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Financial Careers: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Women on Wall Street
Female employment in financial services has been declining. Why?
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.
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.
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.
What Are the Big Four in Public Accounting?
What are the Big Four Public Accounting Firms and what services do they offer? What career opportunities are there for you?
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.
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.
What Financial Advisor Careers Are All About
Financial advisors and financial consultants have fast-paced jobs with high pay potential. Learn about these jobs and how you can enter the field.
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.
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.
What is a Financial Representative?
A financial representative is a type of financial professional, usually employed by life insurance companies, whose duties span those of insurance sales agents, financial advisers and/or financial planners.
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.
Career Paths in Insurance
Insurance offers a variety of career opportunities. Here is a survey of the principal functions and jobs.
Everything You Need to Know About Careers in...
Considering a career in retail or commercial banking? Here is a survey of the key concepts and trends that you should know.
Financial Assets
Financial assets, also known as investable assets, are a normal measure of wealth for both individuals and households.
So, You Want to Be a Bank Teller? Read This First
What do bank tellers do, how do you become one, and what does the job pay? What is the employment outlook for tellers? Learn this and more right here.
What Does a Financial Planner Do?
Financial planners have rewarding careers helping clients budget, save and set financial goals. Learn what it takes to enter and succeed in the field.
Bluebird Prepaid Card
The Bluebird prepaid is a joint offering of Walmart and American Express that targets people without traditional banking relationships.
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.
Securities Trading Careers
Securities traders pursue a fast paced and often highly paying career at the center of the securities markets.
Insurance Sales Agent Careers
Insurance sales agents (insurance agents) sell one or more lines of insurance products, may engage in financial planning and selling various other investment products, much like a financial advisor.
What 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.
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.
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.
The Best Places for Financial Advisors to Work
The Financial Advisor Satisfaction Survey from J.D. Power offers insights into how financial advisors view their firms and where they prefer to work.
What is an Actuary?
Actuarial science is statistical analysis applied to assessing risks. Actuaries are highly paid and particularly vital to the insurance industry, though many other types of firms employ them. Learn about what the job entails, and how to enter the field.
What Is Management Reporting?
Learn here what management reporting systems do and how they are developed and maintained. Tis is must reading for anyone in business and finance.
How to Become an Insurance Claims Adjuster
Insurance claims adjusters play the vital role of studying requests for payouts under insurance policies, then determining whether they should be honored or denied.
The Pros and Cons of Jobs at Public Accounting...
Public accounting firms are vital cogs in the financial system as well as training grounds for top business talent in many industries.
All About Careers in Corporate Treasury
Corporate treasury is a fast-paced, highly-paid field related to investment banking and money management. Learn the basics about starting a career.
What Is a CFA?
Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification can enhance a number of careers paths in finance. Learn about what the CFA entails here.
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.
Career Prospects for Accountants and Auditors
Accountants and auditors are responsible for financial reporting, financial record keeping and the filing of tax returns. Here is a survey of the main branches of the field, compensation data and employment outlook.
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.
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.
Primerica
Primerica is a leading life insurer with the largest sales force in the industry. It also trains far more agents than its competitors.
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.
What is a Broker Sales Assistant?
To manage a large book of business, a skilled broker sales assistant (or financial advisor sales assistant) is essential. Here are the basics about this important job.
Careers in Investment Banking
An introduction to the types of work and industry trends in investment banking. The field ranges from securities issuance to mergers and acquisitions to business advisory services.
What Does it Take to Become an Insurance...
Insurance underwriters perform the essential analytic work of evaluating applications for insurance, determining whether policies should be issued (written) and setting premiums and other terms.
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.
The Role of FINRA in the Securities Industry
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, has succeeded the NASD in testing and certifying various securities industry professionals. Learn about the major exams here.
Mad Money Jim Cramer
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Trends in Banking
A summary of important new trends and innovations in banking and lending.
Book of Business
Book of business is a common phrase referring to a client list.
Assistant Vice President
Assistant Vice President is an even more prevalent title in many financial services firms than Vice President.
How to Become a Financial Advisor
Financial advisor is an attractive career option, but entering the field is challenging in many respects. Learn how to become a financial advisor.
What Does a Claims Examiner Do?
Insurance claims examiners perform a role similar to insurance claims adjusters, scrutinizing claims for insurance payouts and assessing what, if anything, the client should receive.
What Job Descriptions Mean
Formal job descriptions often do not capture the full spectrum of responsibilities that the job holder is expected to fulfill. This is especially true with financial job descriptions.
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.
CGMA
The CGMA is a new designation that is supposed to indicate experience in management accounting.
Merrill Lynch Company Profile for Prospective...
Merrill Lynch is one of the most renowned names in the financial services industry. Here is a profile of the company for prospective employees.
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.
JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is one of the top tier nationwide banks, which also has major securities operations.
Trends in Branch Banking
The banking industry goes through cycles of opening and closing branches. This has huge implications for staffing levels.
Career Opportunities in Compliance
Compliance departments have a central role in financial services, and careers as compliance officers are attractive opportunities for people with legal, accounting and/or auditing backgrounds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Issues in Financial Management
A survey of key topics of interest to controllers, treasurers, CFOs and other financial managers.
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.
How Much Does a Financial Manager Earn?
Financial managers are employed by a broad range of businesses, nonprofits and government entities. The field can be exciting and high paying.
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.
Private Banking
A definition of private banking, also sometimes called high net worth banking. Also describes the role of a private banker.
