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Financial Careers: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
What is the Financial Services Industry?
The financial services industry plays a central role in the world economy and offers exciting and rewarding career options for high energy people.
Should You Live to Work, or Work to Live?
Is your job the center of your life and key to your happiness? Or is your job merely a way to earn a living? The answers should guide career choice.
What Do All Those Job Titles Really Mean? Find...
How job titles in financial services relate to pay, advancement and career opportunity.
What are Pump and Dump Stock Schemes?
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Everything You Need to Know About Banking Careers
Considering a career in retail or commercial banking? Here is a survey of the key concepts and trends that you should know.
What Are the Big Four in Public Accounting?
The Big Four Public Accounting Firms are the leaders in accounting and auditing services, as well as major players in consulting and tax preparation.
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 Is a CPA?
A CPA license, while required for only a select few career paths in finance, can enhance your credibility as a professional with quantitative skills.
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.
Why You Should Choose a Financial Career
Financial careers are a very attractive option for ambitious people who look to get ahead quickly and enjoy a high earning potential.
Career Paths in Insurance
Insurance offers a variety of career opportunities. Here is a survey of the principal functions and jobs.
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.
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.
What are Financial Assets?
Financial assets, also known as investable assets, are a normal measure of wealth for both individuals and households.
What Financial Controllers Do
A controller exerts control over use of company funds and has a leading role in budgeting, business forecasting, reporting and profitability analysis.
What is Mutual Funds Accounting?
Mutual funds accounting involves portfolio valuation, net asset value (NAV) calculation and client record keeping. It is a complex and vital process.
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.
Resume Keywords That Hurt You
Using tired buzzwords and cliches are bound to hurt you. Avoid these buzzwords and phrases, in writing and in interviews.
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.
What Loan Officers Do
A loan officer at a bank, credit union or other financial institution assists borrowers in applying for loans and assesses their creditworthiness.
What is a Financial Representative?
Financial representatives in life insurance companies often combine the duties of insurance sales agents, financial advisers and financial planners.
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.
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.
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.
What is a Broker Sales Assistant?
Sales assistants play a key role in leveraging the time of brokers and financial advisors. Here are details about qualifications, duties and pay.
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.
What Do Insurance Underwriters Do?
Insurance underwriters evaluate applications for insurance, determine whether policies should be issued (written) and set premiums and other terms.
Insurance Sales Agent Careers
Insurance sales agents (insurance agents) sell insurance products, and also may prepare financial plans and sell various other investment products.
What Does an Insurance Claims Examiner Do?
Insurance claims examiners are involved in scrutinizing claims for insurance payouts and assessing what, if anything, the policyholder should receive.
What is a Broker Payout Grid?
The payout grid drives compensation for financial advisors, capturing factors such as total sales, specific product sales and asset gathering.
What Is Management Reporting?
Well-designed and maintained management reporting systems are critical to the operation of most business enterprises. This is what they entail.
Can a Psychology Major Be Useful in Finance?
Psychology has many applications in finance and in career management. We offer a sampling of some key relevant insights that this field can offer.
Is Mobile Banking the Wave of the Future?
Prepaid mobile phone (cell phone) credits are a common payment mechanism in developing countries with poor banking, mail and transport networks.
What is a Retail Client in Finance?
In financial services terminology, exactly what is a retail client or a small business client? What is the significance?
What is a First Vice President in Finance?
As the Vice President title became too common, financial services firms created variants like First Vice President to stratify this management layer.
Are Bank Branches Disappearing?
The banking industry goes through cycles of opening and closing branches. This has huge implications for staffing levels.
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.
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.
What is an Institutional Client in Finance?
In financial services, the definition of an institutional client, and what its significance, is an important piece of jargon to understand.
What is an Actuary?
Actuaries apply statistical analysis to assessing risks. Actuaries are highly paid and are found in various industries, but mainly in insurance.
Issues in Financial Management
A survey of key topics of interest to controllers, treasurers, CFOs and other financial managers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Producer and Support Jobs
Considerations in choosing between, and moving between, producer and support job categories in financial services firms.
What Credentials Should Financial Advisors Hold?
Beyond regulatory requirements, financial advisors can improve their effectiveness by holding these credentials, qualifications and certifications.
State Street
State Street is a major provider of asset management, wealth management and securities services. It is a leader in various categories of back office operations performed on behalf of mutual funds and other investment companies.
Top 22 Master's Programs for Financial...
Financial engineering, a.k.a. mathematical finance, financial mathematics, quantitative or computational finance, applies advanced math to finance.
