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Financial Careers: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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.
How to Become a Financial Advisor
Financial advisor careers offer a past-paced work environment and high earnings potential. Read on for the basics on what's entailed and how to become a financial advisor.
What Are the Big Four in Public Accounting?
The Big Four are the top public accounting firms in size and prestige. They audit the largest corporations and nonprofits, offer consulting services, and have much to recommend as employers.
What Do All Those Job Titles Really Mean? Find...
How job titles in financial services relate to pay, advancement and career opportunity.
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.
Top 10 Job Types 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Best Places for Financial Advisors to Work
The annual Financial Advisor Satisfaction Survey from J.D. Power and Associates offers useful insights into how financial advisors view their firms and where they prefer to work.
Margin Loans
Margin loans use securities as collateral.
Top 22 Master's Programs for Financial...
Financial engineering applies advanced mathematical techniques to problems like the design of complex securities and the development of trading and investment strategies. Also known as mathematical finance, financial mathematics, quantitative finance or computational finance, financial engineering is the focus of specialized master's degree programs.
What Is a CPA?
A CPA license, while required for only a select few career paths in finance, can open doors and enhance your credibility as someone who has quantitative skills and a professional outlook.
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.
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.
Insurance Careers
Insurance offers a variety of career opportunities. Here is a survey of the principal functions and jobs.
What Is a CFA?
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification is a credential that can enhance a number of careers paths in finance. Learn about what the CFA entails here.
Everything You Need to Know About Careers in...
Overview of careers in retail and commercial banking.
Financial Planner
Financial planners pursue rewarding careers helping clients budget, save and set financial goals. Learn what it takes to enter and succeed in the field.
Investment Banker
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.
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.
All About Careers in Corporate Treasury
Corporate treasury manages daily cash flows and finds the best ways to meet company funding needs. This fast-paced, highly-paid field combines aspects of investment banking and money management.
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.
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.
So, You Want to Be a Bank Teller? Read This First
With the current upward trend in bank branches, job prospects for bank tellers are generally favorable. Becoming a teller is a common entry-level route into the banking industry.
The Pros and Cons of Jobs at Public Accounting...
Public accounting firms are vital cogs in the financial system and highly-regarded training grounds for professionals throughout the financial services industry, as well as in other industries.
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.
Insurance Claims Adjusters
Insurance claims adjusters play the vital role of studying requests for payouts under insurance policies, then determining whether they should be honored or denied.
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.
Financial Job Descriptions
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.
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.
Money Manager
Money managers, investment managers and asset managers are highly-compensated financial professionals, with a fast-paced and stimulating work environment.
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.
Financial Assets
Financial assets, also known as investable assets, are a normal measure of wealth for both individuals and households.
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.
FINRA
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, has succeeded the NASD in testing and certifying various securities industry professionals. Learn about the major exams here.
Primerica
Primerica is a leading life insurer with the largest sales force in the industry. It also trains far more agents than its competitors.
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.
What Is Management Reporting?
A critical function performed by controllers, chief financial officers and their staffs is the development, maintenance and utilization of management reporting systems. While management reporting often focuses on financial data, such as revenues, expenses and profits, it also can include a variety of non-financial metrics that are barometers of the firm's health. Analysis of the data tracked by these systems is a significant part of the value added by people in these functional areas.
Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is a major global information services, analytics and news provider. Data and news related to the financial markets are among its leading offerings.
Series 7
Passing the Series 7 exam is the basic certification for financial advisors and investment advisors. Learn the essentials here about what the exam entails.
Assistant Vice President
Assistant Vice President is an even more prevalent title in many financial services firms than Vice President.
Layaway
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.
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.
Insurance Sales Agents
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.
Federal Home Loan Banks
The Federal Home Loan Banks (FLHB) provide funding to lenders that offer mortgage, small business and agricultural loans. They are cooperatives owned and managed by member financial institutions.
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.
Series 66
Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination is the equivalent of taking both the Series 63 and Series 65 exams.
Insurance Claims Examiners
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.
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.
Networking
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.
Insurance Underwriters
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.
Best Financial Companies
Here is a short list of financial services firms that are regularly honored in surveys of the best places to work, along with the reasons why they are so cited.
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.
Lawyers in Finance
The heavily regulated financial services industry has large legal and compliance staffs. Legal backgrounds are also valuable for a large number of other financial career paths as well.
Merrill Lynch
jobs at merrill lynch. Financial Careers.
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.
Dangers of Pursuing Quick Profits
A case study in the dangers of pursuing short term profits and dismantling conservative risk management procedures.
CGMA
The CGMA is a new designation that is supposed to indicate experience in management accounting.
Book of Business
Book of business is a common phrase referring to a client list.
