With almost 20 years of experience working as a retirement consultant and financial analyst for corporations such as Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Global Markets, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, James Lukezic has extensive knowledge as a corporate financial advisor in multiple roles. As a graduate from Cornell University, James Lukezic knows what it takes to take a financial career to the next level. He explains how new graduates can become financial advisors in a few steps.
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree and get credentialed.
According to James Lukezic, the first step to becoming a financial advisor is to obtain a bachelor’s degree and preferably a master’s degree or even work towards a CFA designation in a perfect world. Although many people feel tempted to obtain a degree in finance, James Lukezic explains this is not necessary. Having a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance will help, but future financial advisors still need to take certification exams. He recommends taking some courses in estate planning, finance, and investments to help prepare them before the certification exam.
Get an Internship
James Lukezic recommends those who are serious about becoming financial advisors obtain an internship, especially if they don’t pursue a finance degree. Getting an internship in a finance firm will ensure candidates get a glimpse of what it’s like to work in the field. It also gives them hands-on experience in the field. After completing an internship, candidates will feel more confident going to an interview when they’re ready to pursue a full-time job.
Obtain the Licenses and Certifications
The types of certifications candidates need will depend on the services they provide clients, according to James Lukezic. For example, those who plan on selling investment products will have to obtain the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Certification (FINRA) licenses; that means getting a Member of FINRA, a Financial Firm that can sponsor a new representative to start obtaining FINRA licensing and credentials.
Other certifications include:
- Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Qualification Examination (IR)
- Securities Industry Essentials (SIE)
- General Securities Representatives Qualification Examination (GS)
- Uniform Securities State Law Examination
- Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination
- Uniform Combined State Law Examination
Looking for the First Job
Once candidates obtain a bachelor’s degree and pass all of their certification exams, James Lukezic recommends they start the job search process and obtain employment in a training program or at least with a top 10 Wall Street firm. Many people decide to start their careers with a large broker-dealer firm. Starting at a big company gives those starting their careers the opportunity to learn the business in the big leagues. No matter where they start their career, James Lukezic recommends they work for a company that will provide in-depth and hands-on training. He also talks about the importance of getting a mentor – someone who will bring you in on those face to face client meetings instead of keeping you at the office in your cubicle.
When James Lukezic is not advising large corporations, he’s helping the community. James serves as the Chairman of ITF USA, a non-profit organization that assists landmine victims in over 30 countries worldwide. He also has plans to establish a non-profit to help widows in the five boroughs. James Lukezic also serves as Treasurer of the F&A Mason lodges in the Grand Lodge of the State of New York. James Lukezic also belongs to the United States Polo Association, New York City’s Fencers Club, and the American Helicopter Society.