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A chartered financial advisor is an individual who assists clients with investment decisions. The financial advisor provides analysis of various investment vehicles and financial instruments. This analysis is used by the advisor to offer guidance to the client regarding the client’s financial planning and investment strategy.
The primary focus of the chartered financial advisor is to counsel the client concerning decisions that will positively impact the client’s future financial position. As such, the job of the financial advisor involves knowledge of tax laws, insurance, annuities, and other investment and savings options. An understanding of estate planning is also helpful.
Chartered financial advisors, also referred to as financial planners or financial consultants, work with individuals, small businesses, and corporations. A financial planner who consults with mostly individuals as clients is usually designated as a personal financial advisor. The term “financial consultant” is usually reserved for those who are employed by a financial services company, such as a stock brokerage firm.
No specialized training is required to assume the title of chartered financial advisor. Many financial advisors, however, do seek formal education in such fields as finance, business, or accounting. Additionally, there is no license required to serve as a chartered financial advisor. Some advisors prefer to sell some of the financial instruments that they recommend for their clients. Many of the products, such as insurance, annuities, and securities, do require the seller to hold a license for that product.
Although specialized training is not a prerequisite, some financial planners do wish to further their knowledge and expertise. For those who wish to do so, there are professional organizations and associations within the financial services industry that offer formal training. Such training can often enhance an advisor’s standing in the profession and allow him to be viewed as an expert in his field.
One criterion of great importance for a chartered financial advisor is that of personal integrity. A financial planner is privy to intimate and personal financial information of the client. It is vital that the advisor can be trusted with such sensitive information. It is also essential that a planner always act and advise with the best interest of the client as the main priority.