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The Different Types of Financial Advisors Explained In Detail

A financial advisor is a professional who provides financial services to clients based on their financial situation. In many countries, financial advisors must complete certain training and be registered with a governing organization before providing advice. Financial advisors frequently provide financial products and services depending on their accreditation and training. Financial advisors that are registered rather than licensed fall into several categories. Because the insurance agent is licensed and has completed the Series 7 qualifying examination, he or she may be qualified to market both life insurance and variable annuities. Let’s look at the different types of financial advisors today in this article. 

The Different Types of Financial Advisors Explained

Both spellings, advisor, and advisor, are correct and refer to someone who gives guidance. According to one textbook, the terms advisor and advisor are not interchangeable in the financial services business since the term advisor is commonly used “when discussing legislative acts and their obligations, and advisor when discussing a practitioner. Because a financial advisor’s business is never defined as an advice practice, the advisor is preferred when the law is not cited.” In the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission refer to “investment advisors” when addressing their regulation.

Financial Advisors – Definition, and importance

However, a significant distinction may be made: a financial counselor must give practical assistance and recommendations. A financial advisor differs from an execution stockbroker, who only executes transactions for customers, or a tax accountant, who simply files tax returns without offering guidance on how to optimize tax benefits.

Furthermore, in other cases, what passes for a financial counselor is merely a product marketer, such as a stockbroker or a life insurance agent. A real financial advisor should be a well-educated, qualified, and experienced financial professional who works on behalf of their customers rather than serving the interests of a financial institution by boosting sales of certain products or capitalizing on sales commissions.

A financial advisor, in general, is an independent practitioner who operates in a fiduciary capacity, placing the interests of their customers ahead of their own. Only Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) that are subject to the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 are held to a true fiduciary standard. Regardless of the circumstances, this fiduciary standard compels an RIA to always put the client’s best interests ahead of their own.

Some agents and brokers choose to engage in this capacity as fiduciaries to attract customers. Their remuneration structure, however, is such that they are obligated by the contracts of the corporations for whom they work.


Fiduciary Distinction

Since the passage of the Investment Advisor Act in 1940, there have been two sorts of interactions between financial intermediaries and their customers. The reasonableness criterion and the tougher fiduciary standard are the two. These connections define the nature of broker-dealer transactions between registered representatives and customers. There is a fiduciary relationship that compels advisors who are Registered Investment Advisors with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to perform obligations of loyalty, care, and complete transparency in their contacts with clients.

While the former is based on the principle of “caveat emptor” and is guided by self-regulated norms of “suitability” and “reasonability” in recommending an investment product or strategy, the latter is based on government rules that enforce the highest ethical standards. The fiduciary relationship is founded on the need that a financial advisor act on behalf of a client in the same way that the customer would act if they had the relevant information and abilities.

Opponents of the fiduciary standard argue that the greater level of fiduciary obligation, as opposed to the lower requirement of appropriateness, would be too costly to apply and would limit consumer choice. Other complaints argue that individuals with smaller retirement accounts may have less access to individualized advice as a result of advisor/broker remuneration arrangements, many of which have been changed to comply with the fiduciary requirement.

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Types of Financial Advisors #1

Investment Advisors

A registered investment advisor (RIA) is a firm that is registered as an investment advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or a state’s securities commission in the United States. The Investment Advisors Act of the 1940s repeated references to RIAs popularised the phrase, which is closely related to the word investment advisor. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, an investment advisor is an individual or a corporation that provides securities advice. An RIA, on the other hand, is a real company, while its personnel are known as Investment Advisor Representatives (IARs).

Fees are paid to registered investment advisor businesses for providing financial advice and investment management. They must operate in a fiduciary capacity. This is in contrast to broker-dealers and their salespeople, who make commission recommendations. Broker-dealers and their representatives are not obliged to operate as fiduciaries; instead, they must make appropriate recommendations for their clients. This is a separate level of care, but most customers are ignorant of it because any of these individuals may call themselves financial advisors.


Types of Financial Advisors #2


A broker-dealer is a person, firm, or other entity that trades securities for its account or on behalf of its customers in the financial services industry. Broker-dealers are crucial to the trading of securities and derivatives. Many broker-dealers are “independent” enterprises that only provide broker-dealer services; however, many others are business units or subsidiaries of commercial banks, investment banks, or investment corporations.

When an institution executes trade orders on behalf of a customer, it is said to be functioning as a broker. When an institution executes deals for its account, it is considered to be functioning as a dealer. Securities purchased from customers or other companies serving as dealers may be sold to clients or other firms acting as dealers again, or they may form part of the firm’s assets. Broker-dealers are the primary sellers and distributors of mutual fund shares, in addition to executing securities transactions.

Types of Financial Advisors #3

Certified Financial Planner

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is a professional certification mark for financial planners conferred in the United States by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) and by 25 other organizations affiliated with the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB), the owner of the CFP mark outside of the United States. Accreditation is widely regarded as the gold standard in the financial planning business. The certification is not a government credential or a recognized degree but is maintained by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., a non-profit organization created in 1985.

