Investment Broker Jobs
New investment brokers or trainees are considered entry level positions to the investment department.
Brokers are more likely to work for investment firms than banks, although some banks do offer similar services. Investment brokers are sales people. They spend most of their time on the phone “cold calling” prospects to persuade them to buy a particular stock that is expected to perform well and make a good return on the investor’s money. If the prospect agrees to the sale, the broker electronically notifies the floor of the securities exchange to complete the transaction. After the transaction is finalized, the broker charges a commission for the service.
Most investment or stock brokers earn commission only, or a large part of their salary is commission. Since this is primarily a sales position, you must be comfortable making cold calls and acting in that role. It can be stressful and customers must be told there are no guarantees with any stock sale. There is always risk. The investment broker can learn a great deal about stocks, securities, bonds, and all kinds of investments in this position. However, unless you are a great salesperson and can thrive under stress, it may not be the best career choice for you.
Investment brokers start as trainees. They must utilize industry research on investment products, analyze it and determine which stocks are good choices for their prospective clients and their investment needs and risk tolerances.
The work pace is fast and brokers will have sales goals they are expected to meet to retain their positions with the company.
The number of broker jobs in general (not specifically at banks) is expected to increase at the average rate for most jobs. By 2018, the number of broker jobs will have increased by 8 percent from current levels.
Banks look for brokers who have their bachelor degrees in business, finance, economics, or a related field. Some investment firms may hire non-degreed candidates or candidates who are getting ready to graduate. To advance a career in investment banking, the broker should plan to obtain a master’s degree in business administration. Most banks will not promote brokers unless they earn this degree or are in the process of doing so.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, investment brokers must register as representatives of their firm with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Before new hires or trainees can qualify as registered representatives, they must be an employee of a registered firm for at least four months and pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination (known as the Series 7 Exam) administered by FINRA. The Bureau says that most states also require a second examination, the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination (Series 63 or 66). The Series 63 or 66 tests a broker’s knowledge of the securities business in general, customer protection requirements, and recordkeeping procedures. Most banks offer employees assistance in passing these exams.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
Investment brokers should gain in-depth knowledge of the stock markets and their processes and histories. Brokers should also have knowledge of all federal laws, policies, and procedures when it comes to stocks and securities trading and selling. Each bank will also require the broker to know their investment philosophy and investment product sales procedures.
The most important skill the broker needs to possess is excellent salesmanship, since brokers are first and foremost sales people. Brokers need to have a great deal of self-confidence, even when they often hear “no.” In addition, brokers need to work well under stress and have excellent communication and organizational skills. Strong analytical and math skills are also helpful in this position, as is a general knowledge of basic accounting and spreadsheets.
According to industry statistics, all stock brokers (not just those who worked for bank) earned an average amount of $68,680 per year. The middle half earned between $40,480 and $122,270. Keep in mind either all or nearly all of an investment broker’s earnings is commission. Earnings can vary from bank to bank and state to state.
Potential Career Paths
If investment brokers want to continue in the investment field, they are more likely to advance if they earn their master’s in business administration and industry certification. The CFA, or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, is sponsored by the CFA Institute. To qualify, the analyst must have a bachelor’s degree and four years of related work experience. Then he or she must pass three exams.
Once the broker has earned his or her MBA and CFA he or she can advance to management positions such as analyst, product specialist, director, or manager.