Rating Agencies
Credit rating agencies are key players in the financial markets, assessing the ability of corporate and governmental borrowers to incur and service debt, and the interest rate cost that they face. They are major employers and trainers of people in the field of securities research and securities analysis.
CFA Review Courses
Becoming a CFA involves passing a long exam, and the CFA Institute offers self-study materials. Some prefer additional classroom instruction and/or study guides. Here is a survey of the options.
Contingent Job Offers
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.
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.
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.
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.
Series 65
The Series 65 Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam tests knowledge of state securities laws as well as basic competency in investment vehicles and strategies.
PricewaterhouseCoopers
PricewaterhouseCoopers, based in London, is one of the Big 4 public accounting firms.
Financial Advisor Credentials
Beyond regulatory requirements, financial advisors can improve their effectiveness by holding other credentials, qualifications and certifications that are discussed here.
Tips for Choosing Employers
There are many considerations in choosing among potential employers. Here are the most important factors that should influence your decisions.
Compliance Departments
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.
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.
Principal
The term principal has several definitions within finance. Here are a few of the most common and most important.
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., among those serving multiple families.
Billable Hours in Consulting
Billable hours are a key metric in consulting, public accounting and legal firms, with important ramifications for pay and promotion.
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.
Facebook Privacy
Facebook has come under increasing criticism for a dismissive and misleading attitude towards the privacy of users' personal information, culminating in its being sanctioned by the Federal Trade Commission in 2011. People who use Facebook and similar social media for career development should take numerous precautions.
IRR
IRR, or Internal Rate of Return, is derived from NPV analysis and is used to analyze projects and investments.
Staff Utilization Rate in Consulting Firms
Utilization rate is a measure of productivity used by many public accounting and management consulting firms for evaluating and compensating staff.
Issues in Financial Management
A survey of key topics of interest to controllers, treasurers, CFOs and other financial managers.
Securities Trading Careers
Securities traders pursue a fast paced and often highly paying career at the center of the securities markets.
Value of an MBA in Financial Careers
In judging the value of an MBA in financial careers, you need to consider various factors, including your expected return on investment. Get the details here.
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.
Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a Big Four public accounting firm. Here is a quick overview of its major lines of business and job opportunities.
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.
Pay for Financial Jobs
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.
NPV Definition
Calculating NPV, or net present value, is a method for evaluating projects or investments. An application of the Time Value of Money, it is a fundamental concept for all financial professionals.
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.
Stock Loan and Securities Lending
Lending shares of stock to facilitate short sales. Stock loan tends to be a highly profitable function.
Vice President
Vice President is a common job title in the financial services industry. Here is what it means.
Brokerage Operations
Brokerage operations concerns moving cash and securities to settle trades, plus the associated record keeping for clients and brokerage firms alike.
Jobs at Deloitte
Deloitte (Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu) is a Big 4 public accounting and consulting firm. The world's largest professional services firm by revenue, it has aggressive hiring plans for 2011-2012.
Big Four Consulting
Large public accounting firms, most notably the Big Four, have large consulting practices that rival their audit and tax business in terms of size and prestige.
Trends in Branch Banking
The banking industry goes through cycles of opening and closing branches. This has huge implications for staffing levels.
Cases in Financial History
Financial history is littered with various schemes that reappear in new forms. Having a historical sense will help you recognize potential trouble.
Financial Internships
Financial internships are highly prized educational experiences and resume-enhancers. They also open doors to the best full-time entry-level positions in the industry.
Series 63
The Series 63 exam demonstrates knowledge about state securities laws and regulations. Most states require financial advisors and investment advisors to hold this qualification.
Best Colleges
Corporate recruiters rank the best colleges, by major.
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.
Abandoned Property Laws
Abandoned property laws require banks, investment firms and insurance companies to make state governments the owners of dormant accounts or unclaimed payouts due on insurance policies. This is growing into a major compliance issue for insurers.
Retail Client
The definition of retail business and retail clients, in the context of financial services. The significance of this terminology also is explained here.
Private Equity Firms
Private equity investing does not involve the public securities markets. Instead, private equity firms finance private companies, and arrange private placements for public companies.
Protocol for Broker Recruiting
The Protocol for Broker Recruiting affects brokers and financial advisors who switch firms. Understanding its requirements is critical for practitioners in the field. Investors also would do well to learn its implications for them.
Managing Expectations
Managing expectations is a key to success. Doing it successfully is a delicate balancing act, avoiding both over-promising and setting unduly low expectations that are easily exceeded.
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.
Financial Solutions Advisor
Financial solutions advisor is a position in Bank of America branches designed to advise clients on the types of brokerage and investment services offered. Similar positions are developing in other banking firms with brokerage subsidiaries.
