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What does a Stock Broker do?

Stock brokers aim to generate profit by investing in financial products such as shares and securities on behalf of private, corporate, and individual clients.

What are the typical job responsibilities of a stock broker?

A stock broker is qualified and registered to conduct a transaction on the stock exchange on behalf of clients. They also sometimes act on their own behalf.

They are expected to be experts with up-to-the-minute knowledge and understanding of the financial markets. They are paid, usually on commission, to make sound investment decisions and provide well-informed advice. Their job typically involves:
  • Determining clients' requirements e.g. how much they want to invest, what level of return they hope to gain, what level of risk they are willing to accept
  • Conducting research about the financial markets
  • Advising clients about investments
  • Conducting buying and selling transactions on behalf of clients
  • Monitoring the performance of clients' investments
  • Attracting new clients and generating a client base
You can expect to work relatively long hours--typically over 40 hours per week--including evenings and weekends at the convenience of your clients, many of whom may work during regular working hours.

What are the education and licensing requirements?

You need to gain a bachelor's degree in accounting, business, economics, or finance to begin a career in this occupation. If you can get an internship in the summer before your final college year, as many would-be stock brokers do, it can help you gain full-time employment after you graduate.

Gaining a MBA or professional certification can be beneficial for advancement in your career.

In addition to your education, useful attributes include:
  • Research skills
  • Ability to remain calm and work effectively under pressure
  • Confidence in decision making
  • Good judgment of risk
  • Strong analytical skills
A stock broker must be registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as a representative of their firm. To become registered, you need to be employed by a registered firm for a minimum of 4 months and pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination plus, in most States, the Uniform Securities Agents States Law Examination. To maintain your registered representative status, you need ongoing computer-based training that keeps your knowledge current.

Certification such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, indicates experience and ongoing education, and can help enhance your professional status.

You may also need other licensure to sell certain products or services.

Earning potential

Becoming a stock broker is a lucrative and attractive career choice for anyone with a head for figures and strong risk-analysis skills.

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