Certified Investment Advisor


Who Is an Investment Advisor?

Investing is the key to unlock the door to all your financial goals. Investment advisors help individuals make their dreams a reality by guiding them through their investment journey. They understand your financial situation, goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon to develop personalised investment plans that help you achieve long-term financial success.

An investment advisor or an investment consultant may or may not be registered. A registered investment advisor (RIA) is an investment planner who is registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and adheres to strict regulatory standards. These regulations promote the ethical conduct of RIAs which makes sure that the client’s interests are always protected. RIAs often provide comprehensive investment planning services to help clients meet their financial goals.

How to become a registered Investment advisor(RIA)?

Here are the eligibility and certification requirements for an individual to become a certified investment advisor:

Roles and Responsibilities of a Certified Investment Consultant

A certified investment planner has the following responsibilities:

What Does an Investment Planner Do?

You may think that an Investment Advisor only handles your investments, but their role is much broader than that. Here’s a closer look at what an investment advisor actually does:

* A Certified Investment Advisor assesses your financial health by calculating your net worth, which takes into account your income, expenses, assets, debt, and savings. 

* Investment advisors help you set SMART goals and assess your risk profile before making an investment plan. 

* Then, they tailor the investment plan to your specific financial situation, goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon.

* There are different kinds of financial risks associated with investing. Investment planners assess these risks and make strategies to mitigate them, such as diversification. With a diversified portfolio, the risk of capital loss due to the failure of a single asset is minimised.

* They keep you informed about market trends, policy changes, new tax laws, and other economic developments. They also inform you about profitable investment opportunities that you may miss on your own.

* Taxes can significantly eat into your investment returns. Investment advisors are well-versed in tax laws and not only do they teach you about the tax implications of your investments, but also suggest investments to legally reduce your tax burden.

* They help you prepare for a peaceful life after retirement by creating a long-term savings and investment strategy.

* They make sure that you and your loved ones are protected from unexpected circumstances by recommending suitable insurance coverage, as well as helping you establish an emergency fund to provide financial stability from unforeseen expenses. This is important because such situations can force investors to stop their SIPs or liquidate assets, which is not ideal.

* SEBI has strict regulations in place to protect the investors’ interests. Registered investment advisors abide by these guidelines and always put clients’ interests first.

Investment Advisors vs Planners vs Consultants: Which Do You Need?

Investment Advisor

Investment Planner

Investment Consultant

Investment advisors provide general investment advice and strategies to investors. 

Investment planners incorporate other aspects of financial planning, such as tax planning and retirement planning in their services.

Investment consultants give specialised advice to investors. 

Investment advisors can have NISM (National Institute of Securities Markets) certificates, which showcase their expertise on assets such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Investment planners may have the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) certificate, which signifies the highest standards in financial planning.

Investment consultants have specialised certificates like CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), which focuses on market research and risk analysis.

Investment advisors provide services such as portfolio management and wealth management.

Investment planners provide financial planning services such as tax planning, estate planning, risk protection, and goal planning.

Investment consultants provide specialised services like market analysis, risk protection, and alternative investments.

Essentially, if you need general investment advice, you can seek guidance from an investment advisor. If you want a comprehensive financial plan tailored to your needs, you can consult with an investment planner. They will cover various aspects of financial planning in your investment plan to make sure you meet your long-term goals. And in case you are looking for highly specialised investment advice, you can seek investment financial services with the help of a certified investment consultant.

Remember that these three categories of investment professionals are not mutually exclusive. That means that they can overlap in their roles and responsibilities. For example, an investment advisor can also be an investment planner. 


While you can manage your investments on your own, it is highly recommended you seek advice from a certified professional as they are much more experienced and knowledgeable about various products and market conditions. They can give you an unbiased assessment of your financial situation and recommend products that align with your risk profile and financial goals. They can also help you grab attractive opportunities that you might miss on your own, and even after the fees or commission, clients guided by professionals generally earn 2% to 3% more than they would have directly. 

To become an investment advisor, one must have a graduate or postgraduate degree, this differs from firm to firm. One must also have some experience working in the finance field, which again depends on the hiring company. To become registered, one must have a certification accredited by NISM, like Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM), Certified Financial Planner (CCFP) or any other relevant certification to be registered with SEBI.

SEBI registered investment advisors (RIAs) are reliable professionals who offer their clients investment advice and services such as portfolio management, all while following the rules and regulations set by SEBI. These rules ensure that advisors maintain a high standard of integrity and transparency and protect the interests of their clients. 

An investment advisor must have relevant degrees, work experience, a net worth of at least Rs. 5 lakh (for individuals) and NISM certification like Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM) to work as a SEBI-registered investment advisor.

A personal investment manager can help you manage your income effectively. They can create a realistic budget that will allow you to manage your daily expenses and make sure you meet your savings goals regularly. Advisors then recommend investment options based on your risk appetite, financial goals, and overall financial situation. 

If you want to start your career as an investment consultant, you must have a finance-related bachelor’s degree, some work experience in the finance industry, and gain certifications such as CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) or CWM (Chartered Wealth Manager) from SEBI recognised institutions such as NISM. Financial consultants are generally experts in specific areas of investment, so one must also develop that expertise through relevant courses and certifications. 

No, financial advisor is a broad term that covers many professions such as brokers, financial planners, financial analysts, wealth managers, and so on. An investment consultant is a type of financial advisor who specialises in specific areas of investment. So it can be said that an investment consultant is a kind of financial advisor.

A professional investment advisor focuses on the investment aspect of financial planning. They give their clients customised investment advice based on their risk profile, investment horizon, financial goals, and overall financial situation. They also inform clients about the tax implications of investments and monitor their client’s portfolios so necessary readjustments can be made when the client’s financial situation or market conditions change. 

The word financial advisor includes many finance-related professions. Generally, a financial advisor can give you regular advice across a wide variety of financial matters such as debt management, budgeting, investing, tax optimisation, estate planning, risk protection, and insurance. A registered investment advisor (RIA) specialises in investment advice and works under the regulations set by SEBI. A financial advisor may or may not be registered with SEBI

In India, investment advisors are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

The earnings of an investment consultant depend on several factors. An investment consultant can work independently or within a firm, and earn an income through fees, commissions, and salary.  Their level of experience, reputation, and the value of the assets they manage also influence how much they make. So the income of an investment consultant can vary, but it is quite a lucrative career.