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Stockbroker career guide

This role relies heavily on good decision making skills, timing and being able to withstand a truly pressurised environment. Up for the job? Read on.

Safeera Sarjoo
22nd April 2016
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What is a stockbroker?

Whenever you think of stockbrokers your mind may be casted back to the Wolf of Wall Street where you envisage a chaotic environment where people are shouting “buy” and “sell”. Though it isn’t as exaggerated as what we see on television and in the movies, stockbrokers do work in pressurised environments. They manage investments for clients, which can range from individuals to small or large companies, find new business for their organisation and keep up to date on the financial markets. This will inevitably shape your decisions for each client you manage.

There are generally three types of services offered by stockbrokers;

Execution-only – This is where stockbrokers follow client instructions on how to handle their assets

Advisory – Stockbrokers helps the client decide which shares to buy and sell

Discretionary – This involves managing all client investments and making decision on their behalf.

What are their responsibilities?

Stockbrokers have a range of responsibilities in what essentially is a sales role. These include

  • Researching financial markets
  • Consulting with financial analysts
  • Reporting and updating clients on their investments
  • Monitor clients investments
  • Networking and pitching for new clients
  • Helping clients to develop their strategy
  • Executing trades electronically or by phone
  • Identifying issues affecting clients
  • Analysing the market

What characteristics and skills are suited to this role?

Contrary to what you may think, stockbrokers actually have to be honest and trustworthy. Part of gaining new business is to ensure that clients trust you with their funds which can be a difficult task given it’s their money and investments you’re handling. Other important skills and characteristics that are important to the job include:

  • Strong numeracy and IT skills
  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills
  • Confidence
  • Good teamwork ability
  • Physical and mental stamina
  • Excellent decision making abilities
  • Ability to understand and analyse complex info
  • Good attention to detail
  • Honest and trustworthy attitude

Entry requirements and Training

Though there are no strict academic requirements to becoming a stockbroker, most employers will be looking at candidates with a degree. This can be in any subject, however those with a degree in economics, business or finance will be at an advantage. Understanding how financial markets work is crucial for this job role and employers will also expect trainees to have previous work experience within a financial environment – this could be an investment bank, firm or stockbrokers.

Another route into this profession is through an employee based graduate training programme.

When it comes to training, you will need to achieve a recognised qualification from the Financial Conduct Authority in order to practice as a stockbroker as this profession is highly regulated. A lot of the training you’ll receive will be on the job; however some trainee stockbrokers study towards qualifications from the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment or the Charted Financial Analyst Society. 

Depending on your role and your employer, there are a number of training courses for you to do in order to gain more specialise qualifications that can aid your progression within the industry.

You will need to keep updated with new procedures and regulations throughout your time as a stockbroker. Short training courses can help to keep your professional development on track. 

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