If you can handle a fast-paced and challenging financial environment, using your excellent communication, negotiation and analytical skills, working as a stockbroker may be the career for you
Stockbrokers support individuals or institutions (clients) to make informed decisions on investing in the right stocks and markets at the right time.
Depending on the client-base stockbroking can be:
Stockbrokers can also operate in a number of ways:
In all cases, you will deal directly with your clients and manage their wealth portfolios. Stockbrokers are expected to manage existing clients and develop new business.
As a stockbroker, you'll need to:
It's likely that you'll work on commission and it's very important that you remember your fiduciary duty towards all your clients, which means that clients have placed the utmost trust and confidence in you to manage and protect their money and investments.
Salaries can vary based on experience, qualifications and the length of service within the brokerage firm and the type of firm that you work for.
The sector also offers bonuses for reaching specific targets. Other benefits may include health and travel insurance, private medical coverage, gym membership, travel expenses, professional body membership fees, tuition and exam fees and study leave.
Income figures are intended as a guide only.
You can expect to work long days, with a typical day lasting from 6:30am to 6:00pm. This is to cover the world's financial markets as they open.
You are likely to work unsociable hours in order to establish contacts with your clients in different time zones. Some companies will require you to travel abroad and you might be absent from home for a couple of nights a week on a regular basis.
Weekend work might occur, while part-time work is rare. Self-employment is possible.
Most employers will be searching for candidates with good undergraduate degrees. You may have an advantage if your first degree is in:
Entry at junior level is available for newly qualified undergraduates.
A higher degree like a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) can increase your chances of securing a more senior position. Search for MBA courses.
Professional qualifications can greatly improve your employment prospects. These include:
To gain an advantage many people decide to obtain the first level of CFA qualification before applying for jobs.
Previous sales experience can also increase your chances of getting a job, as can a working knowledge of a foreign language.
Following a successful online application, you will need to pass a further two to three interviews.
Interviews might take the form of a presentation and questions afterwards. Large banks run their assessment centres to shortlist candidates before the final interview stage.
You will need to demonstrate:
Work experience in sales and customer-facing roles is an advantage. Experience in stockbroking is not necessary as many firms offer the necessary training.
Internships and placements offered by the major players can certainly bring you up to speed with the current trends in the market and its jargon. Getting a relevant internship in your first or second year of university is critical; it is very hard to get an interview without that experience.
You can get in touch with the department in your university responsible for sourcing internships and placements, however information of current opportunities is available from individual company websites.
The majority of employers are based in the City (of London) and vary from large investment banks to small boutique brokerages.
Firms adhere to a set of standards, specified by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Information about the firms can be checked on:
National newspapers publish various top lists of firms in the city.
Look for job vacancies at:
Networking and personal contacts give you an advantage in identifying new opportunities and often secure you the first interviews.
Competition for available vacancies is strong, but so is the turnover with many people finding it difficult to achieve the required sales targets.
All UK stockbrokers must be regulated by the FCA.
Additional qualifications related to the job and considered part of continual professional development (CPD) include:
If you haven't obtained some of the professional qualifications previously mentioned, you will be expected to undertake those. Many firms will offer to pay for the course and the exams, give you time off to study and later fund your professional body membership.
In addition, employers run workshops and seminars as part of on-the-job training. The workshops cover various topics, relevant to the job like financial markets and changes in legislation.
There are also various events and conferences organised by firms, which provide opportunities for networking.
Successful stockbrokers can build up a broad network, which might enable them to subsequently set up their own firm or to become a partner within their existing employment.
A partner will deal with a client base consisting of higher net worth clients, which attracts greater prestige and rewards.
Some stockbrokers, less able to deliver sales targets, may move sideways to become investment analysts.