Layaway Comeback
After years of decline, layaway plans are making a comeback.
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.
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.
What Insurance Appraisers Do
Insurance appraisers are experts in the valuation of property, such as automobiles, and give key expert input in the settling of insurance claims.
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.
Mobile Banking
Prepaid mobile phone (cell phone) credits are a common payment mechanism in developing countries with poor banking, mail and transport networks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is NASDAQ
NASDAQ is the second-largest stock exchange in the world, by annual share value traded, behind the New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE.
Issues in Risk Management
A survey of key topics of interest to risk managers.
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.
MetLife's 'Dad's Accident': Worst Insurance Ad...
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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.
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.
Who Should Become a CFP?
The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credential is gaining utility beyond the scope of people who are full time financial planners. Learn the basics about the CFP here.
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.
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.
Series 66
Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination is the equivalent of taking both the Series 63 and Series 65 exams.
What Do Insurance Investigators Do?
Insurance investigators are in-house private detectives whose special skills are utilized in processing claims where fraud or criminal conduct is suspected. This key function offers potentially exciting career opportunities.
Resume Keywords That Hurt You
Lazy resume and personal profile writing that utilizes tired buzzwords and cliches are bound to turn most readers against you. Avoid these buzzwords and phrases, in writing and in interviews.
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.
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.
What Do Billable Hours Mean in Consulting?
Billable hours are a key metric in consulting, public accounting and legal firms, with important ramifications for pay and promotion.
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.
Computer Software for Finance
To be effective from day one in a financial job, you should have expertise with certain computer software packages. Here's what you need to know.
IRR
IRR, or Internal Rate of Return, is derived from NPV analysis and is used to analyze projects and investments.
The Money Game
This is another now-classic work that I first read in 1977, in a Harvard undergraduate economics tutorial
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.
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.
What is the Staff Utilization Rate in Consulting?
Utilization rate is a measure of productivity used by many public accounting and management consulting firms for evaluating and compensating staff.
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.
KPMG
KPMG, whose home office is in The Netherlands, is a member of the Big 4 group of leading public accounting firms.
Up or Out Policy
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What Does a CFO Do?
CFO is a common abbreviation for Chief Financial Officer. The plural CFOs also can refer to Critical Few Objectives.
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.
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.
Prepaid Cards
Prepaid cards, which can be used in much the same way as debit and credit cards, are growing in popularity as a store of value for unbanked people.
What Wayne Rogers Has Been Doing After M*A*S*H
How did Wayne Rogers transition from actor (best known for M*A*S*H) to money manager and financial pundit? What lessons are there for you?
What are Margin Loans?
Margin loans are a common method of financing used by investors and extended by brokerage firms. Here are the basics on what margin lending entails.
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.
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.
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.
What is a Financial Analyst?
The term financial analyst covers a broad range of positions in both financial management and financial services. Learn about opportunities and pay.
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.
Financial Advisor Credentials
Beyond regulatory requirements, financial advisors can improve their effectiveness by holding other credentials, qualifications and certifications that are discussed here.
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.
What Rating Agencies Do
Credit rating agencies assess the financial strength of corporate and governmental entities. They provide excellent entry-level jobs in finance.
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.
How 1968 Changed Wall Street Forever
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.
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.
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.
What Is a Sponsor, And What Can One Do For You?
Everyone knows (or should know) what a mentor is, and the value of cultivating one. But what is a sponsor, and what can such a person do for you?
How Much Does a Financial Analyst Earn?
A career as a financial analyst specializing in securities research can be both stimulating and remunerative. Get the details here.
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.
Jobs at the Treasury Department
The U.S. Treasury Department has operations in tax collection, debt management, bank regulation, currency and coinage, and financial management for the federal government. Here is a discussion of the job opportunities.
Best Colleges
Corporate recruiters rank the best colleges, by major.
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.
What You Should Know About Job Offers With...
Contingent job offers have strings attached. They may be withdrawn based on various facts about you that may come to light later. Before accepting a job, be careful to understand these contingencies.
TD Bank
The TD Bank Financial Group, headquartered in Toronto, has a major U.S. presence in banking and discount securities brokerage with TD Ameritrade.
Best Way to Beat Hiring Software
As more and more companies use software to screen job applications and resumes, job applicants need to know ho to beat the hiring software. Here are top tips from a business professor who has devoted close study to this issue.
Series 11
The Series 11 qualification allows sales assistants to accept and process unsolicited client orders.
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.
Mike Bloomberg
Mike Bloomberg took advantage of being laid off by starting his own financial information firm that is now a media giant. Then he used the great wealth garnered from that to enter politics.
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.
Layering
Layering is a market manipulation technique that is related to spoofing.
Researching Jobs With BLS Data
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a valuable resource for job seekers and career changers, especially with its information on hiring trends and pay.
Goldman Sachs Profile
Goldman Sachs is a powerhouse in investment banking, asset management and in financial services for ultra-wealthy individuals. A spot in its internship program is highly prized.
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.
Lehman Brothers
The failure of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 triggered a major financial crisis. The firm is in liquidation. Much of its surviving North America operations were acquired by Barclays.
Private Client
Private client is common financial services parlance for an extremely wealthy client, with key implications for levels of service.
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.
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.
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.
What is a Budget Analyst?
As a job title, budget analyst is most commonly found in the public and nonprofit sectors. Learn about job opportunities and pay.
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.
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.
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.
American Express
American Express is a leader in credit cards and travel services with one of the most recognized international brand names. Amex is often cited among the best companies to work for.

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