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Broker vs. Financial Advisor: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

When it comes to financial planning and investing, working with a broker or financial advisor can be beneficial. These professionals can provide guidance and assistance with making decisions about your money. Though both brokers and financial advisors offer similar services, there are some key differences between the two. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between brokers and financial advisors, and we provide tips for choosing the right professional for your needs.

What is a Broker?

A broker is a professional who buys and sells securities on behalf of their clients. They work with both individual and institutional investors. A broker’s main job is to find the best prices for their clients and to execute trades. They also provide their clients with research and analysis to help them make informed investment decisions. Brokers typically work for brokerages, banks or investment firms. They must be licensed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in order to buy or sell securities.

What is a Financial Advisor?

Financial Advisors provide guidance to clients about how to manage their money. They may offer advice on investment strategies, how to save for retirement, how to plan for major purchases and how to reduce debt. Financial Advisors may also manage their clients’ portfolios, making recommendations about which securities to buy and sell. They typically work with individuals, families and small businesses. Financial Advisors typically have a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics or a related field. They may also be required to obtain a license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Broker vs. Financial Advisor

Here are the main differences between a broker and a financial advisor.

Job Duties

Financial advisors and brokers share some of the same job duties, such as gathering financial information from clients, creating financial plans and advising clients on their options. However, a broker’s job duties are more specific to selling securities. A financial advisor’s job duties are more focused on providing advice about finances without directly recommending products or services.

Brokers are responsible for conducting research on the products they’re selling to ensure they’re competitive in the market. They also have to track client accounts to monitor performance and make adjustments when necessary. Financial advisors also perform market research, but they do so to better advise clients rather than to sell products. Additionally, financial advisors provide client service by answering questions and resolving issues that arise while an account is active.

Job Requirements

Brokers and financial advisors typically need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the field. However, some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree in business administration, economics or another related field. Additionally, both brokers and financial advisors must pass the Series 7 exam, which is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). This exam tests candidates’ knowledge of investment products and strategies. After passing the exam, candidates must also complete a background check and fingerprinting process.

Work Environment

Financial advisors and brokers work in different environments. Brokers typically work for brokerage firms, which are financial institutions that help investors buy and sell securities. They may travel to meet with clients or attend conferences to promote their firm’s services.

Financial advisors usually work as independent consultants or for investment advisory firms. These professionals often work from home offices or collaborate with other employees on projects.


Both brokers and financial advisors need to have excellent communication skills. They use these skills when they meet with clients, whether in person or over the phone, to discuss their financial goals and needs. They also need to be able to clearly explain investment options and strategies so that their clients can make informed decisions.

Brokers also need to have strong sales skills as they are typically working on commission. They need to be able to convince potential clients to invest with them and then continue to provide services that keep those clients happy. Financial advisors, on the other hand, may not need to have as strong of sales skills as they are typically paid a salary plus bonuses. However, they still need to be able to build relationships with clients and maintain a high level of customer satisfaction.

Both brokers and financial advisors need to have an understanding of different investment products, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. They also need to be up-to-date on changes in the market so that they can give accurate advice to their clients. Financial advisors may need to have more in-depth knowledge about tax laws and estate planning so that they can advise their clients on how to best manage their finances.


The average salary for a broker is $76,254 per year, while the average salary for a financial advisor is $77,048 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the type of work you do, your location and your experience level.


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