The candidate must complete academic, examination, experience, and ethics standards, as well as pay a continuing certification fee, to be authorized to use the designation. Financial planners in the United Kingdom can obtain the CFP license/designation by joining the Chartered Institute of Securities & Investment (CISI). A competent financial advisor is a financial planner or personal financial planner. They provide full-service personal finance advice to customers, including investments, insurance, tax, retirement, and estate preparation.


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Types of Financial Advisors #4

Financial Consultant

“Financial consultant” is an outdated word that has mainly been superseded by “financial advisor.” Financial consultants might work for a corporation or as a freelancer, and their customers can be businesses or people. In summary, financial consultants provide tailored advice to help clients accumulate money. They may provide financial planning, find suitable assets, and advise on insurance options. They direct the purchase and sale of investments such as stocks and bonds on behalf of their customers. Some may also offer financial services.

A financial consultant typically meets with consumers to assess their financial situation before providing advice. When a client has a major life event (marriage, job change, retirement), they will most likely request another visit. Customers are thoroughly evaluated financially by financial specialists or counselors. They evaluate all elements of a client’s financial life, such as assets, expenses, and income, and assist them in developing a financial plan to achieve various sorts of goals. These objectives might be centered on specific milestones like as purchasing a home, relocating, retiring, and funding a grandchild’s schooling.

Types of Financial Advisors #5

Financial Coach

A financial coach is a type of counselor that can help you realize your financial goals by teaching you money management skills such as how to save, create a budget, and pay off debt. A financial coach can help you increase your financial literacy, but they cannot provide you with investment advice. Financial coaches usually assist their clients with the emotional and behavioral elements of money management. A coach can help you figure out what inspires your financial decisions so you may establish a healthy mindset that leads to better money habits.

Financial coaches frequently meet with their customers to work toward a specific financial objective. Determine which aspect of your financial life you would like assistance with before beginning a relationship with a financial coach. If you struggle with spending, for example, your coach may ask you to describe your financial objectives and analyze your expenses for a few weeks to uncover patterns and areas for improvement.

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Types of Financial Advisors #6

Portfolio Manager

A portfolio manager (PM) is a professional who makes financial decisions and manages investments on behalf of vested people or organizations. Clients put their money into the PM’s investment policy, such as a retirement fund, endowment fund, or education fund, for future growth. PMs work with a team of analysts and researchers to develop an investment strategy, choose appropriate assets, and correctly allocate each investment to an investment fund or asset management vehicle.

Portfolio managers make judgments on investment mix and policy, as well as matching investments to objectives, asset allocation for people and institutions, and risk-performance balancing. Portfolio management is concerned with the choices of debt vs. equity, local vs. foreign, growth vs. safety, and other trade-offs found in the quest to optimize return at a certain appetite for risk.

Internal buy-side and sell-side analysts from investment banks give investment recommendations to portfolio managers. It is their responsibility to go through pertinent information and exercise their discretion when buying and selling shares. They analyse studies, speak with corporate executives, and watch industry and economic developments to choose the best firm and moment to invest the portfolio’s cash.

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Types of Financial Advisors #7

Wealth Management Advisory

Wealth management (WM) or wealth management advisory (WMA) is a type of investment advisory service that offers financial management and wealth advisory services to a wide spectrum of clients, including rich, high-net-worth (HNW), and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals and families. It is a discipline that comprises organizing and structuring money to help in the creation, preservation, and protection of wealth while passing it on to family members in a tax-efficient and wishes-based manner. Wealth management includes tax planning, wealth protection, estate planning, succession planning, and family governance.

As awareness of wealth management has grown, several businesses have adopted a methodology that questions customers about their life objectives, working surroundings, and spending habits to improve communication. Wealth management was more than just an investment advising discipline, according to the industry. United Capital renamed its wealth management services as “financial life management” in 2015, with the goal of better distinguishing between wealth management businesses and less expensive brokerage firms, according to the company. The same year, Merrill Lynch launched Merrill Lynch Clear, a program that asks investors to outline their life objectives and includes an educational program for clients’ children.

Types of Financial Advisors #8


Robo-advisors, also known as Robo-advisors, are a type of financial advisor who provides financial advice and investment management online with little to no human participation. They offer digital financial advice that is based on mathematical principles or algorithms. Financial advisors, investment managers, and data scientists create these algorithms, which are then written in software by programmers. These algorithms are run by software and do not require the assistance of a human advisor to provide financial advice to a customer. The software’s algorithms automatically allocate, manage, and optimize customers’ money for short-term or long-term investments. Robo-advisors are classified according to their level of personalization, discretion, engagement, and human interaction.

Over 100 Robo-advisory services are available. Management of investments Robo-advice is regarded as a game changer in formerly exclusive wealth management services, offering services to a larger audience at a cheaper cost than traditional human assistance. Robo-advisors gather financial information from clients to estimate risk tolerance. The assets of a customer are then allocated by Robo-advisors based on risk preferences and desired target return. While Robo-advisors may allocate client assets in a variety of financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, futures, commodities, and real estate, the advice is frequently focused on exchange-traded funds. Clients can pick between products that use passive asset allocation approaches and those that use active asset management techniques.

