A financial adviser or financial planner is a qualified professional who offers financial advice to potential clients depending on his/her financial circumstance. In most countries, financial advisers must obtain specific legal registration and complete certain training before being allowed to offer financial advice to their clients. In addition to this requirement, financial advisers should hold at least bachelor degree in commerce or economics. They are expected to have sound knowledge in the following fields: mathematics, statistics, business, accountancy, finance, economics, risk management, insurance and portfolio administration.
There are many sub-specialties in the field of finance that a financial advisor may choose to specialize. These sub-specialties include Public Policy, Private Finance, Business Finance, Alternative Investments, Real Estate, International Business and Tax Planning. Other areas of specialization that are available are taxation planning, asset allocation, retirement planning, estate planning and asset protection strategies, charitable giving and behavioural finance. Some advisers offer their services from their own offices or a small shop in their own building. Most advisers use a network of independent financial advisors to offer their financial advice.
Most financial advisors start their careers as brokers or traders who trade in various securities such as equities, derivatives, options, futures and commodities. Most of them also participate in short-term investment products such as swap agreements, derivatives, warrants and forward contracts. There are some advisors who offer investment guidance from the point of view of macroeconomic or interest rate trends. Others seek employment as bankers, financial advisors or stockbrokers. Financial advisers can work for both private individuals and companies.