What Are My Career Options in Financial Sales?

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in financial sales. Read on to learn more about career options along with education requirements and salary information. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do Jobs in Financial Sales Involve?

People who work in financial sales combine an understanding of finance with customer service and sales skills. For example, financial sales agents might handle the sale of securities such as stocks and bonds, and they keep track of individual markets for the sake of financial performance. Insurance sales agents customize programs to suit the needs of their individual customers and also take care of policy renewals. Insurance underwriters determine risk associated with insuring clients and make the final decision on whether to offer plans. The table below outlines the general requirements for these career options.

Financial Sales Agent Insurance Sales Agent Insurance Underwriter
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Finance, economics, accounting Finance, economics, accounting Accounting and business law courses
Key Responsibilities Offer life, health or disability insurance products; advise on investments; sell stocks, bonds and other securities Sell insurance products; facilitate insurance selection process; explain insurance policies Analyze insurance applications; accept or decline applications; determine insurance premiums
Job Growth (2014-2024) 10%* 9%* -11% (decline)*
Median Salary (2015) $71,550* $48,200* $65,040*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are My Career Options in Financial Sales?

If you work in financial sales, your job will likely consist of connecting customers with suitable or customized financial products. Financial products often include insurance and investment products. As a financial sales agent, you might offer your customers life, health or disability insurance products. If you work as a securities, commodities or financial sales agent, you might sell investments, stocks, bonds and other securities.

Another career option in the field of financial sales is that of an investment banker. In such a role, you would locate companies seeking additional funding for business operations. You would then contact investors looking to purchase debt or equity in the company. If you choose this career, you would sell your advisory services in addition to finalizing the sale of stocks and bonds.

As an insurance sales agent, you might sell a range of insurance products. You may work with individuals or businesses to facilitate the insurance selection process. You can specialize in one type of insurance or a portfolio of products. You can expect to offer detailed product presentations, initiate a policy and maintain an ongoing relationship with each client.

Insurance underwriters analyze insurance applications to ensure the absence of excessive risk. In this position, you would work on behalf of an insurance company reviewing applications for medical information, the risk of natural disaster and other data. You can expect to use your research to accept or decline and application and determine the insurance premium.

What Education or Licensing Should I Pursue?

Employers require a bachelor's degree, at minimum, for entry-level financial sales positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). High-level opportunities may require a Master's of Business Administration (www.bls.gov). You can pursue a degree in finance, economics or accounting. For insurance underwriting, a degree in any field, with courses in accounting and business law, should provide a general foundation.

If you pursue work in the securities and commodities industry, you may be required to register as a representative with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. In order to register, you must be employed with a firm for four months and successfully pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination. Your state may also require the successful completion of the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination.

How Much Can I Earn?

The BLS reports that securities, commodities and financial sales agents earned a median salary of $71,550 in 2015. The middle half of employees in the field earned between $40,410 and $135,430. Insurance sales agents made a median of $48,200 in 2015, and insurance underwriters earned a median salary of $65,040 during the same year, per the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a bachelor's degree, you could pursue a career as a financial manager, producing financial reports and developing long-term goals for an organization or company. You could also become a personal financial advisor, providing advice on personal assets such as mortgages, college savings, and retirement. You might also consider a career as a budget analyst, where you prepare reports for public and private institutions, make recommendations for funding levels and anticipate future spending needs.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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