Stockbroker

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Peter French is a trainee stockbroker adviser for a stockbrokers, based in London. Once qualified, he will be advising clients on how to invest their money to make the best profit.

What are your main responsibilities?

I work as part of a team of adviser stockbrokers, managing clients' portfolios (a collection of company stocks and shares that they own). My job involves a lot of contact with the clients because I buy and sell stocks and shares for them and research companies and markets.

How did you become a stockbroker?

I wanted a career with opportunities and one that would gel with my skills and character. I had always been interested in working in the financial industry and wanted to work somewhere that looked exciting and challenging.

I did some research and wrote a letter to a Stockbrokers explaining my interest and asking if they had any open positions. I was given an interview and was offered the job.

What is a stock market?

A stock market is the mechanism through which company shares are bought and sold. The London Stock Exchange runs the stock market in the UK. There are many companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. The top 100 UK companies are known as the FTSE (Financial Times Stock Exchange or Footsie) 100.

What is a typical day like?

I get to work at 7.45 a.m. and read the latest news to get a general overview of the FTSE 100 stock market and check the previous day's deals. The phone usually starts to ring at 8 a.m. when the stock market opens for trading. I discuss my ideas on trade with my clients. I give them my thoughts as to how I see the stock market performing both today and in the future.

The phones constantly ring throughout the day. Between calls, I complete any administration.

How do you research companies and markets?

We have a team of investment analysts and I use their research. I also use computer based stock market information tools. For example, one company quotes live stock market prices and gives up-to-date news on companies, markets and exchange rates.

How is maths used in your work?

I calculate the profit and loss on clients' accounts and work out things like breakeven prices, which are the prices that particular stocks would have to reach before the client starts to make a profit.

Do you work long hours?

I am contracted to work 35 hours a week, but I sometimes choose to work longer hours to make sure I'm organised. The official opening hours of the UK stock market are 8am-4.30pm. I am usually in work just before 8 a.m. and, depending on workloads, leave between 4.30pm and 6pm.

What qualities do you need to be a stockbroker?

I need to be quick thinking and organised, and I need to earn the trust of my colleagues and clients. I also have to be focused and able to cope in a busy and sometimes stressful environment. Where I work is constantly buzzing. It's busy, hectic, loud and full of atmosphere!

What do you like about your work?

I like the constant challenge of dealing with busy workloads and the stressful atmosphere. And I get a sense of satisfaction when my advice earns money for a client.

Peter's route to becoming a stockbroker

  • H grades. (Scottish equivalent of A levels)
  • Completed securities and registered representative professional exams while in work.
  • (Currently studying for another exam).

Peter's tips

  • Work experience is essential. Get as much work experience in as many companies as possible.
  • Although not essential, further education in areas such as economics would be highly beneficial.
  • Be aware of the financial news, for example by reading the finance sections in newspapers.

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Salary of a stockbroker

  • Starting salaries are in the range of £20,000 to £30,000.
  • Generally, employers outside London pay towards the lower end of the scale, while larger firms in London pay towards the top end of the scale.
  • At about the age of 40, salaries can range from £60,000 to £180,000 a year.
  • In good years, bonuses are paid on top of this depending on the firm's profitability and the individual's performance and responsibilities.

Getting in

  • You usually need a degree to enter the work. Useful degrees include mathematics, business and management, economics, statistics and law.
  • Applicants without a degree may be able to get in, but need to demonstrate that they have the appropriate skills and aptitude.
  • Employers look for team players who are organised and have good communication skills.
  • Trainees work towards professional qualifications while in employment.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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