Registered representatives are stock brokers and financial advisers that have passed the General Securities Registered Representative Examination, or Series 7 Exam, offered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. They also have to be employees of a registered firm for at least four months to be a registered representative. Competition is steep for these potentially high-paying financial service jobs.
The median annual salary for a registered representative was $68,680 as of May 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. The middle 50 percent ranged in salary from $40,480 and $122,270. Many registered representatives earn a commission based on the products they sell; this may be instead of or in addition to a base salary. Firms may offer a salary "draw," which means you're paid a steady income based on expected commissions, to help stabilize your income.
The industry you work in may influence how much money you earn as a registered representative. Management, scientific and technical consulting have the highest average annual salaries, at $149,040 as of May 2010, according to the BLS. Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers earn an average annual salary of $110,830, which is about 25 percent less. Securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerages employ the largest number of brokers and registered representatives -- over 125,300 were employed in that industry with an average annual income of $111,160, according to BLS.
Your geographic work location greatly impacts your registered representative earnings. New York had the highest number of representatives, with 39,930 employed at an average annual salary of $129,620 as of May 2010, per the BLS. Connecticut had the highest average annual salary, with $157,640, and Nevada had the lowest annual average salary, at $48,550 -- over $100,000 less than Connecticut. Not surprisingly, Connecticut also had the highest paying metropolitan area for registered representatives -- Bridgeport, with an average annual salary of $168,011.
Education and Training
A bachelor's or master's degree increases the odds of being hired at a larger, metropolitan brokerage firm where you have the potential to earn a higher income. Taking on a management role also increases income, though your pay may be based, at least in part, on the performance of those you supervise. Earning industry certification as a certified financial adviser, or CFA, could help you gain employment as well as give clients a higher comfort level when working with you, thus potentially increasing your income.