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Become An Options Trader

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Working As An Options Trader

  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $71,550

    Average Salary

Example Of What An Options Trader does

  • Utilized strong technical analysis skills; developed trading models, as well as risk management strategies.
  • Traded both lean hog and live cattle futures and options at the CME.
  • Manage risk on day to day basis.
  • Increased P/L and trading size on a quarterly basis while limiting risk exposure consistently for five quarters.
  • Established and built a new U.S. Institutional Options and ETF Sales and Trading business within RBC Capital Markets.
  • Invested in equity stock options for private investors.
  • Traded Treasury Bonds, S&P 500, and currency options.
  • Opened Eurodollar floor presence in 2010.
  • Led a team of two options traders to manage a portfolio of 500 listed equity options contracts.
  • ResponsibilitiesPlaced stock option trades for Merrill Lynch customers.AccomplishmentsObtained Series 7 and Series 66 Licenses.
  • Trade equity options and index options.
  • Coordinate a team of sales traders across the various option exchanges (CBOE, PHLX, and NYSE Arca).
  • Interpret economic calendars and their impact on financial markets and select futures prices and quantities for overnight hedging.
  • Research and evaluate macro and micro economic trends and market conditions to develop strategic trading plans.
  • Developed a patented software package written in C++ for options risk analysis and bookkeeping.
  • Traded Gold Options on the COMEX and Crude Oil at the NYMEX.
  • Traded Crude Oil Options at the NYMEX.
  • Analyze various option strategies before placing the trade.
  • Completed the intensive internal options market making training program.
  • Utilized order flow volume analysis to identify strength of trend and potential change of trend.

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How To Become An Options 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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Options Trader jobs

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Options Trader Typical Career Paths

Options Trader Demographics

Gender

  • Male

    87.9%
  • Female

    9.6%
  • Unknown

    2.6%

Ethnicity

  • White

    81.8%
  • Asian

    9.1%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    7.0%
  • Unknown

    1.6%
  • Black or African American

    0.5%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    23.1%
  • Chinese

    15.4%
  • Mandarin

    10.3%
  • German

    7.7%
  • Japanese

    7.7%
  • French

    7.7%
  • Cantonese

    7.7%
  • Sanskrit

    2.6%
  • Dutch

    2.6%
  • Cherokee

    2.6%
  • Hindi

    2.6%
  • Polish

    2.6%
  • Navajo

    2.6%
  • Tamil

    2.6%
  • Italian

    2.6%
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Options Trader

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Options Trader Education

Options Trader

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Real Options Trader Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Oil Options Trader Mercuria Energy America, Inc. Greenwich, CT Sep 01, 2014 $300,000
Director, Trader/FX Options UBS AG New York, NY Jul 23, 2015 $216,000 -
$225,000
Director, Trader/FX Options UBS Securities LLC New York, NY Mar 08, 2016 $206,500 -
$225,000
Director, Options Trader UBS Securities LLC New York, NY Jun 20, 2016 $206,500 -
$210,000
FX Options Trader HSBC Bank USA, N.A. New York, NY Jun 01, 2016 $201,510
Senior Interest Rate Options Trader SG Americas Securities, LLC New York, NY Oct 05, 2016 $201,510
Senior Euro FX Options Trader RBS Securities Inc. Stamford, CT Jun 16, 2013 $200,000
Options Trader Hess Energy Trading Company, LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2010 $200,000
Director, FX Options Trader Unicredit Bank AG New York, NY Aug 19, 2013 $195,000 -
$220,000
Vice President, FX Options Trader Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited New York, NY Feb 25, 2015 $180,000
Vice President, Equity Index Options Trader RBC Capital Markets, LLC New York, NY Sep 08, 2015 $175,000
Options Trader BP America Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2010 $175,000
Senior FX Options Trader Hap Trading, LLC New York, NY Apr 25, 2011 $165,000
Vice President, Equity Index Options Trader RBC Capital Markets, LLC New York, NY Apr 21, 2015 $155,834
FX Options Trader Royal Bank of Canada New York, NY Jul 29, 2013 $150,000
Options Trader Harry Capital LLC New York, NY Sep 01, 2009 $150,000
Interest Rates Options Trader SG Americas Securities, LLC New York, NY Sep 10, 2015 $150,000
Options Trader Canaccord Genuity Inc. New York, NY Nov 16, 2015 $150,000
Options Trader Bbl Commodities LP New York, NY Sep 30, 2014 $150,000
Director, EM FX Options Trader UBS Securities LLC Stamford, CT Oct 13, 2010 $138,528 -
$200,000
Director, EM FX Options Trader UBS Securities LLC Stamford, NY Oct 12, 2010 $138,528 -
$200,000
Trader, Interest Rate Options Commonwealth Bank of Australia New York, NY Aug 20, 2013 $125,000
Currency Options Trader RBS Securities Inc. Stamford, CT Jan 09, 2016 $125,000
Vp/Jr. Options Trader & Options Trading Analyst SMBC Capital Markets, Inc. New York, NY Jun 22, 2010 $125,000
Associate Director, Interest Rate Options Trader UBS Securities LLC Stamford, CT Sep 07, 2013 $122,000 -
$155,000
Calendar Spread Options and ARB Options Trader DRW Holdings, LLC. New York, NY Nov 19, 2014 $110,000 -
$130,000
Calendar Spread Options and ARB Options Trader DRW Holdings, LLC New York, NY Mar 27, 2014 $106,704 -
$150,000

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Top Skills for An Options Trader

EquityOptionsPortfolioRiskOrderFlowFinancialMarketsManageRiskP/LMarketConditionsETFCMETechnicalAnalysisCboeStockOptionsOptionStrategiesCurrencyOptionsAmericanStockExchangeOptionTradesMarket-MakerRiskAnalysisOptionsContractsOptionsPositions

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Top Options Trader Skills

  1. Equity Options
  2. Portfolio Risk
  3. Order Flow
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Manage investments and trade equities and equity options for family and personal holdings.
  • Traded volatility discrepancies while limiting portfolio risk.
  • Utilized order flow volume analysis to identify strength of trend and potential change of trend.
  • Interpret economic calendars and their impact on financial markets and select futures prices and quantities for overnight hedging.
  • Utilized technical and fundamental analysis to recognize trade opportunities and responsibly manage risk.

Top Options Trader Employers

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