How to become a stockbroker

Written by FinanceAdvice

April 29, 2019

Do you want to become a stockbroker, but don’t know how to start? In this article, we gathered the basics steps and information you need to know.

Let’s start from the very beginning and go back in time. The job of a stockbroker has existed since the 1700s when stocks started to be traded in the main financial markets of the world. This job role has become more sophisticated over time, and the changes of the modern world have modified some features and forms – like the brokerage online. However, there are some features that remain the same.

What does a stockbroker do? Can anyone be a stockbroker?

A stockbroker can be described as the person who buys and sell stocks for clients, both individuals, and corporations. This person is also an adviser who counsels clients on appropriate investments to fit their goals. In short, their main responsibility is to find clients the best prices and give them the best advice and tips possible. If their clients make money, they will do more trades with them and it means more commission for them.

A stockbroker is a middleman who executes the trade for the average person not qualified or able to do these exchanges, as the market is limited to members of the stock exchange


The golden rule of a stockbroker says that those who make the biggest trades and have the most clients make the most money.

Areas, duties and responsibilities

What are the main jobs involved in the stockbroker field? Let’s see some of the areas where this person could perform as well as the responsibilities of each one. 

  • Securities traders:the person who works in a firm or for individual clients buying and selling stocks and other commodities at a stock exchange for a commission.
  • Personal financial advisor: their job is to advise clients on financial plans based on their knowledge of tax and investment strategies, insurance, real estate, and securities.
  • Financial analysts:their goal is to study the performance of the investments (stocks, bonds, commodities). They also provide guidance to businesses and individuals making decisions about investments.
  • Financial managers: they are responsible for analyzing financial reports, monitoring accounts, and preparing activity reports and financial forecasts.
  • Investment bankers:assisting clients with mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and advising them on unique investment opportunities such as derivatives.

    Skills and education

    Now, it’s worth wondering what are the essentials skills to be a stockbroker. Like many other jobs, being a stockbroker requires perseverance and determination, but also hard work and passion.

    There are some valuable skills needed in order to excel in this field.
    An individual working in the financial market has to be able to explain different things around the investment and advice anyone beyond their own knowledge. Communication skills are therefore essential skills for a stockbroker. Besides, good attention to detail, a helpful attitude to customers and good analytical thinking skills are very important.
    A deep understanding of financial markets, regulations, and accounting practices also count.
    The sales and numerical skills are necessary in order to explain what the numbers mean and knowing how to manipulate the numbers through financial formulas are important.
    In formal terms, a stockbroker is a trained person who has a school diploma and a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance, accounting or business management. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is also very valuable.
    As a broker, you´ll be managing the money of other people and it carries a huge responsibility. Therefore, in order to provide clients with the best returns, a good stockbroker must stay up-to-date on the latest tax laws, market research and financial news.

    Exams and certifications

    To perform successfully in this type of job in the US, there are some exams that must be passed: the Series 7 and Series 63.

    Formally known as the General Securities Registered Representative Examination, Series 7 is given by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and is the most difficult test for anyone willing to be a stockbroker. Once this is passed, you’ll be an official stockbroker or a registered representative and this title will enable you to buy and sell all securities and investments except real estate, life insurance, and commodities futures.

    The other exams is the Series 63 and it evaluates conducting business and the various laws that govern transactions. It’s easier than Series 7 and also shorter.

    Aside from these two main exams, there are others you can take in order to specialize in finance, like the Series 65, Series 66, Series 3 and the Series 31. In some cases, these certificates are required: Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Consultant and Chartered Financial Analyst.

    Now, if you are in the UK the series exams are not something essential. Instead, CFA Society UK Level 4 Certificate in Investment Management, a CISI Level 4 Diploma in Investment Advice, a CISI Level 7 Master’s in Wealth Management, a Fellow or Associate of the Faculty or Institute of Actuaries, or a Manchester Metropolitan University BA (Hons) in Financial Services, Planning, and Management can be acquired.

    Brokers online

    Although most of the trading operations are executed by the house of brokers, the emergence of brokers online allows many investors to buy and sell stocks on their own. It carries some advantages, the main one being that it gives you the chance to take complete control of your own portfolio. However, is very important to do it with the best-ranked brokers online, with a wealth of experience, and a helpful and knowledgeable team available to assist with any issue.

    The market in numbers

    • 0.98% is the average annual job growth and so on. The demand for stockbrokers is growing.
    • 6 hours the time needed to take the 7 series exam, required to qualify as a stockbroker.
    • 75 minutes the time needed to take the Series 63 exam, the other exam that stockbrokers must pass.
    • 9.3 million per day is the number of corporate stocks and other securities exchanged in the New York Stock Exchange.

    Did you know that…?

    …according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the lowest 10 percent of stockbrokers earned less than

    US $33,060, and the highest 10 percent earned over US $208,000