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Securities Agent Career

Career Description

A Securities Agent arranges the trade of securities such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other financial instruments between large institutional investors, wealthy individuals, mutual funds and pension plans,  and the general public.

Common Work Tasks

  • Meet clients through business and social contacts
  • Join civic organizations and other social groups to expand their networks of possible clients
  • Discuss terms of trade with investors and relay that information to the trader
  • Teach adult education investment courses or give lectures at libraries or social clubs
  • Connect businesses that need money to finance their operations or expansion plans with investors who are interested in providing that funding in exchange for debt or equity
  • Sell their advisory services to help companies set up issuing new stock or bonds, and then sell the securities they issue to investors
  • Work by telephone, calling customers and their agents to discuss new stock and bond issues
  • Execute buy and sell orders from clients
  • Negotiate prices with other agents
  • Trade stock on an electric network

Other Job Titles

Securities Agents are also known by other titles, including:

  • Retail Investor
  • Stock Broker
  • Stock Trader
  • Commodities Sales Agent
  • Financial Services Sales Agent

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
  A college education is important for securities agents, especially in larger firms,  because they must be knowledgeable about economic conditions and trends. Most workers have a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, accounting, or economics, although this is not necessarily a requirement. Many firms hire summer interns before their last year of college and those who are most successful are offered full-time jobs after they graduate.

After working for a few years,  many agents get Master’s degrees in Business Administration (MBA). This degree is a requirement for many of the high-level positions in the securities industry. Because the MBA is a professional degree designed to expose students to real-world business practices, it is considered to be a major asset for jobseekers. Employers often reward MBA-holders with higher-level positions,  better compensation, and even large signing bonuses.

Experience
  Maturity and the ability to work independently are important so many employers prefer to hire those who have achieved success in other jobs. Most firms prefer candidates with sales experience, particularly those who have worked on commission in areas such as real estate or insurance. Other firms prefer to hire workers right out of college, with the intention of molding them to their corporate image.

Salary

The median annual salary of a Securities Agent is $68,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $145,000 annually, and the bottom 10 percent earn less than $30,000 annually. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of securities agents are:

  • Securities and Commodity Contracts Intermediation and Brokerage - $102,300
  • Depository Credit Intermediation - $60,300
  • Other Financial Investment Activities - $118,260
  • Nondepository Credit Intermediation - $67,010
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises - $88,950

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  25%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 79,000
  • Employment 2006 : 320,000
  • Employment 2016:  399,000
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