A comprehensive guide to stockbrokers: roles, requirements, and salaries

Oluwatosin Jegede

A stockbroker, also known as a registered representative or investment advisor, is a financial professional who executes buy and sell orders in the market on behalf of clients. They work for brokerage firms, acting as intermediaries between buyers and sellers to facilitate the trading of securities.

Stockbrokers can be compensated through commissions based on the value of trades they execute. There are different types of stockbrokers, including full-service brokers who provide personalized investment advice and discount brokers who focus on executing trades without individualized advice.

With the advent of online trading platforms, online brokers have emerged as a new category of stockbrokers. These brokers offer digital platforms for clients to trade securities themselves, often at lower costs compared to traditional brokerage firms.

Understanding the role of a stockbroker

To participate in stock trading on major stock exchanges like the NYSE or NASDAQ, individuals must either be members of the exchange or work with a member firm. FINRA licenses these firms and their employees, who function as brokers or broker-dealers. While it’s possible for investors to buy stocks directly from issuing companies, working with a stockbroker simplifies the process.

In the past, accessing the stock markets was expensive and mainly accessible to high-net-worth individuals or large institutional investors. They relied on full-service brokers, who charged significant fees for executing trades. However, the internet and technological advancements have revolutionized the industry.

Discount brokers now offer online services with affordable, fast, and automated access to the markets. Recently, apps like SoFi and Robinhood have catered to micro-investors, enabling fractional share purchases. As a result, individuals now manage the majority of the market accounts themselves and hold them with discount brokers.

Stockbrokers in the 21st century

In the 21st century, stockbrokers have adapted to technological advancements and shifting investor preferences. Discount broker firms employ stockbrokers who work as voice brokers. They address client queries over the phone or as branch officers in physical locations.

They also offer consulting services to clients subscribing to premium tiers of online brokerage platforms. This allows investors to access brokerage services conveniently and at lower costs.

Another notable development is the emergence of robo-advisers, which provide algorithmic investment management through web or mobile app interfaces. These platforms offer automated portfolio management with minimal individual interaction, resulting in lower fees. Robo-advisers have gained popularity among investors seeking cost-effective and efficient investment solutions.

Educational requirements for stockbrokers

To pursue a career as a stockbroker, a bachelor’s degree in business administration or finance is typically required. This educational background provides a foundation in financial laws, accounting methods, economics, financial planning, and forecasting.

Additionally, acquiring global credentials such as the certified financial planner (CFP) or chartered financial analyst (CFA) designations is increasingly valued in the industry, demonstrating expertise and financial acumen. Successful stockbrokers possess market knowledge and investing skills and excel in interpersonal communication, maintaining strong sales relationships.

Licensing Requirements for Stockbrokers

In the United States, registered brokers must hold Series 63 or 66 and FINRA Series 7 licenses. These are obtained through sponsorship from a registered investment firm. Floor brokers in the U.S. must also be members of the stock exchange where they work.

In Canada, stockbrokers must be employed by a brokerage firm and complete the Canadian Securities Course (CSC). They also need to Conduct and Practices Handbook (CPH), and the 90-day Investment Advisor Training Program (IATP).

In Hong Kong, applicants must work for a licensed brokerage firm, pass three exams from the Hong Kong Securities Institute (HKSI), and obtain approval from the financial regulatory body.

In Singapore, aspiring trading representatives must pass four exams administered by the Institute of Banking and Finance. Licensing authority is granted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

In the United Kingdom, stockbrokers must obtain qualifications from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) tailored to their specific duties and employer.

Read also: How to invest in the stock market without risks: the best strategies

What do stockbrokers do?

Stockbrokers act as intermediaries between markets and investors, taking customer orders and attempting to fill them at the best possible price.

They earn commissions for their services. With the rise of online brokerage platforms, many stockbrokers have transitioned to financial advisor or planner roles, as investors can now enter their orders through web or mobile applications.

What’s the difference between a discount and a full-service broker?

In the past, discount brokers focused solely on executing buy and sell orders for customers, while full-service brokers provided a wider range of financial services, including research, advice, and portfolio management.

However, as online brokerages have driven down commissions to zero, discount brokers have expanded their offerings to include research and other services beyond basic execution, blurring the line between the two types.

How much does a stockbroker make?

The median salary for a stockbroker in 2021 was $60,644, with a salary range averaging between $40,000 and $123,000.

It’s important to note that the salary can vary depending on certain factors such as experience, location, performance, and the type of brokerage firm or institution the stockbroker employs.

Stockbrokers play a crucial role as intermediaries between investors and the financial markets

Stockbroker facilitates buy and sell orders, ensuring efficient and timely transactions. While the image of a stockbroker has evolved with the rise of online platforms and automated services, its core responsibilities remain essential.

Educational requirements typically include a bachelor’s degree in finance or business administration, coupled with specialized certifications like the CFP or CFA designations.

Licensing requirements vary across countries, with exams and regulatory approvals necessary to practice as a registered stockbroker. The compensation for stockbrokers can vary based on experience, location, and performance, with median salaries ranging from $40,000 to $123,000.

Read also: The Global Financial Center Index 2023: the cities at the centre of world’s finance

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