How to Become a Stock Broker in Canada

Four Parts:Getting an EducationGetting Hired by a FirmRegistering as a StockbrokerSucceeding as a Stockbroker

Becoming a stockbroker can be an exciting and rewarding career path. You can help people invest money while making a decent living yourself. To become registered in Canada, you first need to start out your career with the proper education and get hired on at a firm. Eventually, you will need to be registered with one of the regulatory organizations to trade stocks for other people.

Part 1
Getting an Education

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    Enroll in high school courses in economics, business, and math. If you know in high school that you want to be a stockbroker, you can start taking classes to fulfill that goal. Classes in economics and business, especially will set you on the right track towards understanding the essentials.[1]
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    Obtain a finance, economics, or business degree from a university or college. A degree in one of these fields will help to give you the edge you need to succeed. However, you do not absolutely need a degree in the field, as gaining experience and sales or investing can be accepted in place of a degree. Nonetheless, the college degree is the surer and quicker option to a stockbroker career.[2]
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    Try landing an internship while in college. If possible, you can gain experience in the field with an internship at a financial company. Oftentimes, these internships are not paid, but they may help you land a job later. You can search for internships on major job websites, such as Monster or Indeed, but your school will also often post internships on their website or have lists available in the department office.[3]
    • Not all internships are unpaid, so as an added benefit, you can make some money while going to school. Try landing summer positions at different companies so you gain a wide range of experience. Don't wait to start looking until the summer, though; all the good positions will already be filled.[4]
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    Get a master's degree. Though a bachelor's degree is sufficient to work in the field, a master's degree will help you stand out from other candidates. One helpful degree is a master's in business administration. A degree in finance is also good.[5]
    • Though a master's degree isn't required to enter a firm, many firms require you to have one if you want to get into the upper positions. Therefore, it's a good idea to go ahead and get one if you are planning to make a career as a Stockbroker. However, although you may want a degree to advance, you don't necessarily need it before you enter the firm. You can work on it as you advance in your career.[6]
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    Build the right skill set. You must have or develop certain skills to be a stockbroker. You must have good communication skills. Essentially, a stockbroker is a salesperson, so you must be able to use your communication skills to pitch a sale. It helps if you are naturally gregarious, but you can develop these skills.[7]
    • If you are lacking in these skills, try making communication a secondary focus in your education. Take speech and debate classes to help build up your communication skills. You can also learn communication skills in customer-service jobs, such as retail work.
    • You'll also need to be detail-oriented, be good at math, be able to make decisions, and be able to take the lead on projects.[8] You could develop some of these skills through a basic-level accounting job, such as being detail-oriented and good at math.

Part 2
Getting Hired by a Firm

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    Pick a firm that will train you. The best firms will offer training to you so that you can become a full-fledged stockbroker. In addition, they will sponsor you for your registration as a member in one of the investment regulatory associations.[9]
    • Mainly, on the job you'll learn things such as how to sell to customers. You may also learn how to analyze securities. The firm will definitely give you information on what the firm offers in the way of products. You'll usually be able to learn different skills by going through different departments.[10]
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    Choose the right size firm. If you want personal attention, you need to pick a smaller firm that will let you get to know more people. However, if you're more interested in a high-powered career, you should pick a firm with better name recognition, which means a larger firm.[11]
    • A smaller firm may offer more room for advancement, while a larger firm may offer more competitive salaries. In some ways, you may have an easier time building a client base at a larger firm, because the name is more recognizable, and clients will trust you more. However, you may have more competition bringing those clients in from workers on the same level.[12]
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    Decide if a particular regulatory body is important to you. For instance, some firms use the Mutual Funds Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA), while others use the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). The IIROC allows its members to offer a wider range of investments, so if that's important to you, make sure you choose a company that is registered with the IIROC.[13]
    • For instance, firms that deal with the MFDA primarily are allowed to manage mutual funds, while firms licensed with the IIROC work with all types of securities from stocks and bonds to options and futures.[14]
    • The IIROC is licensed for all of Canada, while the MFDA is licensed for Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Manitoba, though it is working on Newfoundland Labrador.[15]
    • However, licensing with the IIROC can be a bit more difficult.[16]
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    Do your research. Before you ever land an interview, you need to know the ins and outs of the company. Read the company's website, recent news, and the "About Us" page to see what the company is about and what it values. Use that information to your advantage in the interview.[17]
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    Prepare for the interview ahead of time. Read the job description thoroughly, and match up your experience with the job description. Look at the list of skills they want and make sure you know which experience from your past you'll use to show how you have that skill.[18]
    • Make sure to read between the lines. For instance, "flexible" may mean they want you to work hours outside of the normal work week, while "proactive" means they want you to take initiative on projects.[19]
    • Also, be ready for a personality tests. Many firms screen clients to find out if they are sufficiently extroverted for this type of job.[20]
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    Sell yourself. As a stockbroker, you need to have skills as a salesperson. You will basically sell your clients on stocks and your firm. Therefore, in your interview, you need to be able to sell yourself to prove you are able to work as a salesperson.[21]
    • Show your best qualities. When you are trying to sell yourself, give the person the best version of you. Don't try to downplay your good qualities by adding in bad qualities. Instead, talk about what you do best.[22]
    • For instance, you could say, "I have excellent math skills. I aced every math class I took in college, and I've since kept books for my uncle's company." You don't need to include the fact that you don't necessarily enjoy the math side, which would bring negativity into the conversation.
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    Highlight your communication skills. As noted, you need strong communication skills to succeed in this field. Not only do you need to bring up your skills in your interview, you need to talk about specific examples where you showcased them.[23]
    • For example, you could say, "I have always had strong oral communication skills, which I have improved by taking communication courses throughout my college career. In fact, I once used my skills to talk the president of the university into allowing our department to change buildings on campus."
    • You also need to showcase your skills during the interview. Be confident, direct, and to the point when answering questions. Try not to ramble.

