Personal Finance

Education & accreditation for a career in financial services

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  • Jan 9th, 2006 6:52 pm
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[OP]
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Oct 25, 2001
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Brantford

Education & accreditation for a career in financial services

My educational background (25 years ago) was applied math & physics. This obviously accounts for why I have been employed in technology sales for the last 15 years. ;)

I do enjoy technology - but the environment in which I have been employed the last 5 years has not only become tarnished, but the distress is accelerating. It is not so much the industry, but the company itself.

So, I'm mulling in my mind whether I make a move to a different company, but in the same arena of software/hardware/technology sales, or do I try something in the financial services field.

I enjoy the investigation, analysis and math that go into investment decisions, the discussion of economic influences, and generally the acquisition of knowledge. But I also fear that by making it my full time occupation it will dull the interest and satisfaction.

I know that there are several of you in various capacities in the field of financial services. I would appreciate it if you could share your knowledge and opinion of the types of courses and experience that would be most advantageous for a person, halfway through their working career, to reinvent themself to take on those roles.

I am not against a sales position in this area, but I've always taken a consultative approach in my career - I don't sell just to make a sale. I have a neighbour who left a mutual fund company, in spite of very good compensation, because of the pressure to sell rather than advise.

I also have enjoyed compensation commensurate with the role of a sales professional for many years. Thus, a position that doesn't have the realistic potential of delivering a 6 figure package would be hard to accept at this point in life.

At least initially, any courses I would take would have to be in conjunction with maintaining full time employment, so part time schooling and the timeframes involved would be an important consideration.

Thanks.
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Aug 1, 2005
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There are a few routes to a career in financial services.

One is through the Canadian Securities Institute. Www.csi.ca. You can take the Canadian Securities Course which is your first step in getting licensed to sell mutual funds. If you wish to sell stocks I believe you also must take the Conduct and Practices Handbook course.

You can also go through IFIC (Investment Funds Institute of Canada) www.ifse.ca to take the Canadian Investments Funds Course, which will allow you to get your Mutual Fund license.

You can also take (through IFSE/IFIC) a 4 course program which provide indepth education which will qualify you to write the CFP (certified financial planner) certification exam, a 6 hour exam which is held all over Canada twice each year. (Note - the CSI has a 2 course program which qualifies you for the same exam, but I have been told it isn
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Dec 31, 2005
211 posts
Two other options available are, one, working for a bank , and, two, take a route through accounting or MBA to be a fee based planner. I left the sales side to be a fee based planner as I found it hard to keep my personal ethics alligned with corporate goals.

Problem is everyone wants free advice. Very often people get what they pay for :)
[OP]
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Oct 25, 2001
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Brantford
I started checking out CSI and CIFP sites. Not only is the CIFP course that prepares you for the CFP more extensive, but it is also more expensive.

In your experiences, does it matter to a prospective employer HOW you achieved your various designations? In other words, does choosing the CIFP curriculum potentially provide a better education, but not necessarily better prospects? Ultimately your resume denotes the CFP (and other) designations, not what courses you took to gain that knowledge, correct?

Does the 2 years of experience in order to attain CFP designation have to be in full time employment in that field or can it be part time? Does it have to be as an employee or can be self-employed for the 2 years?
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Dec 31, 2005
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cannon_fodder wrote:In your experiences, does it matter to a prospective employer HOW you achieved your various designations? In other words, does choosing the CIFP curriculum potentially provide a better education, but not necessarily better prospects? Ultimately your resume denotes the CFP (and other) designations, not what courses you took to gain that knowledge, correct?
I would say that is correct.
Does the 2 years of experience in order to attain CFP designation have to be in full time employment in that field or can it be part time? Does it have to be as an employee or can be self-employed for the 2 years
Not sure actually.

One suggestion if you are interested... I would consider working for an advisor as an assistant at brokerage, or work at a bank (business is best I think). Have your courses paid for and earn salary while you gain experience. Then in 2 years go on your own, or maybe you'll like where you are.

Problem starting out on your own is you are more easily swayed by managers who may have interests other than your clients well being at heart.

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