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Stockbroker

Stockbrokers manage their clients' investments by trading stocks, shares and other financial products to get the best return.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £24,000 to £125,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 50 to 60 per week

1. Entry requirements

The most common route into this job is through a graduate training programme with an employer.

Companies usually recruit graduates through university job fairs. Summer internships are sometimes offered by the larger firms. Some firms will then select graduates to start when their degree finishes.

You’ll usually need at least a 2:1 degree to get onto a graduate training programme. There's a lot of competition for places, so it will help if you have some relevant work experience. A lot of graduates also have a postgraduate qualification like a Masters of Business Administration (MBA).

It may help if your first degree is in a subject like:

  • management
  • business
  • economics
  • finance
  • maths

You may be able to move into stockbroking from a background in financial services. Previous sales experience can also help.

You could also get into this job through a degree apprenticeship as a financial services professional. 

The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) and the Chartered Financial Analysts Society of the UK (CFA Society UK) have information on jobs and training.

You'll need to be registered as an 'approved person' by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent communication, negotiation and organisational skills
  • the ability to understand and quickly analyse complex information
  • excellent maths, IT and research skills
  • decision-making ability under pressure
  • foreign language skills, if you want to work with overseas clients and markets

3. What you'll do

You’ll usually work in an investment bank or for a firm of stockbrokers. You may provide services to fund managers and other financial institutions, or deal directly with retail investors.

There are 3 areas in which you can work. You might specialise in 1, or offer all 3:

  • discretionary – managing all your clients’ investments, buying and selling shares on the stock market on their behalf
  • advisory – advising clients about various investment options
  • execution only – buying and selling only when clients ask you to

There are also 3 types of stockbroker:

  • full service – delivering personalised research and recommending investments
  • discount – sending recommended lists without details of the research behind them
  • online – providing tools and information for knowledgeable clients to choose stocks

However you work, you’ll be:

  • researching markets and the latest trading figures
  • working closely with investment analysts
  • generating new business and developing close relationships
  • calling clients to manage and review their portfolios, and advising on risks
  • giving presentations to clients
  • instructing stock market traders, to achieve the best market prices
  • meeting profit, new business and retention targets
  • keeping up to date with tax and financial legislation

In larger companies, you may specialise in investing in certain markets such as technology or finance, or in specific regions such as the Far East.

4. Salary

Starter: £24,000 to £40,000

Experienced: £50,000 to £70,000

Highly Experienced: £125,000 or more

Many jobs offer extra benefits like private dental or health care.

Annual bonuses are common in stockbroking and are based on personal and company performance.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work long hours, typically 7am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday. If you work with commodities or Asian markets, your hours will need to fit in with different time zones.

You'll usually work in a large, open-plan office, working at a computer and on the telephone. Most jobs are in the City of London.

It's a very competitive environment.

6. Career path and progression

With experience and a good track record you could progress to become a trader, relationship manager or fund manager.

You could also become a partner or set up your own business.

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Last updated: 22 August 2017