A securities and commodities broker connects buyers and sellers in financial markets. They sell securities to individuals, advise companies that are in search of investors, and conduct trades. They work in high stress environments and often work more than 40 hours per week.
Securities and commodities brokers typically:
Securities and commodities brokers 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.
Securities and commodities brokers 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 securities and commodities brokers eventually get a Master of 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.
Most employers provide intensive on-the-job training, teaching employees the specifics of the firm, 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 and commodities brokers must keep up with new products and services and other developments. They regularly attend conferences and training seminars.
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. Most firms offer training to help their employees pass the licensing exams. Securities and commodities brokers usually must attend continuing education classes to keep their licenses. Courses consist of computer-based training on legal requirements or new financial products or services.
Most securities and commodities brokers work long hours under stressful conditions. The pace of work is fast, and managers are usually demanding of their workers, because both commissions and advancements are tied to sales. In addition, they may work evenings and weekends because many of their clients work during the day.