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Financial Careers: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Big Four Public Accounting Firms
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.
Controller
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.
Financial Advisor Careers
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.
Job Titles
How job titles in financial services relate to pay, advancement and career opportunity.
Risk Management
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.
Why Financial Services Careers?
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.
Financial Engineering
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.
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.
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.
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.
Loan Officer
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.
Best Places for Financial Advisors
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.
Why Job Titles 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.
Public Accounting Firms
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.
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.
Financial Representative
A financial representative is a type of financial professional, usually employed by a life insurance companies, whose duties span those of insurance sales agents, financial advisors and/or financial planners.
Top 10 Investment Banking Firms
Here are the 2013 North American Investment Banking Prestige rankings from Vault.com, based on a survey of industry professionals.
Live to Work
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.
Bank Teller
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.
Banking
Overview of careers in retail and commercial banking.
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.
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.
Broker Sales Assistant
To manage a large book of business, a skilled broker sales assistant (financial advisor sales assistant) is essential. Here are the basics about this important job.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Insurance Careers
Insurance offers a variety of career opportunities. Here is a survey of the principal functions and jobs.
NPV Net Present Value
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.
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.
Financial Assets
Financial assets, also known as investable assets, are a normal measure of wealth for both individuals and households.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Paralysis by Analysis
Paralysis by analysis is a popular synonym for excessive analysis that delays decisions far beyond what is reasonable.
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.
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.
Best Colleges
Corporate recruiters rank the best colleges, by major.
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 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.
Margin Loans
Margin loans use securities as collateral.
Series 66
Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination is the equivalent of taking both the Series 63 and Series 65 exams.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How To Disagree With The Boss
When you disagree with the boss, airing your opinions requires a certain amount of finesse and political savvy. Read on for advice on doing so properly, to avoid negative consequences.
IRR
IRR, or Internal Rate of Return, is derived from NPV analysis and is used to analyze projects and investments.
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.
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.
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.
Financial Advisor Newsletters
Another way for Financial advisors and financial planners to promote their practices and increase client contact and loyalty is through the writing of newsletters. A well crafted newsletter can induce existing clients to deepen their relationships, and also project a professional image that draws new clients.
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.
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.
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.
Book of Business
Book of business is a common phrase referring to a client list.
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.
CGMA
The CGMA is a new designation that is supposed to indicate experience in management accounting.
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.
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.
Merrill Lynch
An overview of career opportunities at Merrill Lynch, a leading brokerage, asset management, investment banking and securities trading firm now owned by Bank of America. Merrill Lynch remains one of the storied names on Wall Street, and its alumni are leaders in other firms.
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.
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.
Capital Budget
A capital budget (capital assets budget) sets a plan for spending on capital assets that will produce income or support business operations over a number of years.
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.
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.
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.
Assistant Vice President
Assistant Vice President is an even more prevalent title in many financial services firms than Vice President.
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.
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.
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.
Primerica
Primerica is a leading life insurer with the largest sales force in the industry. It also trains far more agents than its competitors.
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.
Branch Operations Manager
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 Trader
Securities traders pursue a fast paced and often highly paying career at the center of the securities markets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
KPMG
KPMG, whose home office is in The Netherlands, is a member of the Big 4 group of leading public accounting firms.
DTCC
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) is a vital cog in the international financial system, and a very highly-paying employer. Read here about its role and career opportunities with it.
Issues in Financial Management
A survey of key topics of interest to controllers, treasurers, CFOs and other financial managers.
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.
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.
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.
PricewaterhouseCoopers
PricewaterhouseCoopers, based in London, is one of the Big 4 public accounting firms.
CFO
CFO is a common abbreviation for Chief Financial Officer. The plural CFOs also can refer to Critical Few Objectives.
Stock Loan and Securities Lending
Lending shares of stock to facilitate short sales. Stock loan tends to be a highly profitable function.
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.
Brokerage Operations
Brokerage operations concerns moving cash and securities to settle trades, plus the associated record keeping for clients and brokerage firms alike.
Trends in Branch Banking
The banking industry goes through cycles of opening and closing branches. This has huge implications for staffing levels.
BrokerCheck
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.
JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is one of the top tier nationwide banks, which also has major securities operations.
Private Banking
A definition of private banking, also sometimes called high net worth banking. Also describes the role of a private banker.
Wayne Rogers
The life of actor turned money manager Wayne Rogers (of the TV series M*A*S*H) illustrates the value of creating career options for yourself, as well as the importance of managing your own personal finances well.
UBS Dress Code
UBS has found the need to produce a highly specific dress code for retail bankers in Switzerland. The elements of this code are worth adopting by anyone who needs to look professional.
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.
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.
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.
Up or Out Policy
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Repo
A repo, or repurchase agreement, facilitates lending between financial institutions.
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.
Quant Positions in Finance
A quant lends expertise in advanced mathematical techniques to problems in finance, trading and investing.
Martha Stewart
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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.
Mad Money Jim Cramer
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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.
Private Client
Private client is common financial services parlance for an extremely wealthy client, with key implications for levels of service.
Securities and Exchange Commission
The Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC), a department of the federal government, is the principal regulatory body for the securities markets in the U.S.
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.
New York Institute of Finance
The New York Institute of Finance is a major resource for continuing education in banking and financial services. Founded in 1922, the NYIF has locations outside New York City, as well as distance learning opportunities.
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.
Time Management
Time management is a major concern for financial advisors, especially as their practices grow. How can they deliver client satisfaction while also maximizing revenue?
USAA
USAA is a mutual insurance, banking, financial planning and investment company serving military members and retirees. It enjoys high degrees of employee and client satisfaction and loyalty.
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.
Layering
Layering is a market manipulation technique that is related to spoofing.
Tuition Reimbursement Plans
A valuable employee benefit is a tuition reimbursement plan, which underwrites your efforts to advance by obtaining a new degree. If your company does not offer a program, consider negotiating for one.
Mastering Financial Jargon
Mastering financial jargon is an important way to make it immediately clear to other people in the field that you are an expert, and to make favorable impressions in a hurry.
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.
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is a nationwide leader in retail and commercial banking, as well as in securities brokerage and investment banking. Learn about the company and the outlook for careers within it.
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.
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 Changing Jobs
How can you advance your career through changing jobs? Here are the major dos and don'ts.
Brokerage Branch Manager
A brokerage branch manager heads a brokerage office, supervising financial advisors and other personnel. The vast majority are promoted from the ranks of financial advisors.
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.
AIESEC International Internships
AIESEC is an international student organization best known for its work abroad program. Here we discuss their principal activities and how you can get involved.
Legacy Systems
Legacy systems are obsolete technology, but many major financial firms still run critical functions on them. IT pros with outdated skills are, ironically, vital to their maintenance.
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.
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.
Invoice Discounting
Invoice discounting spurs fast payment of bills by customers. It also is a device to extend credit to suppliers.
FDIC
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, is the principal banking regulator in the U.S., and has varied employment opportunities, including internships, for those with expertise in finance, accounting, economics, law or information technology.
Vice President
Vice President is a common job title in the financial services industry. Here is what it means.
CalPERS
CalPERS is among the largest pension funds in the world, and has a long history as a powerful voice among institutional investors.
Money Manager
Money managers, investment managers and asset managers are highly-compensated financial professionals, with a fast-paced and stimulating work environment.
Senior Vice President
As Vice Presidents proliferated, financial services firms looked to create further distinctions among them. Senior Vice President is one example.
Series 11
The Series 11 qualification allows sales assistants to accept and process unsolicited client orders.
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.

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