Merrill Lynch Company Profile
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.
How Much Do Financial Jobs Pay?
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.
JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is one of the top tier nationwide banks, which also has major securities operations.
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.
Operations Consulting
Operations consulting involves working with the client company to improve business processes. These case studies drawn from actual engagements with major banks illustrate the type of work and analysis involved.
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.
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.
Assistant Vice President
Assistant Vice President is an even more prevalent title in many financial services firms than Vice President.
What are the Best Wealth Management Firms to...
Here are the leading wealth management firms, ranked by the profits from this function. Earnings related to wealth management tend to be stable.
What is Big Four Consulting?
Big Four consulting practices rival the audit and tax business in terms of size and prestige at these leading public accounting firms.
What is a Promotion in Place?
When you receive a better job title while retaining the same position, this represents a promotion in place. This is a common scenario in may firms.
What is a CGMA, and Why Become One?
The CGMA is a new professional credential that is designed to indicate experience in management accounting. Why and how should someone get this title?
What Branch Operations and Service Managers Do
Branch operations and service managers keep brokerage offices running, concerned with building maintenance, communications and technology.
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.
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.
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.
Morgan Stanley Company Profile
Morgan Stanley is a major diversified financial firm, with financial advisory services, asset management, investment banking and securities trading.
Securities Trading Careers
Securities traders pursue a fast paced and often highly paying career at the center of the securities markets. Is this a career for you? Learn here.
Why is Walmart Entering Financial Services?
Walmart is making a big push serve low income individuals who are underserved by banks, offering low cost check cashing, payments and money transfers.
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.
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.
Continuing Financial Education at the NYIF
The New York Institute of Finance is a major resource for continuing education in banking and financial services, not just in NYC.
Vice President
Vice President is a common job title in the financial services industry. Here is what it means.
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.
Career Opportunities in Consulting
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.
The Best Financial Companies to Work For
Here are the financial services firms that are regularly honored in surveys of the best places to work, along with the reasons why they are so cited.
How is Risk Measured?
Risk management is an increasingly important financial function. Here are the these basic methods for measuring and assessing risks.
Bluebird Prepaid Card
The Bluebird prepaid is a joint offering of Walmart and American Express that targets people without traditional banking relationships.
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.
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.
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.
What is Mark to Market Accounting?
Mark to market accounting, also called fair value accounting, is the norm in the financial services industry, especially among securities firms.
What is the Merrill Edge Service?
Merrill Edge combines and expands upon online services offered separately by Merrill Lynch and its parent, Bank of America.
How to Choose Employers
There are many considerations in choosing among potential employers. Here are the most important factors that should influence your decisions.
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.
Why Take the Series 11 Exam?
The Series 11 qualification allows brokerage sales assistants to accept and process unsolicited client orders. This frees up financial advisor time.
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.
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.
What Financial Careers Are Suitable for Lawyers?
The heavily regulated financial services industry employs large numbers of lawyers in various functions.
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 the Series 7 Exam?
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 Paying Financial Advisors by Commissions...
Financial advisors are traditionally paid on commissions. Here is a detailed discussion of what that means.
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.
Prudential Insurance
Prudential Insurance is a leading life insurer well-known for its Rock of Gibraltar logo. It also has a real estate brokerage division.
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.
What Are Contact Management Systems?
Leading financial services firms have contact management systems to track dealings with large or otherwise important clients. Read on for details.
What are Municipal and Public Finance?
Public finance encompasses both financial management in government entities and the raising of funds to support their activities.
What Do Insurance Investigators Do?
Insurance investigators are in-house private detectives who take a close look into claims where fraud or criminal conduct is suspected.
How is Net Worth Computed?
Net worth is one of several common measures of personal wealth. Learn how it is computed, and how it is used by financial professionals.
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.
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.
What are Production Credits in Finance?
Production Credits are key metric used by many leading securities brokerage firms in computing Financial Advisor compensation. Here's how they work.
Series 66
Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination is the equivalent of taking both the Series 63 and Series 65 exams.
What are the 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.
Transfer Pricing
Sophisticated management reporting systems tend to include transfer pricing methodologies. Familiarity with the concepts behind transfer pricing is essential for financial analysts, controllers and aspiring chief financial officers.
Why Take the Series 65 Exam?
The Series 65 Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam tests knowledge of state securities laws as well as basic competency in investment vehicles and strategies.
Careers at Primerica
Primerica is a leading life insurer with the largest sales force in the industry. It also trains far more agents than its competitors.
