A financial advisor or financial planner is an independent professional that provides specialized financial advisory services to clients according to their individual financial situation. In most countries, financial advisors are required to complete certain training and obtain a license in order to give financial advice to customers. These advisors can also be called investment consultants. Most advisors work independently, though some work for large firms that hire them to offer financial advice to employees. They are responsible for advising and providing investment advice to clients according to their clients’ needs.
In Canada, advisors are required to hold licenses from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Advisors (OSFA) and the CFSA. In the United States, all registered financial advisors must meet requirements for registration with the SEC and must receive at least fifty hours of training in self-directed investment advice as well as a ten-year course in estate planning. Financial advisors can also participate in secondary education programs in order to acquire further experience and skills for providing financial advice. The most important qualification for a financial advisor to provide financial advice to a client is that they must have a comprehensive understanding of all applicable taxation laws, as well as a sound understanding of investment strategies. For instance, it would be inappropriate for a financial advisor to advise a client on a short sale or a buy-sell option if they do not understand whether or not it would be appropriate for the client to purchase or sell the underlying assets. This type of advice would be considered unethical.
Financial advisors can also be called on to provide different types of financial advice, depending on the needs of their clients. For instance, they may be asked to review an individual’s entire financial plan, or to create a customized financial plan for a client. Some financial advisors work exclusively with large companies on a freelance basis, while others work on retainer as consultants for a number of different types of businesses.