How to Become a Financial Regulator

With the increasing regulations on financial institutions, advisory and regulating jobs are much easier to come by. This means that big money companies are adding new hires almost daily. Goldman Sachs added 2,800 people to its staff just in 2015. So, if you’re into finance and think a job on Wall Street might be the way to go, here’s what you need to know to get your foot in the door.

What is a financial regulator?

A financial regulator can be defined as “a person or organization that has been given the official job of making sure that banks, financial businesses, etc. act in a responsible way and do not break the law.” But the actual jobs this term encompasses are fairly broad.

In other words, if you search for a “regulator” job on Indeed, your results will display jobs such as compliance officer, compliance analyst, regulatory compliance manager, litigation officer, risk management officer, etc. Each agency may word the position titles a little differently, but the jobs are basically the same.

What kind of degree do I need to become a financial regulator?

Some people think that a job in regulating means you need an accounting or law degree, but that’s not necessarily the case. Almost any business degree, including general business, business administration, and finance will be a good starting point. And contrary to what used to be the norm, you can usually get an entry level position with just an undergraduate degree. If you wish to advance, a master’s degree might be a good thing to pursue on the side, but usually promotions happen because someone shows an incredible aptitude for the business. In fact, most people in this field start out in some other area, like stock brokering, and then end up in a compliance or regulatory role.

What certification do I need to become a financial regulator?

While getting started in this career won’t require you to be certified, the certifications could help advance you further and faster within your organization. You have several options to choose from for these certifications: NAFCU Certified Compliance Officer, ABA Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager, or IAFM Certified Compliance Officer. You will also, at some point, likely be required by your company to obtain licensing within the securities field. But there are resources online, such as Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam Prep to help you learn about and be more prepared for the test.

What is the job outlook for financial regulators?

Financial regulators can be found in almost any financial entity. The highest paid positions are generally with the big guys on Wall Street, like Charles Schwab or Goldman Sachs. You can also work for the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or large banking institutions. Job growth is pretty steadily increasing for these types of jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that there were 52,500 jobs for financial examiners just in 2016. And the median salary is reportedly around $81,000. Compliance officers average around $71,000 and the demand for this job is steadily increasing.

There has never been a better time to get your foot in the door as a financial regulator. People in these types of positions tend to only move up the ladder and get consistent salary increases. You don’t need an advanced degree to get started. If you have a knack for finances and desire a position in regulations and compliance, start out in any financial position you can land with a good company and work your way into the field from there. Your on-the-job training will be more valuable than any amount of higher education you could receive.