Merchant bankers, also called investment bankers, are individuals who help businesses that need money to operate or expand connect with investors. They sell securities issued to investors, as well as advisory services to help companies issue new stocks/bonds, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment of financial services sales agents such as merchant bankers is projected to climb 9 per cent from 2008 to 2018, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These professionals in 2010 earned between £40,581 and £88,036, according to Payscale.com. Several steps involving at least four years of schooling can help you to become a successful merchant banker.
- Skill level:
Take several math courses in high school. Merchant bankers must have strong mathematical ability to succeed in this field.
Complete a bachelor’s degree program in fields such as accounting, business, economics or finance. These programs typically last four years. To get into these types of programs, you will need to submit your high school diploma or GED. Some colleges also require you to submit your scores on standardised tests. Take classes in subjects such as accounting, business administration, economics, finance and statistics, according to Education-Portal.com. Work hard to try to graduate near the top of your class, as some employers pay close attention to this.
Complete an internship in merchant banking. Look for merchant banker analyst opportunities, as you likely will start out in these types of positions with your college degree. Get practice working with spreadsheets and generating prospectuses--formal legal documents offering securities for sale, according to Princeton University.
Apply for merchant banking analyst jobs, and be prepared to complete intense on-the-job training that will teach you details of your firm's financial services and products. You can find jobs by consulting with your school's career services department, which should give you leads on open positions in the field. Also contact major investment banks and financial services companies in the industry--such as the well-known Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley--to see if they are hiring.
Complete and pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination, also known as the Series 7 Exam. The Series 7 Exam is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and allows individuals to become registered representatives of their firm if they have been employed by that firm for at least four months. Be prepared to answer 250 multiple-choice questions in a six-hour time frame. The test covers topics such as rules governing the conduct of accounts, portfolio analysis and debt instruments, according to FINRA.
Also, take and pass the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination, or the Series 63 or 66 Exam. Most states--including, California, New York, Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina, for example--require you to complete this test in order to work in merchant banking, according to SECLaw.com. This test covers similar concepts as the Series 7 Exam, such as recordkeeping procedures, general securities business topics and customer protection requirements, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Be prepared to answer 65 questions in 75 minutes, according to Kaplan Financial Education.
Work for three or four years as an analyst while staying on top of market changes and economic developments. Then, seek a promotion to the role of an associate in merchant banking. Among an associate's responsibilities are preparing documents on equity deals, pricing new deals and estimating the attractiveness of investment opportunities.
Work as an associate in merchant banking for a few years. Then, pursue a promotion to the level of a merchant banker, at which time you can get your own clients and initiate your own deals in the field.
Tips and warnings
- Considering completing your Master of Business Administration degree after finishing your bachelor's degree program in a field such as business or finance. If you do so, you have a good chance of landing a merchant banking associate job without having to first work three to four years as an analyst in this field.
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