Types of Financial Advisors #9

Financial Therapists

Financial therapy combines money and emotional assistance to assist people in dealing with financial stress. Financial advisors and other professionals that are qualified as financial therapists frequently give counseling to clients to assist them in making reasonable financial decisions and dealing with any financial troubles they may be experiencing. Financial therapy is a subset of therapy that necessitates accreditation from an organization such as the Financial Therapy Association.

Financial therapy is most successful when a person’s financial advisor collaborates with a professional therapist or expert. Both the financial advisor and the therapist have special skills that the other does not. As a result, it is difficult to give total financial therapeutic assistance, and attempting to do so may lead a person astray and breach ethical rules. Applicants to the Financial Therapy Association’s Certified Financial Therapist program must normally have a bachelor’s degree in a finance-related or mental health-related discipline, or a unique accreditation such as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification.

Benefits of hiring a Financial Advisor

Financial concerns may get confusing, especially when key life decisions approach. It necessitates specialized knowledge that can only be obtained from a Certified Financial Planner. Here is a summary of some of the incomparable advantages of working with a financial advisor.

1. Unbelievable Experience

What do you do when you’re not well? You probably drop everything and make an appointment with your doctor. This is because you lack your doctor’s expertise. The same should be true in all aspects of financial planning. Yes, there are several sites online that explain how to do your planning. However, most financial decisions require the advice of a professional.


Let’s face it: financial planning isn’t the most pleasurable or entertaining chore. Even thinking about it probably gives you a headache. Setting financial objectives is only the first step. Working to achieve these objectives can be difficult and unpleasant. Financial planning entails more than just conserving money each month.

3. It is A Learning Opportunity

Working with a professional advisor will almost certainly teach you valuable skills. The majority of advisors meet with their customers to discuss investment options. A smart financial planner provides guidance that extends beyond your portfolio. This might involve conversations on estate planning, insurance, social security, and other topics.

4. It Eliminates Investment Emotions

An investor’s emotional reactions might be expensive. It’s easy to get caught up in the financial market’s fear and greed. You may be tempted to sell your shares in a specific firm because of rumors. Alternatively, you may choose to sell your house because you have received an excellent offer. While these options may appear to be sensible, your financial advisor may disagree.

5. Encourages Coordination

Hiring a financial advisor will be beneficial since they are excellent organizers. Wealth management necessitates the appropriate coordination of several aspects of your life.

Additional Points on Financial Advisors

There are two types of financial advisors and advice – Independent & Restricted financial advisors.

Independent financial advisors (IFAs) investigate and evaluate all retail investment products or providers accessible to satisfy the client’s needs. They must provide their clients with unbiased and unconstrained advice.

Restricted advisors only provide restricted guidance, focused on a certain range of items or products from one or a few sources.

Before offering advice, all advisors must notify their customers whether they give independent or limited advice.

Financial Advisor salaries in India range from 1.1 Lakhs to 7.0 Lakhs per year, with an average yearly pay of 2.5 Lakhs. The salary projections are based on the most recent 3.4k salaries obtained from Financial Advisors. Financial Advisor salaries in India range from 1.1 Lakhs to 7 Lakhs, with an average yearly pay of 2.5 Lakhs based on 3.4k current earnings.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulates the Indian securities market. It was founded in 1988 and given legislative powers on April 12, 1992, by the SEBI Act of 1992. In India, a SEBI registered investment advisor is referred to as an investor seeking advice on where to invest in the stock market. Before granting an RIA license to any individual, corporation, or organization, SEBI has established certain standards. As of 31 January 2020, there are 1160 RIAs registered with SEBI as registered investment advisors (2013) rules in India.

Conclusion on types of financial advisors

A financial advisor may assist with budgeting, investing, and asset management. A fiduciary advisor will ensure that all choices are made in your best interests. Professional financial planning is never too soon or too late. Asset managers and investment managers, as well as financial planners and coaches: It makes you want to bury your money in the backyard. But don’t worry. There are four basic principles to follow to determine which sorts of financial advisors to hire and which to avoid.

Frequently Asked Questions on types of financial advisors

1. Why should I entrust my finances to a financial planner?

A financial planner will be able to connect all of the financial dots to give you a comprehensive strategy to reach your financial objectives. He or she should be well-versed in all financial products and financial areas of your life.

2. How much does it cost to hire a financial planner?

Fees will vary depending on the financial planner’s degree and experience level, as well as how the fees are calculated. A financial planner would often charge in one of two ways: commission or fee-only.

3. How can I choose a decent financial planner?

Select a financial advisor who has worked with people in similar situations to yours. You’ll also want to ensure that the financial advisor is looking out for your best interests and isn’t pushing goods that aren’t right for you.

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