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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.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Fixed Income Trader||Pine River Capital Management LP||New York, NY||Jan 14, 2013||$500,000 -
|Head of Equity & Fixed Income Brokerage, SR Managi||Banco Espirito Santo de Investimento, S.A.||New York, NY||Jan 03, 2014||$350,000|
|Global Fixed Income Strategist||Wellington Management Company LLP||Boston, MA||Oct 22, 2015||$250,000 -
|Director of Fixed Income Brokerage||GRX Capital Management LLC||New York, NY||Nov 15, 2009||$240,000|
|Head of Fixed Income Investor Relations||JP Morgan Chase & Co||New York, NY||Mar 11, 2016||$225,000|
|European Fixed Income/Intrst Rate Derivatives Anal||Field Street Capital Management LLC||New York, NY||Jan 11, 2014||$200,000|
|European Fixed Income/Intrst Rate Derivatives Anal||Field Street Capital Management, LLC||New York, NY||May 12, 2014||$200,000|
|Senior Short Term Fixed Income Marketer||BANC of America Securities Holdings Corporation||New York, NY||May 24, 2010||$200,000|
|Senior Short Term Fixed Income Marketer||BANC of America Securities, LLC||New York, NY||May 24, 2010||$200,000|
|Fixed Income Specialist||Citigroup Global Markets Inc.||New York, NY||Jul 22, 2013||$200,000|
|Fixed Income (Credit) Trader||Saiers Capital, LLC.||New York, NY||Dec 12, 2014||$200,000 -
|Senior Short Term Fixed Income Marketer||BANC of America Securities LLC||New York, NY||May 24, 2010||$200,000|
|Senior Emerging Markets Fixed Income Trader||Invesco Group Services, Inc.||Atlanta, GA||Nov 09, 2014||$190,000|
|Trader Fixed Income||SG Americas Securities, LLC||New York, NY||Oct 01, 2010||$185,000|
|Director, Fixed Income Valuation Controller/Securitized PR||UBS Services LLC||Weehawken, NJ||Jan 17, 2015||$183,000 -
|Chief Fixed Income Relationship Manager||Knight Equity Markets, L.P.||Jersey City, NJ||Oct 01, 2009||$180,000|
|Chief Fixed Income Relationship Manager||Knight Libertas Holdings LLC||Greenwich, CT||Oct 01, 2009||$180,000|
|Fixed Income Director||BTG Pactual Us Capital Corp.||New York, NY||Nov 22, 2010||$160,680 -
|Fixed Income Syndication Specialist||Santander Investment Securities, Inc.||New York, NY||Mar 23, 2016||$159,200|
|Associate, Fixed Income Syndicate||Bradesco Securities, Inc.||New York, NY||Jan 12, 2016||$150,000|
|Fixed Income Director||BTG Pactual Us Capital LLC||New York, NY||Dec 15, 2013||$141,835 -
|Fixed Income Trader||Saiers Capital, LLC (Formerly Alphabet Management||New York, NY||Feb 11, 2013||$140,000 -
|Director, Fixed Income Valuation Controller/Secu||UBS Services LLC||Jersey City, NJ||Sep 27, 2013||$137,000 -
|Fixed Income Director||BTG Pactual Us Capital Corp.||New York, NY||Dec 21, 2010||$125,882 -
|Head of U.S. Fixed Income Credit Trading||Natixis (Ny Branch)||New York, NY||Nov 02, 2010||$125,500|
|Head of Fixed Income Technology||Raymond James & Associates, Inc.||Memphis, TN||Nov 04, 2016||$125,000|
|Director-Fixed Income Recruiting||Bay Street Advisors LLC||New York, NY||Nov 23, 2009||$125,000|
|Associate, Fixed Income||Citigroup Global Markets Inc.||New York, NY||May 31, 2010||$125,000|
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