Arrest Records
Advances in background searches are making it very hard to hide incidents from your past. Getting an arrest record officially expunged may be needed to preserve your employability.
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.
JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is one of the top tier nationwide banks, which also has major securities operations.
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.
Overview of the Goldman Sachs Junior Analyst...
The Goldman Sachs junior analyst program has been a ticket to a lucrative Wall Street career in investment banking. Faced with cutbacks in the program, prospective applicants are concerned.
Edward Jones
Edward Jones has one the largest forces of financial advisors. The firm encourages individual entrepreneurship and features one-advisor offices that approximate a franchising model.
Insurance Investigators
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.
Walmart MoneyCenters
Walmart is making a big push serve low income individuals who are underserved by banks, offering low cost check cashing, payments and money transfers. The Walmart MoneyCenters and its small business lending program are cementing the loyalty of its customer base. Walmart already has a large network of fully fledged bank branches in Mexico.
Insurance Appraisers
Insurance appraisers are experts in the valuation of property, such as automobiles, and give key expert input in the settling of insurance claims.
Senior Vice President
As Vice Presidents proliferated, financial services firms looked to create further distinctions among them. Senior Vice President is one example.
Private Banking
A definition of private banking, also sometimes called high net worth banking. Also describes the role of a private banker.
KPMG
KPMG, whose home office is in The Netherlands, is a member of the Big 4 group of leading public accounting firms.
Financial Advisor Training
Formal financial advisor training programs are being scaled back, so becoming a trainee financial advisor poses more challenges for people looking to enter this career path. Here are some tips.
Series 11
The Series 11 qualification allows sales assistants to accept and process unsolicited client orders.
Peer to Peer Lending
Peer to peer lending (P2P) uses online platforms to bring borrowers and lenders together, bypassing the banks.
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.
Director
Director is a title used by a variety of financial and non-financial firms for people in middle management, in addition to members of their boards of directors.
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.
Product Management
Product management is a central interdisciplinary function in many companies, often a fast-paced and exciting job that opens doors to other career options.
Bloomberg Aptitude Test (BAT)
The Bloomberg Aptitude Test (BAT) is growing in recognition, opening doors to entry level jobs in finance and business. Here are the basic facts.
Production Credits
Production Credits are a type of metric used by many leading securities brokerage firms in computing Financial Advisor compensation. Understanding the concept is critical to understanding how the industry operates.
Up or Out Policy
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Financial Services Information Technology
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.
Signing Bonuses
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.
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.
Standard & Poor's
Standard & Poor's (also Standard and Poor's, or simply S&P) is the leading international ratings agency, covering both debt and equities issues. It is a major training ground for professionals in securities research.
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.
Jobs in Accounting
Are you interested in an accounting job? Accounting is a vital function within private industry, nonprofits and government alike. It also is a major category of employment within the financial field. Here is a list of the principal job categories related to accounting, the employers within it, and the training necessary.
MetLife's 'Dad's Accident': Worst Insurance Ad...
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Layering
Layering is a market manipulation technique that is related to spoofing.
Financial Publications
Here is a list of vital publications that will keep you informed about the financial industry, alert to job opportunities, and poised to advance your career.
Senior Executive Vice President
When financial services firms wish to create a hierarchy of Executive Vice Presidents, they may designate some as Senior Executive Vice Presidents.
Worst Places to Work in Finance
These troubled employers have cut staff and put extreme pressure on remaining staff. Tough work environments but, for some, there may be opportunities to emerge as a turnaround hero.
Redefine Your Job
Tips on advancing your career and improving your job satisfaction by redefining your responsibilities.
Changing Jobs Internally
A common error in changing jobs internally is not preparing for the transition. Others are not knowing the management style of your new superiors, or the new organization's culture.
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.
Experian
Experian is one of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Like its major competitors, Experian also offers a diversified menu of business information services and analytic tools.
Marketing Yourself
Marketing yourself effectively hinges on one crucial factor. See here what this is, and how it should influence how you write resumes and cover letters, as well as your interviewing technique.
Allstate Insurance
Allstate is the largest publicly-held personal lines insurer in the U.S., offering auto, property, life and commercial policies, plus retirement, investment and banking services. The brand has wide name recognition from decades of advertising.
The 80-20 Rule
The 80-20 rule is a popular and often useful guide to time management and resource management. In brief, selective investment of time, effort and money can produce outsize returns.
Academic Majors for Financial Careers
Here are notes on the courses of study and academic majors that best prepare you for financial careers, and which give you maximum flexibility.
FORTUNE Best Companies to Work For
FORTUNE magazine surveys the best companies to work for. In this edition, 20% were in financial services. Many of the rest seek employees in financial management.
George Washington on Leadership
A review of George Washington on Leadership, a book that draws case studies in effective leadership from the life of George Washington.
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