Education and Training Requirements
In high school, take a college-preparatory curriculum that includes classes in economics, computer science, business, English, speech, mathematics, statistics, accounting, psychology, history, social studies, and foreign language.
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in finance, mathematics, business, financial engineering, quantitative finance, accounting, or economics—plus several years of experience—are required to enter the field. Some banks require their private bankers to have master’s degrees in business, finance, or related areas. During college, be sure to take course work in communications, psychology, taxation, insurance, real estate, financial planning, investment strategy, and risk management.
Other Education or Training
The American Bankers Association offers a wealth of in-person and online wealth management and trust continuing education opportunities. Recent offerings included Guide to Ethics for Trust Professionals, Investment Products, Asset Allocation and Portfolio Management, and Planning for Estate Tax. Other opportunities are provided by the Association of International Wealth Management, Investments & Wealth Institute, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education, Association for Financial Professionals, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, CFA Institute, Chartered Alternate Investment Analyst Association, fi360, Institute for Private Investors, Institute of Business and Finance, International Association of Registered Financial Consultants, and the Investment Management Consultants Association.
Many colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate certificates in financial investing, banking practices, business management, alternative investments, real estate, taxation, communications, and accounting that will be useful to aspiring or current private bankers.
The Investments & Wealth Institute offers the Essentials of Investment Consulting Certificate Program. The institute says that the online program, which includes two online courses, “covers fundamental concepts and applications, including portfolio construction, investment types, manager selection, performance measurement, investment policies, and math for managing money for portfolio growth.” The first course (Investment Consulting Process) includes the following modules: Client Discovery, Investment Policy Statements, Portfolio Construction & Risk Management Strategies, Manager Search & Selection, and Perform Portfolio Review and Revision. The second course (Math for Investment Consultants) also consists of five modules: Algebra and Statistics, Time Value of Money and Rates of Return, Fixed Income-Duration and Yield, Measuring Risk, and Performance Measurement.
The Investments & Wealth Institute also provides the Applied Behavioral Finance Certificate Program and the Introduction to Alternative Investments Online Course. The CFA Institute offers the Investment Foundations Certificate Program for those just entering the field.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
Many organizations offer certification to private bankers, including:
- American Bankers Association: certified trust and financial advisor, certified retirement services professional
- American College of Financial Services: chartered financial consultant
- Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education: accredited financial counselor
- Association of International Wealth Management: certified wealth manager, certified international wealth manager
- Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards: certified financial planner
- CFA Institute: chartered financial analyst
- fi360: accredited investment fiduciary, accredited investment fiduciary analyst, professional plan consultant
- Institute of Business and Finance: certified fund specialist, certified annuity specialist, certified estate and trust specialist, certified income specialist, certified tax specialist
- Investment Adviser Association: chartered investment counselor
- Investments & Wealth Institute: certified investment management analyst, chartered private wealth advisor, retirement management advisor
Private bankers must obtain their Series 7 and Series 63, 65, or 66 credentials from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the self-regulatory arm of the investment industry. The Series 7, or General Securities Representative certification, allows you to buy or sell, or solicit the purchase or sale, of all securities products, including corporate securities, municipal securities, municipal fund securities, options, direct participation programs, investment company products, and variable contracts. The Series 63 registration requires knowledge of state securities laws and allows you to be a securities agent. Other firms may require the Series 66 (which covers the same ground as a Series 63, but also certifies you to act as a registered investment adviser) and the Series 65 (which certifies you to act as an investment adviser representative). Private bankers who deal with variable annuities, life insurance, and related products may need to be licensed by state insurance boards.
Most employers require private bankers to pass a background check.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
To become a private banker, you will need a minimum of three years of investment experience and a proven record of generating new business.
Private banking is a relationship-driven career. As a result, private bankers need excellent interpersonal, communication, and presentation skills, and they must be able to develop authentic personal relationships with their clients (i.e., taking an interest in them as individuals and remembering details about their work and families). Other important traits include the ability to multitask, strong ethics and discretion; excellent organizational, time-management, and business development skills; good judgment; a detail-oriented personality; and a keen interest in and knowledge of the investment industry, investment strategies, and credit products (credit cards, residential mortgage products, home equity lines of credit, securities-based loans, etc.).