Securities Industry Careers At a Glance

By: Kaplan Financial Education
March 18, 2019
Silhouettes of securities professionals in front of a backdrop of investment performance

Are you considering a career in the securities industry? If you are looking for more information about the profession, you are in the right place. Find out more about what the day-to-day of a securities industry professional is like, as well as the expected job growth over the next decade below. 

What Do Securities Industry Professionals Do?

Securities industry professionals typically provide a wide range of products for their clients. Typical job duties of brokers include:

  • Contact prospective clients to explain their service offerings
  • Provide financial advice on purchase or sale of certain securities
  • Buy and sell securities, like stocks and bonds
  • Monitor financial markets and the performance of individual securities
  • Report performance of securities products to clients
  • Evaluate agreement costs and revenues

Thinking about a career in securities? Download our free eBook, Launching Your Securities Career, to get tips and advice from 100+ securities professionals.

Important Skill Sets for the Securities Industry

The securities industry can be fast-paced and demanding, so it is important for securities professionals to have the following skill sets:

  • Analysis: Securities professionals must be able analyze risks and benefits of all securities options for clients quickly and effectively.
  • Sales and marketing: Securities professionals need to be able to market their skills and knowledge to potential clients, compellingly conveying how their products can benefit their clients’ long-term financial needs.
  • Emotional control: The stock market is unpredictable and all investment decisions come with risk. It is important for securities industry professionals to be able to keep their emotions, as well as their clients’ emotions, in check.
  • Relationship building: While understanding securities products is important, being able to build relationships with clients is ultimately what will make securities professionals successful. Building up a book of clients requires building trust, communicating effectively, and listening to clients.
  • Self-motivation: To succeed in the securities industry, it is imperative to take initiative, recognize opportunities, and continually follow up with prospective and current clients. There is a lot of competition in financial services and going above and beyond what is expected is the norm.

Job Outlook for Securities Industry

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, securities, commodities, and financial services sales agent jobs are expected to grow 6% between 2016-2026, which is about average for all occupations.

Employment growth is expected to be even stronger for commodities brokers and traders than other financial services sales agents because the market has increased in recent years because of large group investors, like retirement funds, entering the market.

How Much Do Securities Industry Professionals Make?

The median annual wage for the securities, commodities, and financial service sales industry was $63,780 in May 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent earned more than $208,000 while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,060.

Many brokers earn a commission based on the value of the products they sell. Most firms pay brokers a minimum salary in addition to their commissions. Trainee brokers may earn a salary until they develop a client base with the salary gradually decreasing in favor of commissions.

How to Get Started in the Securities Industry

In order to get started in the securities industry, for most securities licenses, you will need to take and pass the Securities Industry Essentials Exam, secure firm sponsorship and pass a securities “top off” licensing exam. Exam preparation packages can help you get ready for your exams.


Looking for more information on Securities licensing and exams? Kaplan Financial Education offers securities licensing study solutions for many of the series exams. Check out our website or call 800.824.8742 for more information. 

Free Download:A Candidate's Complete Guide to the SIE Exam

After identifying nine series exams with common content (6, 7, 22, 57, 79, 82, 86/87, 99), FINRA decided to restructure their licensing process. The common content is now tested in the new Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. Download this free guide to learn more about how the new securities licensing process works, the rationale for the change, SIE tested exam content, and how it could change hiring and recruiting practices.