An Insight into Investment Advisor Courses and Training Programs

There is great demand for Investment Advisor professionals in India and here we look at the various Investment Advisor Courses and Training Programs that you can take.

The demand for Investment Advisors has been constantly rising over the last two decades. The story has been no different in India where a fast-growing middle and upper-middle-class is constantly looking to secure its future by opting for the right investment options. Investment Advisory is a relatively new concept in India especially in the Tier – II and Tier-III cities but one that is fast picking up and creating demand for these professionals.

It wasn’t too long ago when investments would mean going to the bank and following the advice of the bankers or calling in neighborhood uncle to buy term-deposit certificates or insurance. However, we are past that era and today most Indians look forward to growing their investments at higher rates instead of trying to shield them with the false notion of safety that traditional investment options offered.

This has led to the constant lookout for Investment Advisors who are trained to offer clients the right advice and direction concerning investments based upon investment goals, the length of the investment, and the risk appetite. If you are planning your career in this direction, it is the right time to take the plunge in this trade. Whether you are starting up your career in this trade or looking for a mid-career switch this career option presents to you immense growth opportunities.

Types of Investment Advisor Courses and Training Programs

There are different types of courses and training programs available in India both at the graduate and post-graduate level for people wanting to work as Financial or Investment Advisors. Here we look at the most popular courses and training programs that one can undertake to build a career in this profession.

  • MBA (Finance) – This is the minimum qualification that you’d need to work as an investment or financial advisor in India. Most firms that employ these professionals lookout for MBA degree holders with specialization in Finance. While specialization in other areas during your MBA won’t deny you the opportunity to work as a Financial Advisor, specialization in Finance is always a bonus and you are likely to land up a job easily.MBA (Finance) teaches you the fundamentals of working as an investment advisor and helping clients with their investment planning, tax planning, and retirement planning. You’d perhaps need to undergo special certifications as you enter the industry but MBA (Finance) remains a good starting point. 
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) – If you have set your eyes on becoming an Investment Advisor this is one of the best courses to take. While this one might be a difficult nut to crack with most aspirants failing in the exam, it is one degree that can offer a boost to your career right at the start and also in the long run. Some equate this course to a 5-year MBA in finance and there are only a couple of thousand professionals in the country who hold this charter.As a CFA your primary role would be to offer investment advisory services to HNI individuals, other institutions, and large businesses. With this charter, you can easily find employment at the highest levels with investment firms, insurance companies, pension funds, banks, and brokerage houses.
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) – Much like the CFA, CFP or Certified Financial Planner also remains one of the most sought out qualifications in this industry. There are less than 2000 people in India who have qualified CFP. This is a global certification and comes with lots of perks. The course program tests your analytical and problem-solving skills more than bookish knowledge and hence only a small section of the students who appear for this exam crack it.Passing the CFP exam ensures that the degree holder is well acquainted with investment planning and wealth management and can offer clients advice on other areas such as insurance planning, tax planning, and estate planning. As the saying goes CFPs don’t have to hunt for jobs as jobs hunt for them.
  • Chartered Mutual Fund Counsellor (CMFC) – Mutual Funds have become one of the most attractive investment avenues for individuals and institutional investors in India thanks to the diversified investment options, higher returns, and liquidity they offer. Most investors especially HNI and institutional investors look for professional advice when it comes to investing their money based on unique goals.If you are looking to create a career in this industry earning your charter would be a good idea. NISM or the National Institute of Securities Markets conducts a certification exam for this and you can take this up. Apart from Mutual Fund houses and advisory firms, you can also work as an independent professional with this charter.
  • Financial Risk Manager (FRM) – If you love solving problems and wish to help your clients mitigate risks you can turn your attention to a career as a Financial Risk Manager. From individuals to businesses and institutions to local governments, the demand for Financial Risk Managers has been growing at a phenomenal rate in India.Several businesses schools in the country offer these courses to the students and once you hold this certification you can work with banks and other financial institutions as a Risk Analyst. You can also undertake the globally recognized course in risk management from GARP (Global Association of Risk Professionals). It is a tough course to pass with less than 50% success rate but those passing it can find employment easily in the industry.
  • Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) – This is a rare qualification in the finance industry awarded by the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association, a globally recognized body. CAIA professionals hold expertise in guiding their clients in alternate investment avenues such as Hedge Funds, Venture Capital, Angel Investments, Private Equity, etc.This course program is different from others on the list as it offers insights into investment avenues beyond the traditional markets such as Money Markets, Mutual Funds, Real Estate, etc. This qualification is in high demand in India as millions of high-net-worth individuals in the country have been actively seeking alternative investment opportunities to multiply their investments.

Other Courses & Training Programs
We have already discussed the best course programs you need to take to make a career as a financial advisor. Most firms offering investment advice to clients usually look for candidates who have a bachelor’s or master’s degree with a specialization in finance and the courses we have mentioned above.

However, if you don’t have these specializations or looking for a mid-career switch as an investment advisor there are several short-term courses that you can think of enrolling in to start your career in this domain. Some of the most popular ones include –

  • Portfolio Management Course – There are several business schools and other institutions in India offering this and similar courses and it involves the basic and advanced concepts in the financial planning and management of portfolios for clients. Here you will learn active and passive management styles of investments and diversify the portfolio for your clients to mitigate risks and ensure higher returns.
  • Corporate Finance Course – Though this might not be an active area of interest for you as an aspiring financial or investment advisor, it is worth exploring this short-term course considering the demand for such professionals in the industry. In this course program, you’d be trained in concepts such as capital budgeting, risk management, and option valuation to name a few. You will also be trained in theories of finance and capital structure and help organizations manage their assets and monetize them.
  • Retirement Planning Course – Retirement planning is gaining huge popularity among Indians. High disposable incomes and high-spending lifestyles have been encouraging Indians to plan for their retirement to ensure they continue to live their dreams. Professionals with specialization in this area are in huge demand and you can sign up for course programs that offer you insights into retirement planning and employee benefit strategies. Such professionals are in high demand in smaller cities where retirement planning wasn’t as popular a concept in the past.
  • Insurance Planning Course – India is an underinsured country but thankfully the awareness around this has been growing in recent years. The demand for professionals who are trained in the art of providing insurance advice has been growing and by taking up a course in this trade you will be able to build a good career for yourself. You will help individuals and businesses mitigate risks and get over their liabilities with insurance.

We have covered the short and long-term course programs that you can take to be an Investment or a Financial Advisor for your clients. This is a booming career option and one that is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years as more Indians join one of the fastest-growing middle classes in the world and look for better investment, insurance, and tax planning options to secure their future. It is important for you as an aspiring Investment or a Financial Advisor to seek the right education and training to excel in this industry.

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