If you've ever seen stockbrokers in the movies, it's easy to assume they spend their days just shouting "buy buy" or "sell sell" down the phone.
So let us dispel some myths, as walking the high wire of financial services can be pressured but it's also financially very rewarding...
So, what will I actually be doing?
Your role in a stockbroker job is to manage the financial portfolio of your client; so this could be an individual or a company. On the advice of investment analysts, you’ll discuss with your client which shares to buy or sell to get them the best return on their money.
Successful brokers are quick thinking, full of bright ideas and not afraid to make risky decisions in an instant. As a stockbroker you’ll be expected to:
- Research the financial markets
- Consult investment analysts
- Report to your clients
- Monitor your clients’ investments
- Pitch for new clients
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The nitty gritty
Not for people that can't wake up in the mornings, traders at the London Stock Exchange clock in at 8am, so you would normally be at your desk by 7am, so remember to set your alarm. The London Stock Exchange closes at 4.30 but you’ll be at your desk for far longer, especially if you work with markets in the Far East, so won't have time to twiddle your thumbs or update your Facebook status.
Stockbrokers often work in large, hectic offices and you’ll spend much of the day fixed to your telephone and computer screen monitoring any changes and reporting to clients.
Career progression is great in this career, and with enough hard work you could become a...
Money, money, money
This can be a very lucrative career. Starting salaries range between £25k and £35k a year. This can reach up to £45k to £80k a year with some extra experience. High earning brokers can bring in £150k per year, plus, of course, successful stockbrokers garner generous bonuses on top of their annual income which can be far higher than their basic.
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The good points...
The buzz of making thousands of pounds at the click of a button... The generous salary and bonuses help too.
...and the bad
One mistake and it could all come crashing down around you...and when it crashes, it doesn't do it quietly...
Also, as the role demands you react quickly to the fluctuations of the market, part-time hours and flexible working isn't a realistic option.
Is there study involved?
Although there are no set qualifications if you want to become a stockbroker, most employers will expect you to have a degree or, even better, a post-graduate qualification such as an MSc or MBA.
Graduates who apply to become a trainee in an investment bank or firm of stockbrokers will be met with a rigorous series of tests and interviews.
To become a fully-qualified stockbroker you need to be registered with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) which involves passing an exam approved by the FSA.
Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
If you possess a deep understanding of economics and the financial markets, you can stay calm when there’s a whirlwind around you and you have the confidence to make big decisions with someone else’s money, this could be the career for you. It also helps if you have:
- Plenty of initiative
- An analytical mind
- Lots of self-motivation
- Strong competitive drive
Language skills can also be an advantage if you want to work with overseas clients.