Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents

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Also known as:
Commodities Broker, Commodity Trader, Equity Trader, Investment Banker, Municipal Bond Trader, Mutual Fund Sales Agent, Securities Trader, Stock Broker, Stock Trader

See all Finance Careers.

ABOUT SECURITIES, COMMODITIES, OR FINANCIAL SERVICES SALES AGENT CAREERS
Video transcript

Securities and financial sales representatives are often called stock brokers. But stocks are only one of the financial products they sell. Municipal bonds, options, annuities, and shares in federal home mortgage pools with names like "Ginny Mae and" and "Freddie Mac" are just a few of the more traditional products. There are also the many new financial instruments Wall Street has created in recent years.

The challenge is to help clients set financial goals and then select the investment products most likely to achieve them. Whether the client is a parent saving for college - or a college investing an endowment, companies, individuals, institutions, and governments everywhere rely on the knowledge and expertise of securities and financial services sales representatives.

Successful representatives must be well informed about economic and political trends. They must also have a clear understanding not only of the complexities of the products they sell but also of their legal responsibilities to their clients and the record-keeping procedures required by the government - all of which makes a college education increasingly important, particularly at larger firms.

In the end however, success in this profession usually depends more on personal qualities and an ability to sell than on an academic background.

SNAPSHOT

Buy and sell securities or commodities in investment and trading firms, or provide financial services to businesses and individuals. May advise customers about stocks, bonds, mutual funds, commodities, and market conditions.

Daily tasks

Determine customers' financial services needs and prepare proposals to sell services that address these needs.

Buy or sell stocks, bonds, commodity futures, foreign currencies, or other securities on behalf of investment dealers.

Report all positions or trading results.

Make bids or offers to buy or sell securities.

Devise trading, option, or hedge strategies.

Keep accurate records of transactions.

Track and analyze factors that affect price movement, such as trade policies, weather conditions, political developments, or supply and demand changes.

Complete sales order tickets and submit for processing of client-requested transactions.

Supply the latest price quotes on any security, as well as information on the activities or financial positions of the corporations issuing these securities.

Identify opportunities or develop channels for purchase or sale of securities or commodities.

Interview clients to determine clients' assets, liabilities, cash flow, insurance coverage, tax status, or financial objectives.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Economics and Accounting Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Sales and Marketing Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
TOP SKILLS
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Persuasion Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.