Job description of an investment broker

Written by sally davies
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Job description of an investment broker
Investment brokers sell stocks, bonds, and other investments to their clients. (investment image by Kit Wai Chan from Fotolia.com)

Investment brokers work as sales consultants in the securities exchange industry. A good majority of their time is spent searching for new clients through telephone solicitations, networking at civic or professional business organisations, or seeking referrals from satisfied clients. The turnover rate is high for investment brokers, but those who are successful enjoy a high salary and a flexible work schedule.

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Function

Investment brokers advise individual or corporate clients about investment opportunities available to meet their current or future financial needs and abilities. Once an investment is agreed upon, the broker electronically sends a buying order to the securities exchange floor to complete the transaction. After the sales transaction is complete, the investment broker charges the client a commission fee for the rendered service.

Skills

Sales motivated, risk-taking, goal-oriented people with excellent time and resource management skills make excellent investment brokers. Knowledge of financial planning strategies and the ability to analyse and recommend valid investment options for clients are crucial. Customer service and interpersonal relationship skills are necessary to enable the broker to successfully build a client base.

Education And Training

A bachelor’s degree in economics, business administration, accounting or finance is required for investment brokers, particularly in large firms. Those brokers who obtain a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) are rewarded with sign-on bonuses, higher level positions, and a more attractive commission compensation rate. Most investment companies offer extensive training programs for their new employees to fully acquaint them with the firm’s products, as well as effective sales techniques.

Licensure

All investment brokers are required by law to register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as an investment broker for a specific firm. The broker is not authorised to sell investments until successful completion of the FINRA General Securities Registered Representative Examination (Series 7), and four months of employment at their brokerage firm. Many states also require a second FINRA exam known as the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination (Series 63 or 66). Most brokerage firms offer training to prepare new employees for the exams.

Compensation

Investment brokers are paid on commission for the product sales they generate for their clients. Many brokerage firms offer a “draw against commission,” enabling brokers to have a steady income based on projected commissions. Trainee investment brokers are generally paid on salary until they develop a client base. The average annual earnings of an investment broker range from £25,350 to £46,800, as reported by PayScale.com in June 2010.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 9 per cent increase in investment broker jobs through 2018. The largest inhibitors to growth in this industry are the consolidation of brokerage firms resulting in layoffs of duplicate staff, and the increased trend of personal investors to manage their own investments through online brokerage websites.

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