The Goldman Sachs Junior Analyst Program
Working as a junior investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs long has been a ticket to a lucrative Wall Street career, often at other firms.
Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia during the 2008 financial crisis, gaining a major presence in the east, in both banking and securities. Here we give a look back at the pre-acquisition state of Wachovia.
What are Salary Ranges and Salary Brands?
Large employers typically have a highly formalized structure of job titles, job descriptions and the ranges of pay associated with them.
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.
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.
Compensation in Financial Services
Compensation in financial services tends to follow different norms than elsewhere in the economy, and is generally higher than in other industries.
What is Bottom Up Budgeting and Forecasting?
Bottom up forecasting and budgeting methods and processes take estimates at low levels and add them up to produce the figures for higher aggregates.
Pay by Flat Fee
Paying a financial advisor by a flat fee is often touted as a means to reduce or eliminate conflicts of interest.
Why Financial Firms Care About Households
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.
What is a Book of Business?
Book of business is a common phrase in financial firms referring to a client list.
Why Pay a Financial Advisor by Net Worth and...
Basing financial advisor or investment advisor fees on a combination of clients' nets worth and income can be mutually advantageous in some cases.
Careers at Northwestern Mutual
Northwestern Mutual is a leading life insurer, renowned for high satisfaction among clients and salespeople, and a top sales internship program.
What Rating Agencies Do
Credit rating agencies assess the financial strength of corporate and governmental entities. They provide excellent entry-level jobs in finance.
Delivering Customer Service
Delivering superior customer service is the hallmark of excellent firms, and the key means for cementing client loyalty.
Getting Free Tax Refunds at Walmart
Giant retailer Walmart is increasing its attempts to serve the financial needs of its low income customer base, now by offering free cash tax refunds.
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.
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.
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.
Private Banking
A definition of private banking, also sometimes called high net worth banking. Also describes the role of a private banker.
Should You Take a CFA Review Course?
Becoming a CFA involves passing a long exam. Should you use self-study material, classroom instruction or study guides?
What is the Series 63 Exam?
The Series 63 exam demonstrates knowledge about state securities laws and regulations. Most states require financial advisors and investment advisors to hold this qualification.
A Dress Code for Finance
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.
What Fees Do Private Equity Funds Charge?
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.
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.
How Wayne Rogers Built a Financial Career After...
The late Wayne Rogers successfully moved from acting (best known for his TV role on M*A*S*H) to money management and financial commentary. Here's how.
The Outlook for Citigroup and Citibank
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Citigroup has sold off many of its subsidiaries outside its core Citibank unit.
Affinity Fraud
Affinity fraud is a large and growing category of financial fraud in which con artists find common denominators with their intended victims, in order to build trust.
What Do Product Managers Do?
Product management is a central interdisciplinary function in many companies, often a fast-paced and exciting job that opens doors to other career options.
What is Layering in Stock Trading?
Layering is a market manipulation technique that is related to spoofing. Read on for examples of how this scheme works.
Customer Service Problems
Case studies in poor customer service, and how customers are thus alienated.
What are Stock Loan and Securities Lending?
Lending shares of stock to facilitate short sales. Stock loan tends to be a highly profitable function. Learn what it's all about here.
Senior Vice President
As Vice Presidents proliferated, financial services firms looked to create further distinctions among them. Senior Vice President is one example.
Merrill Lynch Principles
The Merrill Lynch Principles are a model summary of company values and a condensed guide for professional conduct. They reflected the corporate culture at the time of formulation.
Bank of New York
Bank of New York Mellon is a leading asset management, wealth management and securities services company. It is a major outsourcing firm in the area of back office operations.
What are Private Equity Firms?
Private equity firms finance private companies and arrange private placements for public companies.
What Does a CFO Do?
CFO is a common abbreviation for Chief Financial Officer. The plural CFOs also can refer to Critical Few Objectives.
What is a Corporate Budget Exercise?
A budget exercise is common business parlance for an emergency cost-cutting effort. They have important ramifications for employees and job seekers.
Jackson Hewitt
Jackson Hewitt is the number two U.S. tax preparation firm by the number of tax returns prepared. Most of its offices are franchised.
What are Family Offices?
Family offices are specialized financial services firms that cater to the needs of extremely wealthy clients. They employ top financial professionals.
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.
How Big Are Signing Bonuses in Finance?
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.
Debt Securities
As the result of financial innovation, the types of debt securities, debt instruments and bond types have been growing briskly in recent decades.
What Training is Needed for Financial Careers?
Here is a summary of the most important training needed for financial careers, including degrees, certifications and experience.

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