How to Become an Investment Broker

Three Methods:Getting the Necessary EducationTesting and Getting RegisteredGetting Hired as an Investment Broker

An investment broker connects parties interested in either buying or selling investments. Brokers are often paid from commissions, but can earn bonuses and a salary in certain positions as well. While sociability is important, most investment broker positions necessitate a bachelor's degree with relevance to finance. You will also need to pass exams, register at both the federal and state levels, and work your way up from entry level financial positions to become a successful investment broker.[1]

Method 1
Getting the Necessary Education

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    Earn a bachelor's degree. Finance is the most common choice, though economics, business, marketing or accounting can also help prepare you to be an investment banker. Most importantly, choose a field of study that will help prepare you to understand the risks and strategies of working with money.[2]
    • Focus on mathematics, investment planning, computer programming, and economic theory to supplement your degree further.
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    Strengthen your social skills. In order to be successful as an investment broker, you need to be able to carry a conversation and otherwise contribute to positive social interactions. For instance, look to add to your formal education by joining a debate or speech team.[3]
    • Consider taking classes in drama or public speaking.
    • Another options includes joining the organization Toastmasters, which helps many people be more confident in social situations. This will also present you with great networking opportunities with professionals of all ages.[4]
    • However you choose to do so, consistently take part in some sort of social activity that requires you to work through different sorts of situations with different types of people.
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    Prep for the Series 7. One of the main exams you’ll have to take is called the Series 7. However, you have to be sponsored by an established financial institution in order to take the exam. Make yourself more attractive to institutions that might sponsor you by working on test-prep material or taking a course specifically designed to help prepare you for this test.[5]
    • The best source of test prep material is the organization that administers the test. Visit the FINRA website to find study outlines and practice exam questions.
    • Someone in your academic department can help you find the best course for you. Some are offered by test-prep businesses, and some courses can be taken online.
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    Seek an internship with a brokerage firm. Most investment brokers start out with an internship, which offers a company the chance to get to know you. Further, learning the day-to-day process of being an investment broker requires starting at the bottom and working your way into positions with greater responsibility.[6]
    • If the firm that hires you as an intern feels that it’s a good fit, they will likely sponsor you to take the Series 7, after which you may be hired on full time.

Method 2
Testing and Getting Registered

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    Register with the FINRA. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority gives the examinations and otherwise articulates the rules and regulations for training brokers. Visit FINRA’s website and register for an account. This will allow you to take the necessary licensing exams, including the Series 7.[7]
    • Whereas Series 7 is a general financial test, there are many tests that will allow you to work with particular types of commodities, increasing your likelihood of getting hired and sponsored to take other exams.
    • Within two years of passing any of these tests, notify the FINRA of your intention to work with a particular firm consulting on the appropriate commodities.
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    Take the Uniform State Laws examination. Otherwise known as the Series 63, this exam is required by some employers and states. Passing this examination, whether it's required or not, will open up employment opportunities. Other exams that do not require a sponsor include the Series 3 on commodity futures, and the Series 65, or Uniform Registered Investment Advisor Exam.[8]
    • Taking these examinations will allow you to immediately produce for a financial firm. Accordingly, passing them can help you get hired and sponsored to take the Series 7.
    • In terms of costs, the Series 3 exam costs $115.00, the Series 65 rings up at $135.00, and the charge to take the Series 63 is $96.00.
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    Consider taking other specific trading exams. Taking other tests will allow you to register as a specific type of broker that specializes in working with certain types of securities. For instance, take the Series 6 exam if you wish to offer clients advice on mutual funds. Passing the Series 62 exam allows you to work on corporate securities.[9]
    • Consider taking some of these exams prior to the Series 7 exam. While you may need a sponsor to take many of these exams, your willingness to take the exam can help you get hired.
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    Take the Series 7 exam. This exam, also called the General Securities Registered Representative examination, is written by the New York Stock Exchange. Passing the Series 7 allows you to become a registered representative, which allows you to work an investment broker.[10]
    • Tests are administered around the U.S. and are taken on a computer.
    • The Series 7 exam fee is $290.00.
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    Complete federal and state registration. To work as a registered investment broker, you’ll need to submit to a background check and get fingerprinted. Follow FINRA’s guidance on how to do so. Further, you’ll need to register with the Securities Commission in your state. You will likely need to have passed the Series 63 in order to do so.[11]
    • If you hope to work with commodity futures, you’ll also have to register with the National Futures Association, which requires you to pass the Series 3 exam.

Method 3
Getting Hired as an Investment Broker

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    Apply for jobs based on your career aspirations. Different types of financial institutions will offer different opportunities for investment brokers. Perhaps most importantly, make sure a position you’re applying for works with the types of securities you’re interested in.[12]
    • For instance, if you’re looking to generate new leads for a large firm that manages large transactions, look into institutions like Merrill Lynch or JP Morgan. In these roles, investment brokers make most of their income from commissions on the accounts they help create.
    • If you’d prefer a position that paid a more consistent salary and are interested in more of the service side of handling investments, apply with an institution like Fidelity Funds or Charles Schwab.
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    Be patient. Your first position as an investment broker, even following an internship will likely be a junior position. You will need to prove your worth to a firm in order to get senior status. When searching for a job, even at the entry level, look for firms that train their brokers well and promote from within.[13]
    • Consider more than just starting salary. Initially, training and opportunities for promotion are often a better gauge of a good position than starting salary.
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    Consider pursuing an MBA. Many senior investment brokers hold a master's degree in business administration. New financial planning knowledge may allow you to work with bigger clients and increase earning potential. Further, going back to school for an MBA or other graduate degree gives you the opportunity to focus your knowledge. For instance, you could specialize in a specific type of commodity, or learn more about computer programming for financial products and services.
    • Some companies offer their brokers help with achieving an MBA. When evaluating job offers, also look for companies that pay for a portion of tuition and/or support going to school while working.

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