Financial Careers: Most Popular Articles
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.
Auto-enrollment in 401(k) and other employee savings plans is now encouraged by federal law, but the effect on savings has been disappointing. Why?
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.
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.
When leading financial firms were scrambling to recruit free-spending celebrities as clients, this book came as a cold slap in the face. It showed that most of the wealthy are otherwise very ordinary people (particularly small business owners) with one outstanding trait: frugality. The book caused a revolution in the thinking of many firms.
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 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.
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 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.
How job titles in financial services relate to pay, advancement and career opportunity.
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.
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.
Margin loans use securities as collateral.
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.
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, has succeeded the NASD in testing and certifying various securities industry professionals. Learn about the major exams here.
Financial planners pursue rewarding careers helping clients budget, save and set financial goals. Learn what it takes to enter and succeed in the field.
Overview of careers in retail and commercial banking.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Compensation in financial services tends to follow different norms than elsewhere in the economy. Here are some key facts to know.
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 offers a variety of career opportunities. Here is a survey of the principal functions and jobs.
Here are notes on the courses of study and academic majors that best prepare you for financial careers, and which give you maximum flexibility.
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.
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.
Corporate travel expense rules and restrictions involve weighing various tradeoffs. Learn how incorrect balancing can produce suboptimal results.
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.
A tontine is a pool of money that goes to the last living person in a pool. Now illegal as a life insurance scheme, it may hold promise when applied to health insurance.
Some types of investments are available, by law and regulation, only to those called accredited investors or qualified investors, as explained here.
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.
How can you tell if a corporate executive is lying? Research has uncovered some telltale signs. Employees, investors and analysts should take note.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Insurance claims adjusters play the vital role of studying requests for payouts under insurance policies, then determining whether they should be honored or denied.
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.
Book of business is a common phrase referring to a client list.
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.
Among political leaders, policy makers and news reporters, economic illiteracy is common, with dire implications for rational debate.
Here are the 2013 North American Investment Banking Prestige rankings from Vault.com, based on a survey of industry professionals.
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.
HSBC is a major global banking and securities firm, with one of the most recognized brand names in banking around the world.
Financial assets, also known as investable assets, are a normal measure of wealth for both individuals and households.
As the Vice President title became too common, financial services firms began creating variants like First Vice President to stratify this management layer further.
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.
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.
A definition of private banking, also sometimes called high net worth banking. Also describes the role of a private banker.
Hiring in financial firms related to data security may be boosted by the Target Stores data breach.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
jobs at merrill lynch. Financial Careers.
Ernst & Young is a Big Four public accounting firm. Here is a quick overview of its major lines of business and job opportunities.
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.
Financial advisor pay plans have evolved significantly in recent years. Understanding the trends is equally important to financial services professionals and financial services clients.
How can you advance your career through changing jobs? Here are the major dos and don'ts.
Here is a handy summary and overview of the most important training needed for financial careers, including degrees, certifications and categories of experience.
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.
Primerica is a leading life insurer with the largest sales force in the industry. It also trains far more agents than its competitors.
What you you say when posed a difficult job interview question? The most typical questions are relatively easy to anticipate, and here are videos featuring experts who can advise you.
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.
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.
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 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination is the equivalent of taking both the Series 63 and Series 65 exams.
KPMG, whose home office is in The Netherlands, is a member of the Big 4 group of leading public accounting firms.
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.
The Series 63 exam demonstrates knowledge about state securities laws and regulations. Most states require financial advisors and investment advisors to hold this qualification.
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.
Assistant Vice President is an even more prevalent title in many financial services firms than Vice President.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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Securities traders pursue a fast paced and often highly paying career at the center of the securities markets.
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.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, based in London, is one of the Big 4 public accounting firms.
Money managers, investment managers and asset managers are highly-compensated financial professionals, with a fast-paced and stimulating work environment.
There are many considerations in choosing among potential employers. Here are the most important factors that should influence your decisions.
As the economy of India grows, so does the segment of the population that will be clients of banking, investment and insurance companies. Read here about the leading opportunities and risks surrounding the growth of the financial services industry in India.
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.
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.
Beyond regulatory requirements, financial advisors can improve their effectiveness by holding other credentials, qualifications and certifications that are discussed here.
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.
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.
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.
The banking industry goes through cycles of opening and closing branches. This has huge implications for staffing levels.
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.
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.
Passing the Series 7 exam is the basic certification for financial advisors and investment advisors. Learn the essentials here about what the exam entails.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Peer to peer lending (P2P) uses online platforms to bring borrowers and lenders together, bypassing the banks.
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.
A survey of key topics of interest to controllers, treasurers, CFOs and other financial managers.
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.
Insurance appraisers are experts in the valuation of property, such as automobiles, and give key expert input in the settling of insurance claims.
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.
Billable hours are a key metric in consulting, public accounting and legal firms, with important ramifications for pay and promotion.
The 1968 Wall Street paperwork crunch was a major financial crisis that had many lasting effects. Revisit them to see how we got where we are today.
The Series 65 Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam tests knowledge of state securities laws as well as basic competency in investment vehicles and strategies.
The CGMA is a new designation that is supposed to indicate experience in management accounting.
When financial services firms wish to create a hierarchy of Executive Vice Presidents, they may designate some as Senior Executive Vice Presidents.
CFO is a common abbreviation for Chief Financial Officer. The plural CFOs also can refer to Critical Few Objectives.
JPMorgan Chase is one of the top tier nationwide banks, which also has major securities operations.
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.
Utilization rate is a measure of productivity used by many public accounting and management consulting firms for evaluating and compensating staff.
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.
Restructuring firms take charge of severely troubled or bankrupt companies, to reorganize or liquidate them. Some focus on the financial services industry, and offer intriguing career opportunities.
Do small banks receive unduly high regulatory scrutiny versus much larger rivals that vastly greater systemic risk? If so, why?
Lending shares of stock to facilitate short sales. Stock loan tends to be a highly profitable function.
The definition of retail business and retail clients, in the context of financial services. The significance of this terminology also is explained here.
Chartered Accountant is the rough equivalent of a CPA in much of the English-speaking world.
Private client is common financial services parlance for an extremely wealthy client, with key implications for levels of service.
As Vice Presidents proliferated, financial services firms looked to create further distinctions among them. Senior Vice President is one example.
After years of decline, layaway plans are making a comeback.
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.
Investor satisfaction with financial firms and financial advisors tend to be driven by a few factors. The wise financial advisor will pay close attention, and act accordingly.
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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.
Firms catering to high net worth clients often suggest fine art as an investment. Those firms that do so need various types of art experts either on staff or as consultants. Here's a survey of the key issues.
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.
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.
A review of George Washington on Leadership, a book that draws case studies in effective leadership from the life of George Washington.
IRR, or Internal Rate of Return, is derived from NPV analysis and is used to analyze projects and investments.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Outsourcing and offshoring are major components of the economy in India, and the financial services industry is a significant contributor to this sector. Read here about the current trends and their implications for the industry and the country.
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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.
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.