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Investment Consultant Duties and Responsibilities

While the responsibilities of an investment consultant can vary based on their focus and specialization, many of these core duties remain the same:

Provide Financial Guidance to Clients Generally speaking, the primary duty of an investment consultant is providing sound investment advice and financial guidance to clients. The specifics can vary between consultants: Some investment consultants work with clients to structure their finances and manage large sums of capital, while other consultants work with clients on a specific goal, such as saving for college or retirement. In this aspect of the role, the investment consultant suggests investment products and services to support the client’s overall goals.

Consult Directly with Clients Investment consultants meet directly with clients, starting with initial conversations about investment objectives and strategies. They also periodically meet with clients to provide updates on investment performance, new opportunities, and issues related to tax compliance. In these meetings, investment consultants answer client questions and provide information about specific products or services to help clients make informed decisions.

Monitor Financial Markets and Investment Performance Investment consultants frequently have direct oversight of financial products, following market performance and comparing it to expectations to aid in client decision-making. This involves not only monitoring current investments but assessing new and emerging markets to determine whether they offer a potentially higher return on investment for clients without creating excessive financial risk. Investment consultants may determine that they need to rebalance a client’s portfolio toward lower-risk investments as they near retirement age, for example.

Issue Client Documents Investment consultants create, maintain, and issue client documents related to investment vehicles and products. This is particularly important for tax reporting purposes, but the investment consultant may also develop monthly, quarterly, or annual reports based on client preferences or financial regulations. Investment consultants also ensure that their clients receive important documents and disclosures related to their investments, including dividend records and capital gains statements.

Build Client and Financial Services Networks Investment consultants build effective client and financial services networks to support business goals and deliver a high level of investment performance. The investment consultant may attend networking events to connect with other financial advisors, meet with investment wholesalers to learn more about the products they offer and consider how they may benefit their clients, and attend industry events to meet new clients and build relationships with investors looking for new consultants.


Investment Consultant Skills and Qualifications

Investment consultants work closely with clients to provide investment advice and management. Investment consultants tend to have at least a bachelor’s degree, financial industry experience, and the following skills:

  • Investment expertise – investment consultants advise clients on a variety of investment products, so they should have an excellent grasp of the differences between these products and how they can support client goals
  • Client service – in this role, investment consultants work closely with clients, so they should be able to understand a client’s goals and make financial decisions that support both long- and short-term investment objectives
  • Familiarity with financial regulations – investment consultants should possess a high level of knowledge regarding financial laws and procedures in order to protect client investments and ensure that they are making proper decisions
  • Networking – because investment consultants work with financial professionals and with clients, they should have some experience with building relationships and networking to stay informed of industry trends
  • Documentation – investment consultants regularly prepare financial documents, including disclosures and reports, so they should have some experience with drafting and editing these documents
  • Communication skills – effective written and verbal communication is vital in this role, since investment consultants communicate with clients and other financial services professionals

Investment Consultant Education and Training

In general, investment consultants need at least a bachelor’s degree in a finance-related field such as accounting or economics. Many investment consultants are also certified public accountants, which requires examinations, continuing education, and periodic recertification. Additionally, investment consultants need to be licensed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which ensures that they follow sound and legal practices when advising clients and managing their money. There are some opportunities for on-the-job training in this role, but entry-level investment consultants should already be familiar with investment products and best practices.


Investment Consultant Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that personal financial advisors, including investment consultants, earn a median annual salary of $90,640. The highest-paid workers in this role earn over $208,000 per year, while the lowest-paid 10 percent earn less than $40,800. Investment consultants who work within a larger organization may receive a salary plus bonuses, while independent investment consultants tend to receive a percentage of the funds they manage or an hourly rate. The BLS expects employment in this field to grow at a very rapid pace of 15 percent through 2026, particularly as baby boomers approach retirement age.


Helpful Resources

We searched the web and identified a number of resources if you’re interested in a career as an investment consultant:

Association of Professional Investment Consultants – APIC provides opportunities for collaboration and education as well as industry news and developments

The Investment Advisor Body of Knowledge + Test Bank: Readings for the CIMA Certification – this book includes essential information for financial advisors in addition to a study guide for certification tests

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority – investment consultants are certified by FINRA, which sets and enforces rules for financial industry professionals and organizations

The Financial Advisor’s Success Manual: How to Structure and Grow Your Financial Services Practice – read this book to learn how to provide exceptional client service and advice as an investment consultant or financial advisor