The stock market is the centralized location to sell securities, such as stocks and bonds, and commodities, such as oil, gold and corn. Some securities and commodities are sold electronically, as in the case of the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System (NASDAQ). However, other markets, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), use personnel to conduct trades. In addition, some professionals aren’t involved in either buying or selling, but they offer stock market advice and analysis.
Securities, Commodities and Financial Services Sales Agents
These agents include stockbrokers, who sell securities and commodities to individual clients and provide advice to these clients. Investment bankers link businesses that need investors with individuals who are looking for investment opportunities. They also link companies during mergers and acquisitions. In addition, investment banking sales agents and traders actually handle the orders to buy or trade securities and commodities. A bachelor’s degree is usually required to pursue a career as securities, commodities and financial services sales agents, although a master’s degree may increase opportunities for advancing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mean annual wage for these agents is $102,510, which is an hourly rate of $49.28, according to 2013 data from the BLS.
Financial analysts, who are also known as securities analysts and investment analysts, help companies and individuals make investment decisions. They may work in a variety of businesses, such as banks, insurance companies and pension funds, where they analyze the stock market and make recommendations. The educational requirement for financial analysts is usually a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, economics, statistics, mathematics or even engineering. The BLS lists the 2013 median annual pay for financial analysts as $91,620 or $44.05 per hour.
Personal Financial Advisors
Personal financial advisors help clients meet financial goals. This entails analyzing the stock market and offering investment advice, in addition to reviewing investment portfolios annually to see if any changes are needed. They also help clients with taxes and insurance. Personal financial advisors typically need a bachelor’s degree in finance, mathematics, economics or accounting, although a master’s degree and certification as a personal financial advisor can increase advancement opportunities. The 2013 median annual salary for personal financial advisors is $99,920 according to the BLS, which is an hourly wage of $48.04.
Financial & International Economists
Financial economists are specialists who critically examine financial markets and analyze market data to advise individuals, companies or governments, or to devise economic policies. International economists perform similar functions as financial economists, but they also study the effects of the stock market on the global economy. While a bachelor’s degree in economics is sufficient for some entry-level jobs, either a master’s degree or a Ph.D. is required for most positions. In 2013, the median pay for economists was $101,450 or $48.78 per hour, reports the BLS.