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Securities Brokers

California Occupational Guide Number 252
Interest Area 11
1996
THE JOB

Investment firms underwrite and market a wide variety of stocks and bonds 
and other financial products.  The sale of securities furnishes money for 
many purposes, such as building plants, purchasing equipment, and 
financing various governmental projects.  The opportunity to purchase 
securities offers individuals and institutions a means for investing funds.

SECURITIES BROKERS bring together the investor and the investment 
opportunity.  Also known as a registered representative, account executive, 
or investment executive, the broker provides counseling to all parties in an 
investment interchange.

Securities Brokers supply institutional and individual clients with 
pertinent facts to assist them in buying or selling stocks, bonds, 
commodities, and options.  They may develop or maintain a diversified 
selection of securities known as a portfolio.  They Research the performance 
record of individual securities, and identify those which are relatively 
stable, cyclical, or speculative.

Because the performance of a stock, bond, or other investment product is 
subject to many variables, the Securities Brokers must be skilled in judging 
the effect of the subtle market factors as well as in analyzing past and 
present company and industry records.  Resources the broker uses include 
reference manuals, statistical reports, corporation financial statements, 
and business and government publications.  Also, because tax considerations 
are important to the investor, the broker must know the laws pertaining to 
securities transactions.

The beginning broker develops a clientele by telephone solicitation, working 
from the employer's prospect list, or by calling on potential investors in 
person.  By satisfying clients, the broker may gain additional customers 
through word-of-mouth recommendations.

Brokers employed by discount brokerage houses do not perform Research on 
individual securities, although they may comment on the trend of the market. 
They quote the price of a security or option and place orders.  They may be 
called account executives or traders.  Depending upon the firm, clients may 
or may not always deal with one particular person.


WORKING CONDITIONS

The Securities Broker usually spends most of the morning hours in the office 
conferring with clients by telephone.  Generally situated in larger 
metropolitan areas, brokerage firms offer well-lighted, comfortable and 
attractive surroundings.  After hours, the broker may discuss business 
objectives in social settings or in a customer's home or office.

The broker is subject to regulations of the Securities and Exchange 
Commission, the stock exchanges, the National Association of Securities 
Dealers, and the State of California.


EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

The cyclical nature of the economy can greatly affect the employment 
prospects for Securities Brokers.  During periods of declining market values, 
investors are less likely to invest their funds in securities. 
Correspondingly, when the market is rising, and investment activity is 
increasing, the need for brokers is greater.

The following information is from the California Projections and Planning 
Information published by the Labor Market Information Division.  The figures 
represent the broad occupational group Sales Agents-Financial Services which 
includes Securities Brokers.

Estimated number of workers in 1993              15,910
Estimated number of workers in 2005              22,250
Projected Growth Percentage 1993-2005               40%
Estimated openings due to separations by 2005     3,490

(These figures do not include self-employment or openings due to turnover.)

Rising income, the need for investments to keep pace with inflation, and the 
prospects for increasing personal and business holdings should create a 
moderate increase in the demand for brokers.  Furthermore, a trend towards 
institutional trading -- purchases usually made in "blocks" or large numbers 
of shares -- should add future job opportunities for brokers.

The number of institutional investors is expected to rise as more people 
enroll in pension plans and individual retirement accounts, establish 
trusts, and contribute to endowment programs of colleges and other nonprofit 
institutions. 


WAGES, HOURS, AND FRINGE BENEFITS

The Securities Broker income is, to a great extent, in proportion to 
knowledge, initiative, energy, sales ability, and time spent in generating 
business.  Brokers usually receive a percentage of commissions generated, 
which vary according to the firm, type of security sold, and total sales.  
A growing number of firms base compensation on portfolio performance, types 
of assets managed, or other indicators of performance.  As a trainee, the 
broker usually receives a straight salary ranging from $1,200 to $2,000 a 
month for those with bachelor's degrees, and make more if the firm hires 
applicants with masters' degrees.  Annual earnings of experienced brokers 
vary greatly, and can range anywhere from around $30,000 for beginning 
brokers to about $80,000 for experienced Securities Brokers.  A few brokers 
who handle institutional accounts may earn over $200,000 a year.

