A financial consultant or financial adviser is a qualified professional who offers financial advisory services to customers according to their individual financial status. In most countries, financial advisers must hold certain qualifications and obtain registration with a regulatory agency in order to offer financial advice. They advise people and organizations on a variety of subjects including saving and investing, pensions, investing in business, insurance and banking.
There are two types of financial advisors: wealth management advisors who provide investment management advice and those who provide retirement planning and/or savings and investments advice. Financial advisors can work independently or as part of an organization such as a brokerage firm, hedge fund or insurance company. Many financial advisors work as independent contractors, receiving a fixed fee for providing their services. Other advisors work for larger firms, and some even work for government agencies, schools and hospitals.
Financial advisors can also specialize in any number of areas. Some specialize in life and health, wealth and investment management, estate planning and banking, mortgages, tax planning and investing, and much more. Many financial advisors work in the private sectors, helping corporations and wealthy families with retirement plans, asset protection and/or creating retirement accounts for employees. They may also work for non-profit organizations, assisting them in achieving charitable objectives and providing grants for projects they help achieve.
The services offered by financial advisors can vary depending on their area of specialization and the type of client they serve. Many advisors offer a range of investment products, such as managed investment products, annuities, fixed income funds and bond and certificate of deposit (CD) portfolios. They may also offer financial advisory services for a wide range of clients, such as corporate and individual clients, self-employed individuals and businesses. Some financial advisors also offer customized financial advice and can help families create a plan for wealth building for their future.
There are many different aspects to a financial advisor’s job. They must not only analyze a client’s financial information, but also look at their overall financial situation and determine how their needs and goals can be met through a secure, balanced and conservative investment portfolio. They must keep up with the latest trends in investing and financial planning to make sure their clients are not only putting money to good use, but are doing so in a way that protects them against a worsening economy and the volatile market. While many advisors offer general financial advice and lead clients through investing and financial planning processes, others will be able to provide specific advice on which specific investments are the best choices for their clients.
One final type of financial advisor is a fee-only financial advisor may work on a contract basis and will charge a fixed, per-customer rate for the advice they provide. Clients are typically assigned an account representative who helps them set up a comprehensive estate plan, making sure that each financial option fits their unique investing profile and budget. In the case of an immediate need to add cash to their retirement or purchasing a costly home, a fee-only financial advisor may be able to put the client’s needs as his priority. While these advisors tend to make more commission, they generally have less overall power and fewer investment options than full-service firms.