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Become An Equity Trader

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Working As An Equity Trader

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Processing Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $81,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Equity Trader Do

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents connect buyers and sellers in financial markets. They sell securities to individuals, advise companies in search of investors, and conduct trades.

Duties

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents typically do the following:

  • Contact prospective clients to present information and explain available services
  • Offer advice on the purchase or sale of particular securities
  • Buy and sell securities, such as stocks and bonds
  • Buy and sell commodities, such as corn, oil, and gold
  • Monitor financial markets and the performance of individual securities
  • Analyze company finances to provide recommendations for public offerings, mergers, and acquisitions
  • Evaluate cost and revenue of agreements

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents deal with a wide range of products and clients. Agents spend much of the day interacting with people, whether selling stock to an individual or discussing the status of a merger deal with a company executive. The work is usually stressful because agents deal with large amounts of money and have time constraints.

A security or commodity can be traded in two ways: electronically or in an auction-style setting on the floor of an exchange market. Markets such as the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation system (NASDAQ) use vast computer networks rather than human traders to match buyers and sellers. Others, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), rely on floor brokers to complete transactions. 

The following are examples of types of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents:

Brokers sell securities and commodities directly to individual clients. They advise people on appropriate investments based on the client’s needs and financial ability. The people they advise may have very different levels of expertise in financial matters.

Finding clients is a large part of a broker’s job. They must create their own client base by calling from a list of potential clients. Some agents network by joining social groups, and others may rely on referrals from satisfied clients.

Investment bankers connect businesses that need money to finance their operations or expansion plans with investors who are interested in providing that funding. This process is called underwriting, and it is the main function of investment banks. The banks first sell their advisory services to help companies issue new stocks or bonds, and then the banks sell the issued securities to investors.

Some of the most important services that investment bankers provide are initial public offerings (IPOs), and mergers and acquisitions. An IPO is the process by which a company becomes open for public investment by issuing its first stock. Investment bankers must estimate how much the company is worth and ensure that it meets the legal requirements to become publicly traded.

Investment bankers also connect companies in mergers (when two companies join together) and acquisitions (when one company buys another). Investment bankers provide advice throughout the process to ensure that the transaction goes smoothly.

Investment banking sales agents and traders carry out buy-and-sell orders for stocks, bonds, and commodities from clients and make trades on behalf of the firm itself. Investment banks primarily employ these workers, although some work for commercial banks, hedge funds, and private equity groups. Because markets fluctuate so much, trading is a split-second decisionmaking process. Slight changes in the price of a trade can greatly affect its profitability, making the trader’s decision extremely important.

Floor brokers work directly on the floor—a large room where trading is done—of a securities or commodities exchange. After a trader places an order for a security, floor brokers negotiate the price, make the sale, and forward the purchase price to the trader.

Financial services sales agents consult on a wide variety of banking, securities, insurance, and related services to individuals and businesses, often catering the services to meet the client’s financial needs. They contact potential clients to explain their services, which may include the handling of checking accounts, loans, certificates of deposit, individual retirement accounts, credit cards, and estate and retirement planning.

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How To Become An Equity Trader

A bachelor’s degree is required for entry-level jobs, and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) is useful for advancement.

Education

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents generally must have a bachelor’s degree to get an entry-level job. Studies in business, finance, accounting, or economics are important, especially for larger firms. Many firms hire summer interns before their last year of college, and those who are most successful are offered full-time jobs after they graduate.

Numerous agents eventually get a master’s degree in business administration (MBA), which is often a requirement for high-level positions in the securities industry. Because the MBA exposes students to real-world business practices, it can be a major asset for jobseekers. Employers often reward MBA holders with higher level positions, better compensation, and large signing bonuses.

Training

Most employers provide intensive on-the-job training, teaching employees the specifics of the job, such as the products and services offered. Trainees in large firms may receive technical instruction in securities analysis and selling strategies. Firms often rotate their trainees among various departments to give them a broad understanding of the securities business.

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents must keep up with new products and services and other developments. They attend conferences and training seminars regularly.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Brokers and investment bankers must register as representatives of their firm with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). To obtain the license, potential agents must pass a series of exams.

