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Financial Careers: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Does Better Pay Yield Better Work
Performance based pay not only is supposed to be a reward for past work, but also a spur to future productivity. How successful is it in this regard?
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.
What Do All Those Job Titles Really Mean? Find...
How job titles in financial services relate to pay, advancement and career opportunity.
Margin Loans
Margin loans use securities as collateral.
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.
Martha Stewart Profile
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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.
Everything You Need to Know About Careers in...
Overview of careers in retail and commercial banking.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Insurance Careers
Insurance offers a variety of career opportunities. Here is a survey of the principal functions and jobs.
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.
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.
Exercise and Sell Stock Options
Facilitating stock option exercise and sell transactions is a primary function of brokerage firms that administer corporate stock option plans.
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.
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.
Financial Assets
Financial assets, also known as investable assets, are a normal measure of wealth for both individuals and households.
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.
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.
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (formerly Morgan Stanley Smith Barney) boasts more financial advisors than any other U.S. based financial services firm, making it a primary destination for those pursuing careers in this 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.
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.
FTSE
The FTSE indexes track the price movements of the largest companies (by market value) on the London Stock Exchange. They are widely quoted indicators of non-U.S. equity prices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Private Banking
A definition of private banking, also sometimes called high net worth banking. Also describes the role of a private banker.
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.
PricewaterhouseCoopers
PricewaterhouseCoopers, based in London, is one of the Big 4 public accounting firms.
Primerica
Primerica is a leading life insurer with the largest sales force in the industry. It also trains far more agents than its competitors.
KPMG
KPMG, whose home office is in The Netherlands, is a member of the Big 4 group of leading public accounting firms.
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.
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.
Series 66
Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination is the equivalent of taking both the Series 63 and Series 65 exams.
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.
Issues in Financial Management
A survey of key topics of interest to controllers, treasurers, CFOs and other financial managers.
Book of Business
Book of business is a common phrase referring to a client list.
Insurance Telematics
Telematics encompasses the collection and transmission of data, usually from a large number of geographically dispersed monitoring sites. Auto insurers are among the leading developers and utilizers of such technology, in order to assess driver behavior and set premiums accordingly.
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.
Trends in Branch Banking
The banking industry goes through cycles of opening and closing branches. This has huge implications for staffing levels.
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.
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.
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.
Securities Trading Careers
Securities traders pursue a fast paced and often highly paying career at the center of the securities markets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is one of the top tier nationwide banks, which also has major securities operations.
IRR
IRR, or Internal Rate of Return, is derived from NPV analysis and is used to analyze projects and investments.
What is a Retail Client in Finance?
The definition of retail business and retail clients, in the context of financial services. The significance of this terminology also is explained here.
Merrill Lynch
jobs at merrill lynch. Financial Careers.
Merrill Edge
Combining and expanding upon online services offered separately by Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, Merrill Edge represents an important strategic move by the combined firms that attempts to exploit synergies.
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.
CGMA
The CGMA is a new designation that is supposed to indicate experience in management accounting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
MetLife's 'Dad's Accident': Worst Insurance Ad...
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Billable Hours in Consulting
Billable hours are a key metric in consulting, public accounting and legal firms, with important ramifications for pay and promotion.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Issues in Risk Management
A survey of key topics of interest to risk managers.
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.
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.
Up or Out Policy
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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.
Accredited Investor or Qualified Investor
Some types of investments are available, by law and regulation, only to those called accredited investors or qualified investors, as explained here.
Private Client
Private client is common financial services parlance for an extremely wealthy client, with key implications for levels of service.
Stock Loan and Securities Lending
Lending shares of stock to facilitate short sales. Stock loan tends to be a highly profitable function.
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.
Bluebird Prepaid Card
The Bluebird prepaid is a joint offering of Walmart and American Express that targets people without traditional banking relationships.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Freeconomics
Freeconomics is a new term describing an old marketing strategy, the selective giving away of free or heavily discounted merchandise or services in hopes of stimulating more sales in the future.
Telecommuting in Finance
Telecommuting is a big trend in the general economy, as well as in financial services. The savings of commuting time and money may be offset by the career downside of reduced face time.
Bank Branch Closures
As a whole, the banking industry is accelerating its closure of branches, especially in less populated and less wealthy locales. The trend is being reinforced by the increasing preference of consumers for doing their banking remotely and electronically. Get the details here on the latest developments.
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.
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.
Consulting Firms
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.
Corporate Travel Expense Rules and Restrictions
Corporate travel expense rules and restrictions involve weighing various tradeoffs. Learn how incorrect balancing can produce suboptimal results.
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.
Fiduciary Standard
The fiduciary standard places the interests of clients first. Only some financial professionals are bound by law to follow it.
Trends in Banking
A summary of important new trends and innovations in banking and lending.
Money Manager
Money managers, investment managers and asset managers are highly-compensated financial professionals, with a fast-paced and stimulating work environment.
Islamic Finance
Islamic finance satisfies Muslim prohibitions on interest and on speculation that amounts to gambling. It is an alternative to Western bonds and banking for conservative Muslims.
Peer to Peer Lending
Peer to peer lending (P2P) uses online platforms to bring borrowers and lenders together, bypassing the banks.
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.
Corporate Budgeting Departments and Processes
Corporate budgeting departments assemble budgets and monitor progress during the year. Working in such a group can open further career opportunities.
Householding Accounts
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.
Chartered Accountant
Chartered Accountant is the rough equivalent of a CPA in much of the English-speaking world.
Best Financial Companies for Working Moms
Working Mother Magazine names the best companies for working moms each September. Finance and insurance companies regularly dominate the list. Here are some recent results.
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.
Forensic Accounting
Scrutinizing financial records and transactions as part of a criminal investigation or in support of a civil lawsuit is often called forensic accounting.
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.
Securities Underwriting
Securities underwriting is one of the primary functions and principal career paths within investment banking. Here is some important background information on this special field.
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.
Consolidation of the Financial Industry
The financial services industry is becoming, through mergers, more consolidated and concentrated, both within specific lines of business and across them. What are the implications for your career?
Social Network Analysis
Social network analysis is a powerful data analysis technique used by financial services companies to uncover criminal activity such as money laundering and insurance fraud.
Vice President
Vice President is a common job title in the financial services industry. Here is what it means.
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.
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.
Financial Advisor Credentials
Beyond regulatory requirements, financial advisors can improve their effectiveness by holding other credentials, qualifications and certifications that are discussed here.
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.
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.
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.
The Vanishing Brokerage Back Office
A long term trend towards automation of the securities industry has had an especially negative impact on employment in brokerage operations.
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.
Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual is a major property & casualty insurer, with both personal and business lines, as well as life insurance. Its subsidiaries include Wausau and Safeco.
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.
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.
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.
CFO
CFO is a common abbreviation for Chief Financial Officer. The plural CFOs also can refer to Critical Few Objectives.
Financial Regulation and Regulators
The financial services industry is regulated by a number of federal and state agencies, and a given firm may be answerable to several of them. The Dodd-Frank bill has expanded regulatory hiring.
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