in Financial Management
A survey of key topics of interest to controllers, treasurers, CFOs and other financial managers.
Careers in Investment Banking
An introduction to the types of work and industry trends in investment banking. The field ranges from securities issuance to mergers and acquisitions to business advisory services.
What is the Staff Utilization Rate in Consulting?
Utilization rate is a measure of productivity used by many public accounting and management consulting firms for evaluating and compensating staff.
Assistant Vice President
Assistant Vice President is an even more prevalent title in many financial services firms than Vice President.
What is a Promotion in Place?
When you receive a better job title while retaining the same position, this represents a promotion in place. This is a common scenario in may firms.
Best Accounting Firms to Work For
A leading employment related resource has produced its 2014 rankings of the best accounting firms to work for. See this summary of the results, including the best firms along various specific dimensions. To the surprise of some, the Big Four do not fare entirely well.
Operations Consulting
Operations consulting involves working with the client company to improve business processes. These case studies drawn from actual engagements with major banks illustrate the type of work and analysis involved.
Institutional Client
In the context of financial services, what is an institutional client, and what is its significance? This is an important piece of financial jargon to understand.
Career Opportunities in Compliance
Compliance departments have a central role in financial services, and careers as compliance officers are attractive opportunities for people with legal, accounting and/or auditing backgrounds.
What is a Financial Analyst?
The term financial analyst covers a broad range of positions in both financial management and financial services. Learn about opportunities and pay.
Risk Management Certifications
As risk management grows in importance, some employers seek new hires with certain formal certifications, and may prompt existing employees to earn these credentials as well.
What is the Series 63 Exam?
The Series 63 exam demonstrates knowledge about state securities laws and regulations. Most states require financial advisors and investment advisors to hold this qualification.
Geographic Pay Differentials
Companies with far-flung operations often have salary scales that vary by location, to reflect regional variations in the cost of living and in general wage rates.
What Is a CFA?
Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification can enhance a number of careers paths in finance. Learn about what the CFA entails here.
What Do Billable Hours Mean in Consulting?
Billable hours are a key metric in consulting, public accounting and legal firms, with important ramifications for pay and promotion.
Series 66
Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination is the equivalent of taking both the Series 63 and Series 65 exams.
Payday Loans
Payday loans are short term loans used by people who live from paycheck to paycheck. They tend to be a high cost source of financing, opening opportunities for new entrants with lower fee structures.
JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is one of the top tier nationwide banks, which also has major securities operations.
What is the Series 7 Exam?
Passing the Series 7 exam is the basic certification for financial advisors and investment advisors. Learn the essentials here about what the exam entails.
What Is a Sponsor, And What Can One Do For You?
Everyone knows (or should know) what a mentor is, and the value of cultivating one. But what is a sponsor, and what can such a person do for you?
Financial Advisor Credentials
Beyond regulatory requirements, financial advisors can improve their effectiveness by holding other credentials, qualifications and certifications that are discussed here.
Career Opportunities in Consulting
Consulting firms seek to hire people with financial training and backgrounds, and also help to develop analytic skills in their staff that have wide application.
Merrill Lynch Company Profile for Prospective...
Merrill Lynch is one of the most renowned names in the financial services industry. Here is a profile of the company for prospective employees.
What is a Capital Budget?
A capital budget (capital assets budget) is a spending plan for capital assets that produce income or support business operations over many years.
Broker Payout Grid
The payout grid drives compensation for financial advisors, capturing the complex interplay of factors such as total sales, specific product sales and asset gathering. Here is an overview.
What is a CGMA, and Why Become One?
The CGMA is a new professional credential that is designed to indicate experience in management accounting. Why and how should someone get this title?
Mark to Market Accounting
Mark to market accounting, also called fair value accounting, is the long established norm in much of the financial services industry, especially among securities firms. It has become a matter of intense debate in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
The Kovel Rule
The Kovel Rule is a legal principle that extends lawyer-client confidentiality to include other sources of expert advice, most notably accountants. The IRS has been moving aggressively to limit the applicability of the Kovel Rule.
Why Take the Series 65 Exam?
The Series 65 Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam tests knowledge of state securities laws as well as basic competency in investment vehicles and strategies.
Producer and Support Jobs
Considerations in choosing between, and moving between, producer and support job categories in financial services firms.
Financial Advisor Career Paths
Financial advisors can find future careers in general management, as product or market segment specialists, or in money management. Some financial advisors find these attractive options.
What Do Insurance Investigators Do?
Insurance investigators are in-house private detectives whose special skills are utilized in processing claims where fraud or criminal conduct is suspected. This key function offers potentially exciting career opportunities.
What is NPV?
Calculating NPV, or net present value, is a method for evaluating projects or investments, and a fundamental concept for all financial professionals.
Who Should Become a CFP?
The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credential is gaining utility beyond the scope of people who are full time financial planners. Learn the basics about the CFP here.
BrokerCheck is an online public database maintained by FINRA for the benefit of the investing public. It contains background information on brokers, including qualifications and compliance issues.
