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Become A Stock Broker

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Working As A Stock Broker

  • 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

  • $84,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Stock Broker 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 A Stock Broker

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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Stock Broker Career Paths

Stock Broker
Finance Advisor Account Executive Regional Sales Manager
Sales Vice President
12 Yearsyrs
Finance Advisor Account Executive
Senior Sales Executive
8 Yearsyrs
Finance Advisor Account Executive Branch Manager
Manager, Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Loan Officer Senior Loan Officer Branch Manager
Vice President And Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Loan Officer Underwriter Account Manager
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Loan Officer Team Leader Sales Manager
Sales And Marketing Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Finance Consultant Consultant Regional Sales Manager
Regional Sales Director
11 Yearsyrs
Finance Consultant Consultant General Manager
Regional Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Finance Consultant Finance Analyst Project Manager
Portfolio Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Trader Analyst Account Manager
Commercial Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Trader Analyst Owner
Owner And Sales
7 Yearsyrs
Trader Consultant Regional Sales Manager
Senior Vice President, Sales
14 Yearsyrs
Equity Trader Finance Analyst Portfolio Manager
Investments Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Equity Trader Investment Analyst Fund Accountant
Mutual Fund Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Equity Trader Finance Representative Finance Sales Consultant
Client Relationship Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Personal Banker Credit Analyst Relationship Manager
Senior Relationship Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Personal Banker Business Banker Branch Manager
Business Development Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Personal Banker Sales Specialist Sales Account Manager
Business Development Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Broker Underwriter Assistant Branch Manager
Branch Service Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Stock Broker?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Do you work as a Stock Broker?

Average Yearly Salary
$84,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$43,000
Min 10%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$163,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
The National Security Group
Highest Paying City
Westbury, NY
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Stock Broker make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Stock Broker in the United States is $84,519 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $43,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $163,000.

Real Stock Broker Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Stock Broker Worldwide Wealth Management Corp New York, NY Mar 05, 2010 $68,000
Stock Broker EJ Sterling, LLC Miami, FL May 22, 2014 $66,888
Stock Broker National Securities Corporation New York, NY Sep 27, 2015 $65,156
Stock Broker National Securities Corporation New York, NY Dec 30, 2016 $61,546
Stock Broker National Securities Corporation New York, NY Dec 26, 2016 $61,483
Stock Broker National Securities Corporation New York, NY Dec 30, 2016 $61,483
Stock Broker National Securities Corporation New York, NY Sep 11, 2013 $54,992
Stock Broker Global Arena Capital Corp. New York, NY Oct 01, 2013 $54,992
Stock Broker National Securities Corporation New York, NY Oct 01, 2009 $50,025
Stock Broker National Brokerage Financial, LLC Islandia, NY Jan 17, 2012 $50,000
Stock Broker Global Arena Capital Corp. New York, NY Oct 01, 2010 $49,858
Stock Broker National Securities Corporation New York, NY Sep 30, 2012 $49,671
Stock Broker National Securities Corporation New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $49,671
Stock Broker National Securities Corporation New York, NY Sep 26, 2012 $49,128
Stock Broker Global Arena Capital Corp. New York, NY Jun 17, 2011 $46,218
Stock Broker National Securities Corporation Melville, NY Sep 11, 2013 $39,757
Stock Broker Aisha Holding Corporation Miami, FL Sep 26, 2012 $38,958
Stock Broker Aisha Holding, Inc. Miami, FL Apr 01, 2010 $38,438
Stock Broker Aisha Holding, Inc. Miami, FL Sep 25, 2010 $38,438
Stock Broker Aisha Holding, Inc. Miami, FL Jul 15, 2009 $38,438
Stock Broker Aisha Holding, Inc. Miami, FL Oct 01, 2009 $38,438

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Top Skills for A Stock Broker

  1. Stock Market
  2. Investment Strategies
  3. Financial Products
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Served as the director of the Capital Market and responsible for the execution of all transactions in the Venezuelan stock market.
  • Advised clients on organizational issues to minimize federal and state tax liabilities and improve their profit margins and overall investment strategies.
  • Passed all licensing examinations required to sell financial products to include insurance based annuities.
  • Developed financial plans, researched investments and supervised client portfolios.
  • Provide exceptional customer service to affluent individuals and active traders for brokerage, retirement, business and custodial accounts.

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Top 10 Best States for Stock Brokers

  1. New York
  2. Connecticut
  3. Vermont
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Illinois
  6. New Jersey
  7. Indiana
  8. Kansas
  9. South Dakota
  10. Delaware
  • (57 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (45 jobs)
  • (15 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)

Stock Broker Demographics

Gender

Male

76.7%

Female

13.9%

Unknown

9.4%
Ethnicity

White

58.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.9%

Black or African American

10.6%

Asian

9.5%

Unknown

4.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

34.4%

French

14.0%

Chinese

9.7%

Hindi

4.3%

Russian

4.3%

Italian

4.3%

German

4.3%

Mandarin

3.2%

Portuguese

3.2%

Japanese

3.2%

Arabic

3.2%

Vietnamese

2.2%

Greek

2.2%

Swedish

1.1%

Romanian

1.1%

Gujarati

1.1%

Korean

1.1%

Danish

1.1%

Turkish

1.1%

Norwegian

1.1%
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Stock Broker Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

9.8%

Saint John's University - New York

6.9%

Fordham University

6.3%

Arizona State University

5.7%

New York University

5.2%

University of North Texas

5.2%

Pace University - New York

5.2%

Baruch College of the City University of New York

4.6%

University of Connecticut

4.6%

University of Florida

4.6%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.6%

State University of New York Stony Brook

4.6%

Hofstra University

4.6%

San Francisco State University

4.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.0%

Nassau Community College

4.0%

University of Utah

4.0%

University of Texas at Austin

4.0%

Montclair State University

4.0%

Northeastern University

4.0%
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Majors

Business

28.0%

Finance

22.4%

Economics

7.5%

Accounting

6.0%

Management

4.7%

Marketing

4.3%

Communication

4.2%

Political Science

3.0%

Law

2.5%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Psychology

2.3%

History

2.2%

Liberal Arts

2.0%

English

1.6%

Education

1.5%

Business Economics

1.5%

Biology

1.0%

Real Estate

1.0%

General Sales

1.0%

Computer Science

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.3%

Other

18.1%

Masters

17.5%

Associate

5.7%

Certificate

2.7%

Doctorate

1.7%

License

0.6%

Diploma

0.3%
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