Email FacebookTwitterMenu burgerClose thin

How Much Do Senior Financial Advisors Make?


Becoming a senior financial advisor can open up new avenues for career success. Taking on this type of role can also mean a significant increase in pay. But what’s a typical senior financial advisor salary? The average is around $120,000 annually. However, salaries operate on a range with some advisors earning more and others earning less depending on different factors.

Are you looking to expand the marketing of your financial advisor practice? Try SmartAsset AMP, a holistic client prospecting and marketing automation platform.

What Is the Average Senior Financial Advisor Salary?

Pinning down an exact number for the average salary of a senior financial advisor is difficult, as there’s no single source for this information. There are a number of organizations that collect salary information for advisors, starting with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Here are some of the numbers we were able to find when researching the average senior financial advisor salary:

  • Personal financial advisors earn a median salary of $95,390 per year, according to the BLS.
  • Financial managers earn a median salary of $139,790, according to the BLS.
  • ZipRecruiter puts the national average salary for senior financial advisors at $126,880.
  • According to Indeed, the average base salary for senior advisors is $118,040 annually.
  • Glassdoor reports an average annual salary of $131,000 for senior advisors.

Again, based on these numbers, the average annual pay for a senior advisor appears to be around $120,000. However, salary ranges can vary based on a number of factors, including geographic location.

For example, according to ZipRecruiter, senior financial advisors based in Berkeley, California typically earn $162,261 on average, nearly 30% above the national average pay. The difference in pay ranges for senior advisors may be attributed to differences in the cost of living or demand for professional advice in a particular area.

Experience and your choice of firm can also impact your earning potential as a senior advisor. Salaries may be higher for advisors with more years of experience. Likewise, the more prestigious or renowned an advisory firm is, the more it may pay its top-level employees.

Senior Financial Advisor Job Description

Financial advisors researching the salary range for senior financial advisors.

What does a senior financial advisor do? Specific job descriptions for senior advisors can vary from one firm to the next but generally, the responsibilities include:

  • Meeting with clients regularly to conduct financial reviews and offer investment advice.
  • Developing personalized financial plans in collaboration with a portfolio manager.
  • Assisting clients in finding solutions to financial challenges and creating a framework for achieving their goals.
  • Overseeing the operational and administrative tasks associated with managing client accounts.
  • Partnering with associate advisors and financial advisors to nurture client relationships.
  • Acting as a mentor or coach for members of the advisory team.
  • Promoting a positive workplace culture and participating in or leading strategic initiatives.
  • Encourage and further company compliance with all applicable state and regulatory guidelines.
  • Participate in marketing efforts to help build brand awareness and underscore the company’s reputation.
  • Developing professional relationships in order to further company growth.

In short, senior advisors are a vital part of an advisory team. At a minimum, a senior advisor must be comfortable with leading and taking on a greater range of duties than they have in previous roles.

What’s Required to Become a Senior Financial Advisor

Becoming a senior financial advisor and unlocking a higher salary typically means possessing certain skills, experience and professional certifications. Typically, senior advisors are expected to have the following:

  • A demonstrated track record of managing and growing an advisory practice, with an emphasis on providing a superior client experience.
  • Proven leadership skills, with experience in facilitating and overseeing team projects.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including communication skills and customer service skills.
  • Strong attention to detail and solid organization skills, along with effective time management skills.
  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree, preferably in a field that’s related to finance, business or accounting.
  • A certified financial planner designation, or a willingness to obtain one.
  • A Series 65 license, or a plan of action to obtain one within a reasonable time frame.
  • Three to 10 years of experience working with clients in an advisory capacity.

If you’re already working as a financial advisor, you may meet many of these criteria already. Advisory firms may also look for other qualifications, such as proficiency in a second language, experience working with a particular customer relationship management (CRM) software program or extensive knowledge of specific investment funds.

Specialized fields may also require specialized experience. For example, if you’re interested in transitioning from working with individual clients to corporate clients, you may need to be able to demonstrate some expertise in that area to get on a firm’s radar. Reading individual job descriptions from specific firms can give you a better idea of what hiring managers are looking for when recruiting new advisors.

Benefits of Becoming a Senior Financial Advisor

Earning a competitive salary as a senior financial advisor is a strong incentive to consider this type of role. Along with higher pay, advisory firms can also extend other benefits, such as:

  • Opportunities to earn quarterly or annual bonuses
  • Merit-based pay raises
  • Access to a company retirement plan
  • Health insurance and life insurance
  • Continuing education assistance
  • Paid professional dues
  • Vacation and sick leave benefits

There are also some intangible benefits to be had as well. As a senior advisor, you’re in a position to assist in growing your firm and building its reputation in the industry. You also have opportunities to continue working with clients in order to help them achieve their most important financial goals. And finally, you have a chance to help shape the careers of the next generation of advisors to come by acting in a mentoring role.

All of those things can leave you with a tremendous sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that it’s impossible to assign a dollar amount to. In short, a career as a senior financial advisor can be exceptionally rewarding not only financially, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Bottom Line

A senior financial advisor meeting with clients.

Researching senior financial advisor salary ranges is a logical step if you’re ready to take your career to the next level. After all, you want to feel that you’re being fairly compensated for the work that you’ll be doing and for the skills, experience and knowledge you’re bringing to the table. Brushing up on your negotiating skills could help you maximize your salary potential once you’re ready to begin your job search.

Tips for Growing Your Advisory Business

  • SmartAsset AMP (Advisor Marketing Platform) is a holistic marketing service financial advisors can use for client lead generation and automated marketing. Sign up for a free demo to explore how SmartAsset AMP can help you expand your practice’s marketing operation. Get started today.
  • Becoming a certified financial planner is typically a prerequisite for pursuing a career as a senior advisor. One thing to remember is that you’re required to complete continuing education requirements in order to maintain your certification. That can be costly if you’re paying to attend classes, lectures, workshops or webinars. Researching options for finding free continuing education credits can help you maintain your CFP designation without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Photo credit: © Zigic, © Zigic, © Zigic