Internet Brokers: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become an Internet broker. Learn about education requirements, licensing and job duties to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Sales & Marketing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Internet Broker Do?

Internet brokers perform the duties of a stockbroker within an online environment rather than face-to-face. Therefore, most interactions with a client and transactions made on behalf of a client will be conducted over the Internet. A primary duty will involve buying and selling stocks, bonds and other securities.

Trading practices performed by the broker will result from extensive market knowledge and analysis as well as consultation with the client, who may be either an individual or an organization. The level of control the broker maintains in helping choose investments will primarily depend on the client, who may wish for a broker to simply follow instructions or who may desire a more advisory role.

Internet brokers will often actively seek new clientele and build a solid reputation by monitoring client investments with success and efficiency. These individuals may work independently or serve a specialist role in a brokerage firm. Cost and convenience are strong factors for clients in choosing an internet broker.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Accounting; economics; business
Key Responsibilities Buying and selling stocks and bonds, developing a client base
Licensure Required; specific to product and service sold
Job Growth (2014-2024) 10%* (securities, commodities and financial services sales agents)
Median Salary (2015) $71,550* (securities, commodities and financial services sales agents)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is an Internet Broker?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that an Internet broker is a type of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agent (www.bls.gov). The market is gradually shifting from exchange floor to computer-based trading, due to the speed at which trades can be made. The main difference between Internet brokers and other types of brokers is that they make trades through a computer network such as NASDAQ, or the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation system.

During your shift, you might buy or sell stocks, bonds, or other types of financial products. This would typically include processing, recording, and reviewing sales transactions. You may focus on developing new clients or assisting existing ones. This may include contacting clients to provide information on stock and other investment trends and market conditions.

If you're interested in working for a discount or online brokerage firm, you may work in a call center. These tend to be open 24-7, and agents work all types of shifts. You may work in excess of 40 hours a week, including weekends.

What Training and Education Would I Need?

If you're currently in high school or a recent graduate, you may want to consider a bachelor's degree program in accounting, economics, business, or a related emphasis, according to the BLS. The minimum educational requirement is usually a bachelor's degree, but a Master of Business Administration (MBA) may further assist you with career advancement.

If you're currently in a bachelor's degree program, you may want to look for a summer internship. The BLS indicates these may help you obtain a full-time position upon graduation. You may want to visit The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Career Center that provides information on summer internships, mentorship programs, and other career and educational advice (www.sifma.org).

The BLS indicates that on-the-job training is common. During this training, you might learn about a company's products and services. Other training opportunities may focus on technical information, current developments, and licensing exams.

Do I Need a License?

In order to work as a broker, the BLS states you'll need to register with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. The purpose of this U.S.-based regulatory service is not only to protect and educate investors, but to register and educate brokers to ensure they conduct themselves according to market rules and regulations (www.finra.org).

Brokerage licenses are product-and-service specific, according to the BLS. The type of license you need will depend on the type of firm where you work as well as other factors, such as the financial products your company sells. You'll also be required to engage in continuing education to maintain your license. Continuing education classes tend to cover legal issues as well as recently released products and services.

What Salary Could I Expect?

The BLS indicates your salary will be based on a variety of factors, including sales-based commissions. The May 2015 wage report for financial services sales agents and related positions indicates that the median wage was $34.40 per hour, or $71,550 per year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Jobs?

Both financial analysts and personal financial advisors are bachelor's degree-level occupations in which financial advice is given to clients. While the personal advisor works with individuals in a wide array of financial matters (including insurance, savings and taxation), the financial analyst takes on both individuals and businesses as clients. These professionals tend to focus on the field of investment, however.

A financial manager - also a career path necessitating a bachelor's degree - will assume a supervisory role over an organization's finances. Strategic planning and financial report composition are common tasks of this job, as is financial investment.

In addtion, broker and/or agent opportunities are available to help individuals obtain insurance or real estate, but these positions may not require a college degree.

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