Many other licenses are available, each of which gives the holder the right to sell different investment products and services. Traders and some other sales representatives also need licenses, although these vary by firm and specialization. Financial services sales agents may need to be licensed, especially if they sell securities or insurance. Most firms offer training to help their employees pass the licensing exams.

Agents who are registered with FINRA must attend continuing education classes to keep their licenses. Courses consist of computer-based training on legal requirements or new financial products or services.

Although not always required, certification enhances professional standing and is recommended by employers. Brokers, investment bankers, and financial services sales agents can earn the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification, sponsored by the CFA Institute. To qualify for this certification, applicants need a bachelor’s degree or 4 years of related work experience and must pass three exams, which require several hundred hours of independent study. Applicants also must have an international passport. Exams cover subjects in accounting, economics, securities analysis, financial markets and instruments, corporate finance, asset valuation, and portfolio management. Applicants can take the exams while they are getting the required work experience.

Advancement

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents usually advance to senior positions in a firm by accumulating a greater number of accounts. Although beginners often service the accounts of individual investors, they may eventually service large institutional accounts, such as those of banks and retirement funds.

After taking a series of tests, some brokers become portfolio managers and have greater authority to make investment decisions regarding an account. For more information on portfolio managers, see the profile on financial analysts.

Some experienced sales agents become branch office managers and supervise other sales agents while continuing to provide services for their own clients. A few agents advance to top management positions or become partners in their firms.

Many investment banks use an “up or out” policy, in which entry-level investment bankers are either promoted or terminated after 2 or 3 years. Investment banks use this policy to ensure that entry-level positions are not occupied long term, allowing the bank to bring in new workers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. To judge the profitability of potential deals, securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents must have strong analytical skills. This includes computer programming skills which they use to analyze financial products. 

Customer-service skills. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents must be persuasive and make clients feel comfortable with the agent’s recommendations.

Decisionmaking skills. Investment banking traders must make split-second decisions, with large sums of money at stake.

Detail oriented. Investment bankers must pay close attention to the details of initial public offerings and mergers and acquisitions because small changes can have large consequences.

Initiative. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents must create their own client base by making “cold” sales calls to people to whom they have not been referred and to people not expecting the call.

Math skills. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents need to be familiar with mathematical tools, including investment formulas.

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Average Yearly Salary
$81,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$38,000
Min 10%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$173,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.
Highest Paying City
Charlotte, NC
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does an Equity Trader make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Equity Trader in the United States is $81,648 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $38,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $173,000.

Real Equity Trader Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Director, Equity Trader Citigroup Global Markets Inc. New York, NY Mar 23, 2015 $250,000
Equity Exotics Trader Jpmorgan Chase & Co. New York, NY Oct 01, 2014 $225,000
Senior Equity Derivatives Trader RBS Securities Inc. Stamford, CT Dec 01, 2009 $200,000
Equity Derivatives Trader Capstone Investment Advisors, LLC New York, NY Aug 15, 2011 $200,000
European Equity Trader Balyasny Asset Management Chicago, IL Mar 05, 2015 $200,000
Equity Derivatives Trader Argonaut Management L.P. New York, NY Aug 27, 2014 $200,000
Senior Equity Finance/Delta ONE Trader SG Americas Securities, LLC New York, NY Dec 11, 2014 $195,000
Equity Trader IV FMR Co Inc. Boston, MA Oct 06, 2016 $184,371 -
$210,000
Equities Trader XP Securities LLC Miami, FL Dec 04, 2015 $180,000
Equities Trader Jpmorgan Chase & Co. New York, NY Jul 19, 2012 $175,000 -
$400,000
Equity Finance/Delta ONE Trader SG Americas Securities, LLC New York, NY Oct 09, 2014 $175,000
Senior Trader-Volatility/Equity & Corporate Trad SG Americas Securities, LLC New York, NY Apr 07, 2013 $160,000
Exotics Trader, Equity Derivatives JP Morgan Chase & Co New York, NY Aug 12, 2016 $160,000
Equities Trader Analyst Elevation LLC Stamford, CT Oct 14, 2014 $153,774
Global Equities Trader RBC Capital Markets, LLC New York, NY Oct 07, 2014 $150,000
Senior European Equities Trader Quad Capital LLC New York, NY Sep 28, 2010 $150,000
Equities Trader Analyst Elevation LLC Stamford, CT Nov 04, 2014 $150,000
Trader, Structured Equity Derivatives Group Natixis North America Inc. New York, NY Mar 01, 2010 $150,000
Equities Trader Analyst Elevation LLC Westport, CT Jun 24, 2013 $150,000
Quantitative Equity Trader Graham Capital Management L.P. CT Sep 06, 2011 $150,000
European Equities Trader Aldersgate Group New York, NY Nov 07, 2011 $120,000
Equities Trader XP Securities LLC Miami, FL Sep 01, 2015 $120,000
European Equities Trader Aldersgate Im Trading New York, NY Nov 14, 2011 $120,000
Trader, Global Equities RBC Capital Markets Corporation New York, NY Sep 13, 2010 $120,000 -
$150,000
Equity Trader Jacob Levy Equity Management, Inc. Florham Park, NJ Jun 12, 2011 $117,480
Principal Securities and Equities Trader INTL Fcstone Inc. Miami, FL Dec 23, 2016 $115,000 -
$125,000
Senior Equities Trader The Northern Trust Company Chicago, IL Mar 08, 2010 $102,600