Part 3
Registering as a Stockbroker

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    Take the beginner's investment course. The official investment course, officially called the Investment Representative Training Course, is offered by Canadian Securities Institute (CSI). It's a 30-day course. You should only take the course when told to do so by your employer.[24]
    • This course will help you with the basics of investing. It's designed to help new employees learn how to work with customers.[25]
    • You don't start this course until you have an employer because your employer is supposed to provide some of the training for it.[26]
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    Pass an exam. Each licensing board will require you to pass an exam to become registered. For instance, the MFDA requires that you pass the Canadian Investment Funds Course Exam, the Canadian Securities Course Exam, or the Investment Funds in Canada Course Exam. These exams are set by the CSI, with the exception of the first one, which is set by the IFSE Institute.[27]
    • You can be exempted from the exams if you have have enough experience. You only need a year of investment management experience if you've earned a CFA charter or 2 years if you haven't.[28]
    • The Canadian Securities Course Exam is preceded by a course. You take it online at your own pace, and then take the exam at the end. The course provides study materials, quizzes, and podcasts to help you learn. The exam is actually broken down into two exams. The first covers the Canadian marketplace and economy, types, pricing and trades of fixed-income securities, equity transactions, reading a corporation's financial statement, and derivatives. The second covers how to analyze, portfolio management, mutual funds, taxation laws, different types of funds (such as mutual funds and hedge funds), and working with different types of clients. You have a year to finish the course and take the exams. You can take the exam on the computer or on paper.[29]
    • The Investment Funds in Canada is also an online course followed by an exam. This course only requires a single exam, which covers the basics of the mutual funds marketplace, communicating with clients, the basics of investment products and portfolios, and other basics of mutual funds, such as how to analyze and manage them.[30]
    • The Canadian Investment Funds Course is another course followed by an exam. You complete the course online, though you take the exam on paper. It has one exam that covers your responsibilities as a registered broker, different types of investments, retirement, the economy, taxation, and how to make recommendations.[31]
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    Find a sponsoring mutual fund dealer. Basically, if you haven't already found a position, you need to do so now. You must find a dealer that is willing to hire you and therefore, sponsor you. Check job listings for entry-level positions that will provide this sponsorship.[32]
    • You must be sponsored by a firm to be officially registered, and you're not allowed to trade until you do.[33]

Part 4
Succeeding as a Stockbroker

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    Expect a trial period. After you complete your training and exams, you will be given a trial period to start building a client base. This trial period can be anywhere from half a year to 2 years. During that time period, you will be expected to bring in a certain number of clients or to meet certain sales goals. If you fail to meet those goals, you'll likely be terminated.[34]
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    Cold call clients. The first way to build a client base is to make cold calls. A cold call is making a call when the client hasn't shown interest first. When cold-calling, your first call should be to open up communication and begin earning the client's trust. Don't try to make a sale on the first call, but do give the client a few pointers about up and coming stocks, though keep your best-kept secrets to yourself.[35]
    • Also, build a relationship. Ask about the client's needs and wants in a stockbroker. In turn, sell yourself. Help your client know what you focus on, whether it's retirement funds or better cash flow.[36]
    • Make sure to set a time for another call. If you go ahead and set a time, you're already asking the person to make a small commitment, and it gives your potential client time to think about what you've said. Just don't pressure them too much, as it could leave a bad taste in their mouth. In turn, they may badmouth you to other people.[37]
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    Use a list of screened clients. That is, use a list of clients that have already shown some interest in a brokerage firm. You firm may already have such lists, but you can also obtain them from marketing firms. Just as when cold-calling, you want to build a relationship with your client before trying to make a hard sell.[38]
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    Use your network. Don't be afraid to ask your friends and family if they want to invest with you. Similarly, use people you know to get referrals for other potential clients. These types of connections will help you get your foot in the door with other people.[39]
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    Give seminars. Seminars can also help garner a client base. Basically, you design a seminar that you think people would be interested in, such as the basics of building a retirement fund. You advertise the course in newspapers, on the internet, and on the radio, and then you give the course. In addition to providing the information you say you will, you can give a small pitch on why your firm is a good choice for planning a retirement, which can help you gain clients.[40]
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    Expect constant pressure to succeed. After your trial period is over and you are hired on as a full broker, you will still be expected to meet certain goals regularly. This job is high-pressured, so be ready to be on the ball all the time.

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