Bank of America
Bank of America is a leading destination for careers in banking due to its nationwide footprint and extensive branch network. B of A also is a leader in securities brokerage and investment banking through its Merrill Lynch subsidiary. Read about the employment outlook at Bank of America.
Job Overview of Branch Operations Managers
Branch operations managers are responsible for all the behind-the-scenes work that keeps a brokerage office running, such as building maintenance, communications and technology. Some firms call them branch service managers.
Securities Trading Careers
Securities traders pursue a fast paced and often highly paying career at the center of the securities markets.
Trends in Branch Banking
The banking industry goes through cycles of opening and closing branches. This has huge implications for staffing levels.
Risk Aversion and Job Survival
Many companies breed extreme caution in their employees, by treating failure harshly. In such environments, risk averse careers are encouraged. Here are the implications for you.
Pay by Commissions
Financial advisors are traditionally paid on commissions. Here is a detailed discussion of what that means.
The Best Financial Companies to Work For
Here are the financial services firms that are regularly honored in surveys of the best places to work, along with the reasons why they are so cited.
Why Financial Firms Care About Households
Financial services companies, especially banks and securities brokerages, seek to group associated accounts into so-called households for the purposes of analysis and client service.
What is the IRR or Internal Rate of Return?
IRR, or Internal Rate of Return, is derived from NPV analysis and is used to analyze projects and investments.
Compensation in Financial Services
Compensation in financial services tends to follow different norms than elsewhere in the economy. Here are some key facts to know.
Why Pay a Financial Advisor by Net Worth and...
Basing financial advisor or investment advisor fees on a combination of clients' nets worth and income can be mutually advantageous in some cases.
Why is Walmart Entering Financial Services?
Walmart is making a big push serve low income individuals who are underserved by banks, offering low cost check cashing, payments and money transfers.
Developing Public Speaking Skills
The image of financial professionals as strictly numbers people is false. Advancement within many sectors of the financial services industry and the financial discipline also require excellent communications skills, including facility with public speaking and making presentations.
Psychology and Finance
The study of psychology has many applications in finance and in career management. Read on for a sampling of the principal ways that psychology can be used.
Vice President
Vice President is a common job title in the financial services industry. Here is what it means.
Book of Business
Book of business is a common phrase referring to a client list.
Can Being Indispensable Hurt Your Career?
Can being indispensable hurt your career? This actually is true in a number of situations. Read on for a discussion of the problem and solutions.
Top Financial Mathematics Programs 2014
A 2014 ranking of the top degree programs in financial mathematics, also known by various other titles, such as financial engineering.
Career Profile: Brokerage Operations
Brokerage operations concerns moving cash and securities to settle trades, plus the associated record keeping for clients and brokerage firms alike.
Top Wealth Management Firms
Here are the leading wealth management firms, ranked by the profits attributable to this function. The stability of earnings related to wealth management is causing several major firms to reconsider their commitment to riskier and more volatile lines of business.
What is Surge Pricing?
Surge pricing, a phrase used by ride hailing service Uber, is a form of peak period pricing, which many of Uber's critics support in other settings.
Goldman Sachs Profile
Goldman Sachs is a powerhouse in investment banking, asset management and in financial services for ultra-wealthy individuals. A spot in its internship program is highly prized.
Training for Financial Careers
Here is a handy summary and overview of the most important training needed for financial careers, including degrees, certifications and categories of experience.
Northwestern Mutual
Northwestern Mutual is a leading life insurance company based in Milwaukee. It is renowned for high satisfaction among clients and salespeople, and a highly-regarded sales internship program.
Transfer Pricing
Sophisticated management reporting systems tend to include transfer pricing methodologies. Familiarity with the concepts behind transfer pricing is essential for financial analysts, controllers and aspiring chief financial officers.
Family Offices
Family offices are specialized financial services firms that cater to the needs of extremely wealthy clients. They offer attractive employment opportunities for top financial professionals.
H&R Block
H&R Block is the international leader in tax preparation, with a significant footprint in Canada, the U.K. and Australia. A significant number of H&R Block's U.S. offices are franchises.
How to Choose Employers
There are many considerations in choosing among potential employers. Here are the most important factors that should influence your decisions.
What Financial Careers Are Suitable for Lawyers?
The heavily regulated financial services industry employs large numbers of lawyers in various functions.
Pay by Flat Fee
Paying a financial advisor by a flat fee is often touted as a means to reduce or eliminate conflicts of interest.
Pay by Hourly Fee
Some financial advisors and investment advisors are paid by an hourly fee, an arrangement that mirrors the practice at various professional services firms.
Raymond James
Raymond James is a full-service brokerage firm notable for a highly flexible approach to hiring financial advisors, with options ranging from employee to independent contractor relationships.
What Do Product Managers Do?
Product management is a central interdisciplinary function in many companies, often a fast-paced and exciting job that opens doors to other career options.
Bottom Up Forecasting and Budgeting Methods and...
Bottom up forecasting and budgeting methods and processes take estimates at low levels and add them up to produce the figures for higher aggregates.
What Happened to the NASD?
The National Association of Securities Dealers, better known as the NASD, was for 68 years a major self-regulatory body within the securities industry.