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Top Skills for An Equity Trader

  1. Equity
  2. Technical Analysis
  3. Financial Markets
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Engaged in multiple proprietary equity trading tactics designed to maximize gain under specific risk-management guidelines.
  • Combined momentum, technical analysis and event driven research to develop trading strategies.
  • Analyzed financial markets in order to make decisions on the appropriate trading style and completed investment transactions requested by portfolio managers.
  • Traded NASDQ listed equities for the industry leading self clearing broker dealer specializing in the trading of domestic equities.
  • Traded NYSE equities utilizing in-house trading strategies and proprietary order placement utility software.

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Top 10 Best States for Equity Traders

  1. New York
  2. Connecticut
  3. Minnesota
  4. Massachusetts
  5. New Jersey
  6. South Dakota
  7. Illinois
  8. Kansas
  9. Vermont
  10. Delaware
  • (83 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (41 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)

Equity Trader Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,687 Equity Trader resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Equity Trader Resume

View Resume Examples

Equity Trader Demographics

Gender

Male

79.3%

Unknown

11.4%

Female

9.3%
Ethnicity

White

55.6%

Asian

15.2%

Hispanic or Latino

14.6%

Black or African American

10.6%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

27.2%

Mandarin

13.9%

Chinese

11.1%

French

9.4%

Japanese

7.2%

Russian

5.6%

Cantonese

3.9%

Korean

2.8%

Portuguese

2.8%

Polish

2.8%

Hindi

2.2%

Hebrew

2.2%

Armenian

1.7%

Greek

1.7%

Italian

1.7%

German

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Swahili

0.6%

Swedish

0.6%

Marathi

0.6%
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Equity Trader Education

Schools

New York University

9.9%

Fordham University

9.0%

Northeastern University

7.9%

DePaul University

6.7%

Columbia University

5.6%

Baruch College of the City University of New York

5.4%

Pace University - New York

4.9%

University of Texas at Austin

4.9%

Saint John's University - New York

4.5%

Pennsylvania State University

4.3%

Villanova University

4.0%

Boston University

4.0%

Hofstra University

4.0%

University of Pennsylvania

3.6%

Cornell University

3.6%

Florida International University

3.6%

University of Delaware

3.6%

University of Chicago

3.6%

Boston College

3.4%

Harvard University

3.4%
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Majors

Finance

36.7%

Business

22.2%

Economics

12.5%

Accounting

6.3%

Political Science

2.9%

Marketing

2.9%

Psychology

2.1%

Law

2.0%

Management

1.7%

Business Economics

1.6%

Computer Science

1.5%

International Business

1.2%

Mathematics

1.1%

Communication

1.0%

History

0.9%

Liberal Arts

0.8%

Real Estate

0.7%

Biology

0.7%

English

0.7%

Project Management

0.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

58.0%

Masters

27.9%

Other

8.3%

Doctorate

2.4%

Associate

1.6%

Certificate

1.4%

Diploma

0.2%

License

0.2%
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