A private banker applies financial acumen and economic knowledge to help a high net-worth client reach short-term investment goals or long-term retirement objectives. A private banker, also known as a personal financial adviser or a wealth management specialist, occasionally may provide investment advice to an organisation such as a pension fund or a philanthropic institution.
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A private banker evaluates a client's financial data or investment objectives and recommends strategies based on the client's risk profile and personal financial statements. A client's risk profile indicates whether he prefers risky assets, such as stocks and futures, or favours less-risky products, such as bonds and U.S. treasury notes. A client's financial statements include statements of financial position, profit and loss, cash flow and equity. A personal financial adviser also may analyse the risk profile of a university endowment fund, a charitable organisation or a retirement fund and recommend appropriate investment options.
A wealth management specialist typically holds a four-year college degree in finance, accounting or investment analysis. A private banker also may have a liberal arts background and receive on-the-job training before performing duties. A Master of Business Administration degree is popular among personal financial advisers, especially those who provide advice to high net-worth clients or business organisations. Alternatively, a wealth manager may hold a professional certification such as the chartered financial analyst, or CFA, designation.
Salary levels in private banking usually depend on firm size, industry and academic training. A wealth manager's compensation also may be affected by professional credentials, seniority and length of service. This compensation typically includes a salary and a cash or stock bonus. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that median wages of personal financial advisers were £44,882 in 2008, with the middle 50 per cent earning from £30,153 to £77,538.
Private bankers have many career growth opportunities. As personal financial advisers, they can parlay their business acumen and financial markets knowledge into a career in research or teaching. A wealth manager may advance professionally by seeking a graduate degree, such a master's or a doctorate in economics, or receiving a professional license such as the certified public accountant. A personal financial adviser may move into senior roles after five to 10 years.
Private bankers typically work standard business hours, such as 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, seasonal business demands may require longer office stays. A wealth management specialist also may schedule work hours to accommodate a client. For example, a private banker working for a North Dakota-based investment bank may stay in the office until late at night to have a conference call with a Paris-based client and a colleague in Tokyo.
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