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According to a new report, students who want to break into the financial advisory industry should focus on their interpersonal skills as well as their credentials.

For example, 71% of finance professionals believe students should pass their Certified Financial Planner exam before graduating, CRM provider Redtail Technology said. The findings are based on a survey of 4,257 respondents, 93% of whom worked in financial services and 7% were students looking to get into the field.

Students, meanwhile, ranked the CFP exam only fourth in importance – only 17% plan to take it before graduation, compared to 32% who plan to take Series 7, 28% who plan to take Series 65 and 23% who plan to take Series 66, according to the survey.

Finance professionals also emphasize interpersonal skills as a particularly desirable trait in new hires, with 91% voting for it as one of the top desired skills, Redtail says. This was followed by technical financial planning knowledge, prospecting and marketing skills, and fintech knowledge, according to the survey.

Accreditation and social skills or lack thereof are not the main barriers to entering the industry, however, says Redtail. Around 46.5% of respondents said the main obstacle was money. This was followed by 38.1% who mentioned the license, 20.6% who said it was certification and only 10.4% who said it was about finding a sponsor broker, according to the survey.

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