Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
• Most positions require a bachelor’s degree in busi-
• Applicants face keen competition for jobs, especially • Turnover is high for newcomers, but those who are
successful have a very strong attachment to their occupation because of high earnings and considerable investment in training. in investment banks.
ness, finance, accounting, or economics; a master’s degree in business or professional certification is helpful for advancement.
Nature of the Work
Each day, hundreds of billions of dollars change hands on the major United States securities exchanges. This money ...view middle of the document...
Some agents network by joining civic organizations or social groups, while others may rely on referrals from satisfied customers. Investment bankers are sales agents who connect businesses that need money to finance their operations or expansion plans with investors who are interested in providing that funding in exchange for debt (in the form of bonds) or equity (in the form of stock). This process is called underwriting, and it is the main function of the investment bank. Investment bankers have to sell twice: first, they sell their advisory services to help ompanies c issue new stock or bonds, and second, they sell the securities issued to investors. Perhaps the most important advisory service provided by i nvestment banks is to help companies new to the public investment arena issue stock for the first time. This process, known as an initial public offering, or IPO, can take a great deal of effort because private companies must meet stringent financial requirements to become publicly owned companies. Corporate
finance departments also help private companies sell stock to institutional investors or wealthy individuals. They also advise companies that are interested in funding their operations by t aking on debt—often issued in the form of bonds. Unlike a stock, which entitles its holder to partial ownership of a company, a bond entitles its holder to be repaid with a pre- etermined d rate of interest. Another important advisory service is provided by the m ergers and acquisitions department. Investment bankers in this area advise companies that are interested in being acquired, or interested in merging with or purchasing other companies. Once a potential seller or buyer is found, bankers advise their client on how to execute the agreement. Generally both buyers and sellers have investment banks working for them to make sure that the transaction goes smoothly. Investment banking sales agents and traders sell stocks and bonds to investors. Instead of selling their services to ompanies c for fees, salespeople and traders sell securities to customers for commissions. These sales agents generally contact customers and their agents to discuss new stock and bond issues. When an investor decides to make a purchase, the order goes to the trading floor. Traders execute buy and sell orders from clients and make trades on behalf of the bank itself. Because markets fluctuate so much, trading is a split-second decision-making process. If a trader cannot secure the promised price on an e xchange, millions of dollars could potentially be lost. On the other hand, if a trader finds a better deal, the bank could make millions more. A small but powerful group of sales agents work directly on the floor of a stock or commodities exchange. When a firm or investor wishes to buy or sell a security or ...