Many brokers begin work fifteen minutes or more before the opening bell at 
the New York Stock Exchange (6:30 AM, Pacific Standard Time) and remain as 
long as is necessary to finish telephone calls and to complete paper work.  
Evening and weekend work is sometimes necessary, especially for new brokers.

Fringe benefits vary from firm to firm.  Profit sharing, retirement 
benefits, and employer paid health insurance are becoming more prevalent.  
Moreover, the knowledge brokers gain about general economic conditions 
gives them an advantage in deploying their own capital.


ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS AND TRAINING

Educational and employment histories vary among practicing brokers; however, 
a college education is becoming more important since brokers should have a 
knowledge of world and economic conditions.  Most new brokers come directly 
from college, and some have had previous business experience.  Persons who 
possess a well-rounded academic background including courses in business and 
finance have the best employment prospects.  Experience in sales or public 
contact work is regarded as desirable, with particular value placed on 
positions which involve meeting people with diverse backgrounds and 
interests.  Consideration is also given to recognition achieved for 
extracurricular campus activities.

The larger brokerage houses normally provide a four to six month training 
program for new hires, including three to four weeks in New York.  On the 
other hand, some of the smaller "houses" may only hire experienced brokers. 
Following this, the broker will be expected to generate the minimum volume 
of business stipulated by the firm to maintain employment.  Upon completion 
of training, employees must pass the General Securities Registered 
Representative Examination, administered by the National Association of 
Securities Dealers, Inc. (NASD), pass another examination, in most states, 
and be an employee of a registered firm for at least four months.

Since brokers deal with other people's finances, integrity, combined with 
sales ability, heads the list of attributes which are looked for.  Brokers 
must be emotionally well-adjusted and physically able to cope with the 
pressures of the job.  They must be self-reliant, hard working, and have the 
ability to inspire confidence, because their income is solely dependent on 
performance.  Initiative, poise, sound judgment and a quick mind are needed 
by the broker, who should also be personable, well-groomed and fluent in 
speech.


ADVANCEMENT

Recognition of superior sales and management abilities may come to the 
broker in the form of an invitation to become a partner in the firm, which 
generally requires a substantial monetary investment.  Although the title 
carries prestige and additional responsibilities, it does not guarantee a 
higher income.  Partners represent their firms on stock exchanges, direct 
branch office activities, and manage a department in the company.  
Experience in the investment business sometimes affords opportunity for 
appointment to a high post in another industry.


FINDING THE JOB

An inexperienced person enters this field through sponsorship by a 
securities firm.  Prospective brokers may apply to brokerage firms directly, 
or register with their college placement bureau and private employment 
agencies that specialize in this type of position.  Newspapers and financial 
publications sometimes carry advertisements soliciting experienced 
Securities Brokers or trainees.


ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION

National Association of Securities Dealers
1735 K St., NW
Washington, DC. 20006-1506
(202) 728-8000

Securities Industry Association
120 Broadway 
New York, NY 10271
(212) 608-1500


RELATED OCCUPATIONAL GUIDES

Insurance Sales Agents                 No.  455


OCCUPATIONAL CODE REFERENCES

DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles, 4th ed., Rev. 1)
Registered Representatives          250.257-018
Manager, Brokerage Office           186.117-034

OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) 
Sales Agents-Financial Services          430140


Source:  State of California, Employment Development Department,
         Labor Market Information Division, Information Services Group,
         (916) 262-2162.
Note:  This is NOT a job opening.  The purpose of This California Occupational Guide is to provide you with useful information to help you make career decisions.   If you are searching for a job, go to:

California Occupational Guides


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