A Career in Finance: What are Your Options Exactly?

Given the importance of financial management across all sectors of business, administration and even personal life, a career in finance is not one that is likely to go out of demand anytime soon. However, which career paths have the most value is something that will continue to change with time.

As we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, a career in finance has not only become more complicated, but it has also opened multiple avenues of career progression now that did not exist before. Keeping the information in sync with the latest developments in finance, here are some of the best options for students today who are good with money management, analytics, and mathematics.

Financial Planning and Advising

financial planning
Image credits

Financial planners and advisors generally cater to the needs of individuals and families, guiding them towards making the best decisions for money management. The steps are aimed towards helping each client achieve their respective goals, better financial stability, and future security.

Although the exact goals may vary, a financial planner and advisor can be expected to provide the following services.

  • Helping individuals and families reach financial stability
  • Securing the financial future of the client and his/her family members
  • Devising plans for investments, taxes and estate management
  • Development of strategies to help the client reach their financial goals
  • Developing plans for wealth preservation and growth
  • Helping clients secure the future of their family in his/her absence

As a financial advisor, you will earn either via any one or both of the following means.

  • Charging a flat fee for your time
  • Charging a commission/percentage from the client’s investments

The annual salary for Certified Financial Planners (CFP) in the UK is reported to be roughly £57,467 on average, and more than £60,000/year on an average if bonuses are taken into account.

Investment Banking

The average income of an investment banker in the UK can vary widely, depending on the location and the employer. However, an average salary is expected to hover around the £52,436 mark, according to Payscale, however, that is only the salary, and it doesn’t take into account profit shares and bonuses. After taking those into consideration, the average income of an investment banker comes to roughly £78,000, which only increases with every year of experience and relevant training.

In order to get started into investment banking, all you really need is a Bachelor’s degree, but to increase your chances of getting hired by the best employers, as well as being qualified for promotions, later on, completing the appropriate CISI courses will be essential.

Visit Findcourses and look through the long list of specialized CISI courses listed on the website. Choose from CISI courses such as Investment Advice Diploma, Investment Operations Certificate, Chartered Wealth Manager training, Private Client Investment Advice and Management, International Certificate in Wealth and Investment Management, etc. depending on what you are working on currently or what you plan to work on in the near future,

Once you join an investment firm with the necessary qualifications, the job will mostly revolve around the following lines.

  • Helping both private and public clients raise the necessary finances via equity and debt
  • Building generalized and customized financial models for mergers, acquisitions, financial planning, transactions, etc.
  • Evaluation, analysis and consequent interpretations, via comparison of trades and transactions of potential assets
  • Creating business development strategies, based on the results of research, comparison and analysis of the market data/company data/client data
  • Invest contract management

Hedge Funds

By definition, a hedge fund is formed when a fund manager and a group of investors come together to turn the general partner’s business vision into a real business model. The general partner is also the fund manager in a hedge fund, and the group of investors are known as limited partners. The average income of a hedge fund manager will vary widely, depending on multiple variables such as the size of the fund, the group of investors involved, the goals/business plans, success rate, etc. Nonetheless, it is estimated by PayScale that £100,000 per year is the average salary of a hedge fund manager in London, UK. If the job profile interests you, CISI courses in Private Client Investment Advice and Management are tailormade for private fund managers.

Hedge funds are often on the lookout for hiring analysts, stock traders, regulatory compliance officers, and portfolio managers with prior experience, but investment bankers also work with hedge funds quite often. It should be noted that hedge funds are generally very private in their activities and nature, but the income potential from working with a hedge fund is certainly a lot higher than jobs of similar ranking in other financial institutions. It may also come with a degree of insecurity, as hedges are often dissolved as well.

Chartered Accountancy

Chartered Accountancy
Image credits

A chartered accountant earns around £84,500 annually, with the average bonus being roughly £17,300. This easily makes the chartered accountant one of the highest-paid professionals in finance. Do keep in mind that the profit shares were not even included in this estimation, which would push the average even higher.

Of course, becoming a successful chartered accountant is not easy, as it requires a natural familiarity with numbers, calculations, estimations, analysis and much more. The degree courses may vary, but usually consists of first getting a Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB) or a degree in Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) before joining a firm. In order for an aspiring chartered accountant to get his/her certificate, it must be issued by Chartered Accountants Ireland, ICAEW or ICAS to be considered valid in the UK.

As a chartered accountant, you can expect to work with both private and government agencies of every size and scale. Some of the many roles that are played by the CA can be summarised as follows.

  • Managing, suggesting, and even creating budgets
  • Auditing responsibilities; both internal and external
  • Financial advising
  • Financial risk assessment, analysis, review, and management
  • Connecting and negotiating with clients and suppliers on financial contracts
  • Complete tax management and planning
  • Financial recordkeeping for clarity, IRS audits, and general analysis for business growth
  • Fraud detection and prevention
  • Preparation of reports for taxation, company finances, transactions, estimated and suggested predictions for the coming year

It should be noted that technology has changed things a bit for traditional chartered accountants, but those that are willing to learn will find that it has made their jobs much easier for them than it used to be.

In case you haven’t noticed, there are many places where career prospects overlap each other, which is actually an advantage for someone wishing to pursue a career in finance. It just makes shifting much easier when you can benefit by switching to a different department or slightly different job profile at some point.

A few short and relevant CISI courses from accredited institutes should be enough for an experienced professional to make a clever, lateral shift in finance. Then prepare your resume by using/referencing some professional resume examples to make sure you are showing hiring managers what they want to see. That being said, it is still advisable to first specialize in a particular job profile before thinking about changing profiles. The option though will always be there, and that’s part of what makes the profession of money management itself so lucrative and relevant globally.

What are your career plans? Tell us more.

Cover Image credits

Photo of author

Author: Justin

Published on:

Published in: