Financial and brokerage firms couldn't sell the high volumes of commodities and securities without investment brokers. They serve as middlemen in the financial industry, connecting individual buyers with sellers. They also assess their clients' assets and switch to more profitable investments as needed. If you have decision-making skills and a keen interest in stocks and bonds, you might enjoy working as an investment broker. But you must first fulfill the educational and licensing requirements.
Most investment brokers have bachelor's degrees in business or related fields. In some firms, you might need a master's degree to qualify for a job. A master's degree can also help you advance into higher-level positions within your company. Larger firms prefer hiring brokers who have taken various business, finance, accounting and economics courses. Master's or MBA -- master's of business administration -- programs expose you to realistic business strategies and challenges, which can greatly behoove you in this field.
Some colleges offer internships for investment brokers, which helps students learn the operational procedures of connecting buyers to sellers. Once you complete the internship, the company with which you worked might hire you for a full-time job. Once hired, you enter a comprehensive training program to learn the different investment products your firm sells: stocks, commodities or foreign currency investments. Development of selling strategies and analyzing the most profitable investment vehicles are also covered in the training. These professionals must also attend seminars and conferences to stay apprised on new products and services.
Investment bakers must be licensed to sell securities and commodities. You obtain your license by passing a series of exams issued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But you must first register for the exams through your company. The most common licenses for investment brokers are the series 7 and 63 licenses. The Series 7 exam and license allows you to purchase and sell all security products, including bonds, options, corporate, municipal and municipal funds securities. Series 63 is the license investment brokers must pass to practice in their states, and it's issued through the North American Securities Administrators Association, or NASAA.
Certification is optional for many investment brokers, but some firms require it. Certification can also increase your prestige in the industry and increase your number of employment opportunities. With four years of investment brokerage service, you can qualify for certification through the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute, or CFA. You must pass three tests to earn CFA certification, according to the BLS.
Investment brokers must have strong initiative for their work. They usually work on commissions and must find and sell investment products to clients to earn their incomes. This usually requires lots of cold calling by phone and in person. In this field, you must also have customer service skills to put clients at ease when discussing investment options. And you need math skills to estimate profits from various investments.
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
- Boston Institute of Finance: Information and Testing Site
- North American Securities Administrators Association: Licensing Information
- CFA Institute: Certification Information Site
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