Financial Sales Agent

Financial Sales Agent
Career Clusters: Finance

What you need to know

Overview

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents connect buyers and sellers in financial markets. They sell securities to individuals, advise companies in search of investors, and conduct trades.

What is this career like?

Most securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents work many hours under stressful conditions. The pace of work is fast, and managers are usually demanding of their workers, because both commissions and advancements are tied to sales.

Some of the things securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents might do:

  • Contact prospective clients to present information and explain available services
  • Offer advice on the purchase or sale of particular securities
  • Buy and sell securities, such as stocks and bonds
  • Buy and sell commodities, such as corn, oil, and gold
  • Monitor financial markets and the performance of individual securities
  • Analyze company finances to provide recommendations for public offerings, mergers, and acquisitions
  • Evaluate cost and revenue of agreements
What skills are needed?
  • Analytical skills. To judge the profitability of potential deals, securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents must have strong analytical skills. This includes computer programming skills which they use to analyze financial products.
  • Customer-service skills. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents must be persuasive and make clients feel comfortable with the agent’s recommendations.
  • Decision-making skills. Investment banking traders must make split-second decisions, with large sums of money at stake.
  • Detail oriented. Investment bankers must pay close attention to the details of initial public offerings and mergers and acquisitions because small changes can have large consequences.
  • Initiative. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents must create their own client base by making “cold” sales calls to people to whom they have not been referred and to people not expecting the call.
  • Math skills. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents need to be familiar with mathematical tools, including investment formulas.
What is the pay?

The average pay for securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents in the United States ranges from $33,060 to $208,000.

The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.

What is the career outlook?

Employment of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The high pay associated with securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents draws many more applicants than there are openings. Therefore, competition for jobs is intense.

Certification and a graduate degree, such as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA), can improve an applicant’s prospects.

What education is required?

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents generally must have a bachelor’s degree to get an entry-level job. Courses in business, finance, accounting, or economics are important, especially for larger firms. Many firms hire summer interns before their last year of college, and those who are most successful are offered full-time jobs after they graduate.

Numerous agents eventually get a master’s degree in business administration (MBA), which is often a requirement for high-level positions in the securities industry. Because the MBA exposes students to real-world business practices, it can be a major asset for jobseekers. Employers often reward MBA holders with higher level positions, better compensation, and large signing bonuses.

Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Accounting, Economics, Finance, or Management and Leadership.