A security sales person is one who is trained and employed to sell commodities, securities and other financial services as a sales agent.
Nature of work
Everyday, security sales persons or agents help individuals, corporations and businesses to buy billions of dollars worth of securities such as bonds, stocks and mutual funds in the United States. These agents can be referred to as securities, commodities and financial sales agents. The nature of work and duties of security sales persons would depend on their specialty.
Stock brokers are probably the most common type of a security sales agent available. Their duties include offering investment advice to everyday people or retail buyers of stock regarding wise investment choices based on needs and financial strength. Stock brokers also help the investor to transact deals on the floor of the stock exchange. The broker is paid a commission for his service at the end of the transaction. The broker’s job description would also include seeking out clients and building a client list. A lot of brokers spend much time searching for clients and investors who they can convince to invest.
Investment bankers are another specialty of security sales agents. The major work of an investment banker is trying to connect businesses looking for capital or finance to start or expand their operations, with investors who have the finance and would want to invest in businesses in exchange for debt bonds or equity stocks. Investment bankers would thus first have to find and help the business to issue out stock or bonds and then look for investors to purchase the securities. This is known as underwriting.
One of the most important functions of investment bankers is to provide advisory services to companies seeking to issue out stocks to the public for the very first time. The companies must meet with strict financial requirements to qualify to be listed as publicly owned companies and so they need the help of investment bankers to be able to come up with their Initial Public Offer (IPO).
Investment banks also help advice and facilitate business mergers and acquisitions operations. Investment banks can help both the company seeking to acquire or be acquired. Usually, both companies would have an investment banker working for them.
Floor brokers are security sales agents that operate on the very floor of the security exchange. When they receive sales and purchase orders from other security sales agents outside the floor, they first negotiate the price with other floor brokers and then make the sale or purchase.
Independent brokers are independent brokers not attached to any specific firm. They can trade for their own accounts, or for other corporate accounts they manage and can also trade for other floor brokers.
Specialist brokers or market makers also work directly on the floor of the security exchange. Their job includes buying and selling shares when there is too little or too much available. They also provide quoting prices. There is usually one specialist broker per each commodity being traded on the floor of the exchange.
Training, Qualifications and Advancement
Many security sales agent positions require that the employee first acquires at least a bachelor’s degree on finance, business, economics or accounting. An MBA or other professional certification will be helpful especially for career advancement. Study Guides for financial related certifications here
Most Common Securities Certifications
Trainings and education
Security sales agents require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study. Many companies and firms hire interns during the summer of the last year of college. Students who perform well are then offered jobs when they graduate. Many sales agents go ahead to still acquire an MBA after gaining employment into entry-level positions so as to improve their chances to advance to higher-level positions and better wages and working conditions.
A lot of firms and employers also provide on the job training to teach new employees the specific way the firm operates and the various financial services and products they offer. This training can include classroom instructions on effective speaking, security analysis and selling. Some firms rotate their trainees through the various departments to give them a broad and comprehensive perspective of their business. Smaller firms may contract an outside institution to train their staff. Periodic on-going training seminars and conferences are also important to continue to acquaint sales agents with new services, products and developments.
There are several licenses available based on the specialization. The licenses give the holder the authority to sell specific investment and security services and products. Sales representatives and traders would require a license. Financial service sales agents also require licenses to operate. Licensed agents would need to attend periodic continuing education training to retain their licenses.
All security sales agents, brokers and investment advisors must be registered as representatives of their firms with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). To be registered, the agents must have been an employee of a registered firm for a minimum of 4 months. They are also required to take and pass the Series 7 or General Securities Registered Representative Examination, which is administered by FINRA. Series 7 is a 250 multiple choice questions exam that lasts that lasts for 6 hours. Candidates need to score above 70% to pass the exam.
Some states in the U.S also require that security sales agents and advisors also take and pass another examination known as the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination, also called Series 63 and 66. This exam is given to test the candidate’s knowledge on recordkeeping procedures, customer protection and general securities sales business. Many firms offer assistance and training to help their staff successfully pass these exams.
Other requirements to work as a security sales agent
- Excellent communication skills
- Good work ethics
- Ability to function as part of a team
- Ability to analyze and understand numbers and figures
- Good credit record
- Clean background record
- Goal getter
- Strong desire to succeed