Best Answer:   You might be confusing an investment banker with an investment manager. There is a huge difference.
Investment bankers help companies. This could be to get access to capital, to acquire other companies, and sometimes when they want to be sold to another company. A typical day will be depend on your role in the investment bank. If you are an analyst you will be preparing reports and analysis. If you are in sales you will be presenting your firm to companies and trying to win deals. Investment bankers are known for working long hours when the deals are running, and for making huge salaries when times are good. By huge I mean starting salaries of over $200,000 and bonuses that can run from a few hundred thousand to many millions per year (after you have been in the firm for a while.) Investment bankers tend to have MBA, Finance or Math backgrounds. They tend not to come from retail brokerage backgrounds. If you are young and want to get into Investment Banking I'd get an MBA and do web searches on firms like Goldman Sachs, Thomas Weisel & Partners.
Investment advisors manage investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds etc. Some advisors focus on managing investments for companies, but by number I think there are many more who advise individual investors. There are around 100,000 advisors in the US who are registered with the SEC. To become an investment advisor you will need to work for a brokerage firm and take an NASD series 6 or 7. Or you can work for an investment
advisory firm and take an NASD series 65 exam. Both are 2-8 hour exams, and you can take study courses to prepare for them. Retail brokerage firms are always looking for bright energetic people to help investors and this is a field where you can work your way up without an advanced degree, but I think a college background will help you.
What would your day be like as an investment advisor? I can tell you that because my firm is an investment advisor. There are variety of roles depending on your interests: interacting with clients, managing portfolios, and account administration. Small firms start with one person doing all three but pretty quickly advisors tend to focus different people on either managing the client or managing portfolios.
You asked how you could enter this field. If you are just getting started and willing to work from the ground up you could apply at one of the retail brokerage firms (Schwab, Fidelity, AG Edwards) and start in account administration. Over time you'll have opportunities to get further training and eventually move into client management or portfolio management.
Another path is to start your own advisory firm. But every advisor I know started somewhere first and learned the ropes, built a base of clients, and then left to go out on their own.
I started my firm in 1999, and am very happy that I did. It was hard at first and took longer than I thought, but it has been lots of fun and rewarding to help clients.
mikeapker · 9 years ago