Debt Securities
As the result of financial innovation, the types of debt securities, debt instruments and bond types have been growing briskly in recent decades.
Branch Sales Manager
Branch sales managers usually are former financial advisors and guide an office towards meeting targets for revenues, clients, assets and other metrics. The position is usually a first step for brokers transitioning into executive management.
Prudential Insurance
Prudential Insurance is a leading life insurer well-known for its Rock of Gibraltar logo. It also has a real estate brokerage division.
How Big Are Singing Bonuses in Finance?
Signing bonuses are used to entice high value recruits. Normally a lump sum paid at the start of employment, they also may include deferred performance-linked payouts.
What are the Largest Family Offices?
Family offices are boutique financial firms that serve the ultra-wealthy and hire top talent. Here are the largest family offices in the U.S.
Customer Service Problems
Case studies in poor customer service, and how customers are thus alienated.
Computer Software for Finance
To be effective from day one in a financial job, you should have expertise with certain computer software packages. Here's what you need to know.
What is Survivorship Bias?
Survivorship bias inflates the values of the major equity market indices, and of mutual fund company results. This is a major issue in finance.
Layaway plans are an old means for helping consumers to finance purchases without incurring debt. Virtually extinct for several decades, major retailers are reviving it in response to pubic demand.
Bad Customer Service
A case study in abominable customer service. What happens when a company cuts corners in systems infrastructure and in customer service talent.
Why Take the Series 11 Exam?
The Series 11 qualification allows brokerage sales assistants to accept and process unsolicited client orders. This frees up financial advisor time.
Careers at Primerica
Primerica is a leading life insurer with the largest sales force in the industry. It also trains far more agents than its competitors.
How Much Does a Financial Manager Earn?
Financial managers are employed by a broad range of businesses, nonprofits and government entities. The field can be exciting and high paying.
Problems With Performance Reviews
Performance reviews absorb a great deal of time and effort, yet many find the process unsatisfactory. Innovative firms are making bold reforms.
4 Applications of Big Data in Finance
Big data is becoming a big issue in finance, with multiple applications and wider usage, given advances in information technology.
Jobs at the Treasury Department
The U.S. Treasury Department has operations in tax collection, debt management, bank regulation, currency and coinage, and financial management for the federal government. Here is a discussion of the job opportunities.
Continuing Financial Education at the NYIF
The New York Institute of Finance is a major resource for continuing education in banking and financial services, not just in NYC.
What Wayne Rogers Has Been Doing After M*A*S*H
How did Wayne Rogers transition from actor (best known for M*A*S*H) to money manager and financial pundit? What lessons are there for you?
Ally Financial
GMAC is now called Ally Financial. Ally Financial offers not only automotive finance, but also real estate and mortgage financing (ResCap), insurance, commercial financing and online banking.
What is Paralysis by Analysis?
Paralysis by analysis is a popular synonym for excessive analysis that delays decisions far beyond what is reasonable.
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Citigroup has sold off many of its subsidiaries outside its core Citibank unit.
Supervising Employees Effectively
Effective managers balance control and empowerment in supervising employees. They also know when they have to protect themselves against repercussions from possible employee mistakes and misdeeds.
Private Equity Fees
Private equity funds charge a variety fees to investors and portfolio companies alike. Here is a summary of the most common types of such fees.
Up or Out Policy
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Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley is a major diversified financial services firm, including financial advisory services, asset management, investment banking and securities trading. The recent acquisition of Smith Barney has enhanced its retail brokerage business, originally the result of a 1997 merger with Dean Witter.
How to Dress For Interviews
Today many people, especially the young, come to job interviews dressed unprofessionally and ruin their chances. Here experts in fashion and interviewing offer vital advice on dressing properly.
Public Finance
Public finance encompasses both financial management in government entities and the raising of funds to support their activities. The field includes a number of financial career specialities and is filled with career opportunities.
Best Executive MBA Programs
Is your employer offering to send you to an Executive MBA (EMBA) program? Here is a recent survey of the best ones.
What You Should Know About Job Offers With...
Contingent job offers have strings attached. They may be withdrawn based on various facts about you that may come to light later. Before accepting a job, be careful to understand these contingencies.
What is the Merrill Edge Service?
Merrill Edge combines and expands upon online services offered separately by Merrill Lynch and its parent, Bank of America.
Why Career Networking is Important
Networking is vital for finding jobs and advancing. It also is a key way to increase your knowledge and get help with job-related issues and problems. Learn how here.
Mad Money Jim Cramer
Who is "Mad Money" Jim Cramer: Why work in financial services? Jim Cramer entered the financial services
Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia during the 2008 financial crisis, gaining a major presence in the east, in both banking and securities. Here we give a look back at the pre-acquisition state of Wachovia.
What is Finance?
Exactly what is finance? What are its main branches? How does it fit into the economy and the management of organizations? Look here for the answers.
Serving Clients With Multiple Financial Advisors
Poor investment returns have shaken confidence in financial advisors and planners. Growing numbers of investors are spreading their money around.

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