Advise and Prosper

Advise and Prosper

This is the time of the year when many young people complete their college education and enter the world of work. If you are reading the newspapers, the job creation in the formal sector has been abysmal over the last few years. Every year, over one crore young people enter the job market and roughly half of them have a college degree. In today’s column we will see the exciting career opportunities that open up to you if you are interested in personal finance.


First on this list is becoming an independent registered investment advisor (RIA). By becoming an RIA, you can advise people on managing their investments and earn a fee. This is a professional activity, much like being a dentist or a lawyer. You work for yourself and build a clientele. Over time, if you are good, you will build a trusted and growing pool of clients. This is an entrepreneurial career that you can continue well into your 60s and 70s. To become an RIA, you need to be registered with SEBI. You also need to clear an exam or two conducted by NISM (National Institute of Securities Markets). Why is becoming an RIA such a cool thing? As you are aware, the penetration of investment products in India is quite low compared to developed economies. As India becomes more prosperous, more and more people would need investment advice. Secondly, this is a career that you can pursue even from small towns. Instead of migrating to already crowded cities and living a difficult life, you can offer a professional service in your home town and live a happy life.

The second career opportunity is to become an investment product distributor. You can get attractive commissions from the manufacturers of financial products such as mutual funds. Like the RIA, this is also an entrepreneurial career and over a period of time, you can do very well financially by having your own clients.


Please note that becoming an RIA and a distributor are mutually exclusive. You can either be an advisor or an agent. In the not so distant past, agents used to give financial advice as well. We all know of insurance agents who advise us on the type of insurance that we need to buy – the one that gives them maximum commission. SEBI has put an end to this and has separated advisory and sales activities.

So, rather than joining the crowd and pursuing careers that require you to migrate to big cities and live a hand to mouth existence with jobs where you might become irrelevant beyond the age of 40, explore these opportunities and see if you have talent and interest in personal finance. The country has a dearth of good RIAs and trustworthy fund distributors. Good luck!

The writer is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and co-founder, Money Wizards.

orginally published in THE HINDU EDGE on 9-June-2018

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