Financial Employment Information
- More than 9 out of 10 worked for securities and commodities, banks, and other finance industries.
- Brokerage clerks be may high school or college graduates, but positions dealing with the public, such as broker’s or sales assistant and those dealing with more complicated financial records are increasingly being held by college graduates.
- Although a growing economy will result in more financial transactions that require these workers, the continuing spread of office automation and the emergence of online trading will result in slower-than-average growth in employment.
Brokerage clerks handle much of the day-to-day operations of brokerages, performing a number of different jobs with a wide range of responsibilities; all involve computing and recording data pertaining to securities transactions. Brokerage clerks also may contact customers, take orders, and inform clients of changes to their accounts. Some of these jobs are more clerical and require only a high school diploma, while others are considered entry-level positions for which a bachelor’s degree is needed. Brokerage clerks, who work in the operations departments of securities firms, on trading floors, and in branch offices, also are called margin clerks, dividend clerks, transfer clerks, and broker’s assistants.
The broker’s assistant, also called sales assistant, is the most common type of brokerage clerk. These workers typically assist two brokers, for whom they take calls from clients, write up order tickets, process the paperwork for opening and closing accounts, record a client’s purchases and sales, and inform clients of changes to their accounts. All broker’s assistants must be knowledgeable about investment products so that they can communicate clearly with clients. Those with a “Series 7” license can make recommendations to clients at the instruction of the broker. This license, issued to securities and commodities sales representatives by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), allows them to provide advice on securities to the public. (Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents)
Brokerage clerks in the operations areas of securities firms perform many duties to facilitate the sale and purchase of stocks, bonds, commodities, and other kinds of investments. These clerks produce the necessary records of all transactions that occur in their area of the business. Job titles for many of them depend upon the type of work that they perform. Purchase-and-sale clerks, for example, match orders to buy with orders to sell. They balance and verify trades of stock by comparing the records of the selling firm with those of the buying firm. Dividend clerks ensure timely payments of stock or cash dividends to clients of a particular brokerage firm. Transfer clerks execute customer requests for changes to security registration and examine stock certificates to make sure that they adhere to banking regulations. Receive-and-deliver clerks facilitate the receipt and delivery of securities among firms and institutions. Margin clerks record and monitor activity in customers’ accounts to ensure that clients make payments and stay within legal boundaries concerning their purchases of stock.
Technology is changing the nature of many of these jobs. A significant and growing number of brokerage clerks use custom-designed software programs to process transactions more quickly. Only a few customized accounts are still handled manually. Furthermore, the rapid expansion of online trading reduces the amount of paperwork because brokerage clerks are able to make trades electronically.
Brokerage clerks work in offices. Usually the work flow is fairly regular; however, when sales activity increases, the pace can become hectic.
Brokerage clerks generally work a standard 40-hour week, but, they may work overtime during particularly busy periods. Most brokerage clerks work in areas that are clean and well lit, but may be noisy at times.
|Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
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Depending on the job description, brokerage clerks can be high school or college graduates. Positions dealing with the public, such as broker’s or sales assistant, and those dealing with more complicated financial records are increasingly being held by college graduates.
Brokerage clerk jobs require good organizational and communication skills, as well as attention to detail. Computer skills also are important in order to enter and retrieve data quickly. A Series 7 brokerage license can make a clerk more valuable to the broker because it gives the assistant the ability to answer more of a client’s questions and to pass along securities recommendations from the broker. Before clerks can obtain a license, however, they must pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination (Series 7 exam), administered by the NASD, and be an employee of a registered firm for at least 4 months.
Most new employees are trained on the job, working under the close supervision of more experienced employees. Some firms offer formal training that may include courses in telephone etiquette, computer use, and customer service skills.
Clerks may be promoted to sales representative positions or other professional positions within the securities industry. Some of the larger firms have training programs, especially for their college graduates, that provide clerks with the skills they need for advancement.
Brokerage clerks held about 75,000 jobs in 2004. More than 9 out of 10 worked for securities and commodities, banks, and other finance industries.
Employment of brokerage clerks is expected to grow more slowly than average for all occupations through the year 2014. Although a growing economy will result in more financial transactions and other activities that require these workers, the continuing spread of office automation will lift worker productivity and restrict job growth.
With people increasingly investing in securities, brokerage clerks will be required to process larger volumes of transactions. Moreover, some brokerage clerks will still be needed to update records, enter changes into customers’ accounts, and verify transfers of securities. However, the emergence of online trading and widespread automation in the securities and commodities industry will limit demand for brokerage clerks in the coming decade. Some job openings will stem from the need to replace clerks who transfer to other occupations or stop working.
Median hourly earnings of brokerage clerks were $16.94 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.52 and $21.60. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.22 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $27.11.
Brokerage clerks compute and record data. Other workers who perform calculations and record data include bill and account collectors; billing and posting clerks and machine operators; bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; order clerks; and tellers.