Traders are securities and commodities sales agents who sell stocks and bonds to investors for commissions, a process that requires quick thinking and decision-making skills. The amount of money traders make is based heavily on their commission, which is in turn affected by the industry in which they work. Most firms also offer traders a minimum salary based on the commissions they can expect to earn. A trader's salary is also affected by his location and level of experience.
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Traders made an average income of £59,403 as of May 2009, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the bottom 25th per cent traders earned less than £25,551 a year, while those in the 75th percentile earned over £77,116 a year. The median salary for traders was £43,504.
According to the Bureau, most employed traders work in the industry of securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage, where they earned an average income of £69,810 as of 2009. Those working in depository credit intermediation earned an average of £39,156, while those working in other financial investment activities made an average of £73,495. In nondepository credit intermediation the average income of a trader was £41,379 and in the management of companies and enterprises the average was £62,868.
Connecticut was named as the top-paying state for traders as of 2009, with an average salary of £104,721, and the state's metropolitan area of Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk was the nation's highest-paying area, at £111,631 on average. New York was the second-highest-paying state for traders, with a salary average of £81,607, followed by Maine, Washington, D.C., and Kansas, where salary averages ranged from £64,688 to £71,675.
Traders with certification, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst credential sponsored by the CFA Institute, stand a much better chance at advancing in their field and earning higher wages. This credential requires a bachelor's degree, four years of experience and passing three exams. Traders may also find higher salaries in other industries; for example, those working for metal and mineral merchant wholesalers earned an average income of £114,874 as of 2009, according to the Bureau.
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