Skills Spotlight: Financial And Planning Services And 10 Target Occupations

pensive accountant with an old abacus

The biggest perk to having a job is often the money that accompanies the work you provide. But what about the workers who handle money for a living, and help others manage their finances? Those in financial and planning services plan and manage the financial interests and growth of individuals and institutions, including instruction in portfolio management, investment management, estate planning, insurance, tax planning, strategic investing and planning, financial consulting services and client relations. And that's just the tip of this economic iceberg.

Between 2014 and 2023, this group of workers is expected to grow nationally by 38.9 percent.* Along with this high growth comes a competitive group of workers. Those who are attracted to these occupations cite key drivers like personal growth/advancement and a personal fulfillment in work/life balance as reasons they're attracted to these roles, and they stick around because the work is more interesting and challenging, and they have access to higher salary and benefits.

Important competencies and skills in finances
To succeed in a financial services occupation, or to identify the transferrable skills that you may take with you to a new role, consider these competencies that are expected from workers in financial services:
· Customer and personal service
· Mathematics
· Computers and electronics
· Economics and accounting
· Sales and marketing
· Clerical
· Administration and management

Top 10 employing industries
Financial and planning services workers are needed by nearly everybody; plenty of businesses or individuals have finances that require the expertise or certification of these workers to help manage and move their money smartly. However, the top employing industries of these professionals are:

1. Investment advice
2. Portfolio management
3. Miscellaneous intermediation
4. Securities brokerage
5. Investment banking and securities dealing
6. Commercial banking
7. Other insurance funds
8. Trust, fiduciary and custody activities
9. Pension funds
10. Open-end investment funds

10 target occupations
Though this expansive industry has plenty more roles to consider beyond this list, here are 10 related jobs in financial and planning services that cover a variety of roles and responsibilities:

1. Securities, commodities and financial services sales agents buy and sell securities or commodities in investment and trading firms, or provide financial services to businesses and individuals. They may advise customers about stocks, bonds, mutual funds, commodities and market conditions.

2. Insurance sales agents sell life, property, casualty, health, automotive or other types of insurance. They may refer clients to independent brokers, work as an independent broker or be employed by an insurance company.

3. Loan officers evaluate, authorize or recommend approval of commercial, real estate or credit loans. They advise borrowers on financial status and payment methods. Includes mortgage loan officers and agents, collection analysts, loan servicing officers and loan underwriters.

4. Credit counselors advise and educate individuals or organizations on acquiring and managing debt. They may provide guidance in determining the best type of loan and explaining loan requirements or restrictions. They may also help develop debt management plans, advise on credit issues or provide budget, mortgage and bankruptcy counseling.

5. Loan interviewers and clerks interview loan applicants to elicit information; investigate applicants' backgrounds and verify references; prepare loan request papers and forward findings, reports and documents to appraisal department. They review loan papers to ensure completeness and complete transactions between loan establishment, borrowers and sellers upon approval of loan.

6. Insurance underwriters review individual applications for insurance to evaluate degree of risk involved and determine acceptance of applications.

7. Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing (except technical and scientific products) sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses or groups of individuals. Their work requires substantial knowledge of items sold.

8. Credit analysts analyze credit data and financial statements of individuals or firms to determine the degree of risk involved in extending credit or lending money. They prepare reports with credit information for use in decision making.

9. Advertising sales agents sell or solicit advertising space, time or media in publications, signage, TV, radio or the Internet. This role includes individuals who obtain leases for outdoor advertising sites or persuade retailers to use sales promotion display items.

10. Tax preparers prepare tax returns for individuals or small businesses.

* All figures and descriptions for industry, occupation and skill information from Economic Modeling Specialists International 2014.2 Class of Worker Dataset: Financial Planning and Services.