A stockbroker is a financial service agent who helps customers to buy and sell in financial marketplaces -- such as the New York Stock Exchange. He can sell securities to investors and provide insight on the market to his clients. This job requires fast thinking and excellent customer service skills to survive in this highly competitive industry.
Duties and Responsibilities
A stockbroker serves the financial interests of his clients. He sells securities and commodities to individual clients, advises clients on what investments suit their financial situations and can manage clients' investment portfolio. He executes trades and sells for clients in the exchange market. A broker must stay on top of the market at all times by analyzing, monitoring and researching the performance of stocks, trade markets and acquisitions. A broker has a fiduciary duty to protect the interests of his clients; therefore, he cannot engage in trades or offer financial advice that benefits himself financially.
A bachelor’s degree in a related field -- accounting, finance, business or economics -- is required for all entry-level positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. An applicant with a master's of business administration can receive higher-level positions and compensation than an applicant with a bachelor’s degree. On-the-job training is provided by the hiring firm. Having natural decision-making skills, math skills and taking initiative are important qualities in a successful candidate.
Licenses and Certification
To start trading, a stockbroker must register as a representative of his hiring firm through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. A candidate must pass a series of exams to receive a license, but most firms offer training to help applicants pass exams. Although it's not required, employers often prefer brokers to have certification. Obtaining a Chartered Financial Analyst certification, for example, requires a bachelor’s degree, four years of work experience and passing three separate exams.
In 2010, the median annual salary for a stockbroker was $70,190, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned $31,330, while the highest 10 percent earned over $166,400. Most firms pay stockbrokers a minimum salary and the broker earns commissions on top of that.
2016 Salary Information for Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents earned a median annual salary of $67,310 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents earned a 25th percentile salary of $41,040, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $131,180, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 375,700 people were employed in the U.S. as securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents.