Another name for stock broker is securities sales agent. They are the most common type of securities sales agents. They advise consumers or retail investors on investments that are appropriate for their needs and financial ability. Once the broker and client reach an agreement, the broker sends the order to the securities exchange floor in order to complete the transaction. Many companies require stock brokers to be licensed and educated.
A bachelor's degree in finance, accounting or economics is required in order to be a stock broker. A number of brokers will get their master's degree in business administration (MBA). This is an ideal degree for those who are seeking a high-level position in the industry. With an MBA, stock brokers will receive better compensation and larger signing bonuses, according to the United States Department of Labor. Employers will also provide on-the-job training on the specifics of the company and the products and services they offer. Some brokers will receive training in securities analysis, speaking and the finer points of selling. Stock brokers must also keep up with the new products and services that the firm develops. In order to do so, they must regularly attend conferences and training seminars.
Stock brokers must register with their firm through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). In order to qualify for the license, they must be an employee of the firm for at least 4 months. They must pass the General Securities Representative Examination or the Series 7 Exam. The test takes 6 hours to complete and consists of 250 multiple-choice questions. A score of 70 or above is required in order to pass the examination.
Most states will also require stock brokers to take a second examination: the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination, or the Series 63 or 66 Exam. It will test applicants on their knowledge of the securities business, customer protection and recordkeeping. Some companies will offer training for employees to pass the examination. Stock brokers must maintain their licensing by attending continuing education classes.
Stock brokers should have skills in communication and teamwork and should possess good work ethics. They should also have skills in analyzing numbers and in basic math. Stock brokers will have to deal with people's accounts and money, so they must submit to a background check and credit check.
A certification can help stock brokers advance in their careers, although it's not a requirement. They can earn their certification as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) through the CFA Institute. Qualifications include having a bachelor's degree, at least 3 years experience and passing three examinations. Exam subjects include accounting, securities analysis, corporate financing and portfolio management.
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