Financial Institution Jobs: Duties and Requirements

Oct 20, 2021

Financial institutions require employees, just like any other company. This article outlines some of the careers available at financial institutions: managers, analysts, services agents and a broad grouping of administrative and support staff positions.

Essential Information

Careers in financial institutions are varied; job titles can include financial manager, financial analyst, financial services agent, and various support staff. Financial institutions generally includes banks, insurance companies, mortgage lenders and brokerage firms.

Financial Managers Financial Analyst Financial Services Agent Administrative and Support Staff
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree High School diploma or GED
Other Requirements Certification depending on specialization Good math and communication skills; knowledge of laws governing financial industry Customer service skills Customer service skills
Median Salary (2020)* $134,180 $83,660 $64,770 (for all securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents) $41,520 (for all office and administrative support occupations)
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029) * 15% 5% 4% (for all securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents) 0% (for all financial clerks)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

A number of career paths are available in financial institutions including financial manager, financial analyst, financial services agent, and administrative and support staff. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is required for financial managers, financial analysts and financial services agents, while a high school diploma or GED is necessary for administrative or support staff.

Financial Managers

Most financial institutions employ a variety of financial managers who are in charge of areas such as loans, mortgages and financial services. Besides manager, job titles for financial managers can include finance officer, controller or treasurer. Banks often employ managers who are in charge of specific bank branches.

Job Duties

Since there are many different types of financial managers, their duties vary according to their specialization. However, most managers are in charge of specific departments within an institution and must be knowledgeable about the rules and regulations governing their line of work. They must also manage the department's staff and make sure that the department adheres to the institution's guidelines.

Job Requirements

Many employers require a master's degree in business or finance for those working in managerial positions, although some institutions may accept a bachelor's degree. Many institutions prefer managers who have prior experience in their field and experience managing staff.

Depending on their specialization, many managers obtain certification or other types of professional credentials. The Institute of Management Accountants and the Association for Financial Professionals are two of the professional organizations that offer specialized certification exams for managers working in financial institutions.

Career and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected financial managers would see a faster than average increase of 15% in employment opportunities from 2019 to 2029. The median annual wage of these workers was $134,180 in May 2020.

Financial Analysts

Analysts working in financial institutions are an integral part of the investment process by providing advice about potential investment opportunities to their clients. They can work on the buy-side or the sell-side of a variety of investments, such as hedge funds, stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Financial analysts also monitor trends in a number of different sectors in order to advise their clients on the long-term profitability of current or future investments.

Job Duties

Financial analysts typically specialize, either in a specific region, product or investment type. They keep their clients up-to-date about recent market trends and provide analysis of investment futures. Job duties can include working one-on-one with investors, creating forecasts, compiling investment portfolios and keeping an eye on localized economic situations.

Job Requirements

Financial analyst positions typically require a bachelor's or master's degree in a business or finance-related field. Analysts need to have good communication and math skills, as well as knowledge with the specific regulations and laws that govern their field. Due to the globalization of the economy, many employers seek analysts who have experience working in foreign markets and who are fluent in the languages and customs of other countries.

In addition to education, some analyst positions require licensure by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Although it may not be required, many analysts choose to become professionally certified. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a designation offered by the CFA Institute and involves passing a number of exams in areas such as markets, investment management and the economy.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

In the 2019-2029 decade, financial analysts were projected to see an average increase of 5% in job opportunities, stated the BLS. The median salary for financial analysts was $83,660 in 2020.

Financial Services Agents

Financial services agents typically can be found in banks, insurance companies or other financial institutions, where they deal directly with the institution's customers. Agents contact customers and assist them in utilizing their institution's services, which can include retirement accounts, investments or savings and checking accounts. Customers may also contact the agent when they are looking for help with their banking or insurance needs.

Job Duties

Job duties for services agents revolve around meeting with clients, either at the institution or by traveling to the clients' locations. Most financial institutions offer an array of services, so agents need to be knowledgeable of what their institution has to offer and how these services may benefit their customers.

Job Requirements

Financial services agents may be required to have a bachelor's degree in finance, accounting or business, depending on the institution. Many employers prefer agents who have experience working with the public and who have good customer service skills. Services agents often attend industry workshops and conventions in order to stay current in their field.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS projected that securities, commodities and financial service sales agents would see an average job growth of 4% from 2019 to 2029. These workers earned a median salary of $64,770, as reported by the BLS in May 2020.

Office and Administrative Support

These positions include bank tellers, customer service representatives, administrative assistants, as well as billing and posting clerks.

Job Duties

People employed in this capacity often assist customers with paperwork, help them with opening or closing accounts, and perform deposits. They may also assist customers with applying for loans or other services offered by the financial institution. Those working behind the scenes assist managers, analysts and other financial professionals with a myriad of tasks and responsibilities.

Job Requirements

Most administrative and office jobs don't require a college degree, but many positions do require a high school diploma or GED. Because one of the primary duties in many of these jobs is assisting clients, good customer service skills are required. Support staff should be able to operate technology such as fax machines, copiers, calculators, and computer teller systems. Cash handling experience for those employed in a bank may also be necessary.

Career and Salary Information

The BLS reported a little or no change from 2019 to 2029 for all financial clerks, which is about average. The median annual salary for these workers was $41,520 in May 2020.

The most important (and most lucrative) positions at financial institutions require at least a bachelor's degree, but a number of clerk and teller positions are also available for applicants holding only a high school diploma. Positions at financial institutions are expected to grow at a rate comparable to the national average of all occupations, with slightly faster growth for financial analysts and financial service agents.

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