Education and Training: High school
Salary: Median—$35,235 per year
Employment Outlook: Fair
Definition and Nature of the Work
Brokerage clerks work for securities or brokerage firms. They are responsible for preparing and maintaining the records of financial transactions involving stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.
Purchase-and-sale clerks match orders to buy with orders to sell and balance and verify stock trades. Dividend clerks pay stock or cash dividends to a firm's clients. Transfer clerks make sure that stock certificates comply with banking regulations. They also handle customer requests for security registration changes. Receive-and-deliver clerks handle the receipt and delivery of securities among firms. Margin clerks are responsible for monitoring customers' margin accounts (cash advance/credit accounts customers set up with the brokerage firm) and ensuring customers make their payments.
Brokerage clerks use the most current computer equipment and software. Many use custom-designed software programs to process transactions.
Education and Training Requirements
A high school diploma or its equivalent is usually required for a brokerage clerk position. Computer knowledge—especially of word processing and spreadsheet programs—is very important. When hired, new brokerage clerks usually receive on-the-job training that sometimes involves formal classroom study.
Because brokerage clerk jobs are usually entry-level positions, some college graduates with degrees in business or finance apply for them as a means of beginning a career in the financial field. Many brokerage firms have a set course of promotion for these graduates that advances them from brokerage clerk jobs into managerial positions.
The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) offers a Series 7 brokerage license that qualifies a clerk to take on more responsibilities in a brokerage firm. The designation gives the clerk the ability to pass along securities recommendations from a broker and to answer more clients' questions. In general, the designation makes a clerk more valuable to a brokerage firm. A clerk must be employed by a registered firm for four months before taking the Series 7 exam for the license.
Brokerage clerks should be organized and detail oriented, and they should have good interpersonal skills. Because they handle finances and confidential material, they must also be honest and trustworthy.
Getting the Job
The local state employment agency, Internet job sites, and the help wanted section of the newspaper are good places to look for job openings. Sometimes contacting a financial institution's personnel department directly can lead to a job opportunity. Large firms often send representatives to schools and colleges to recruit qualified people.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Brokerage clerks frequently advance by assuming more duties in the same position with higher pay. Some are promoted to low-level, then senior, supervisory positions. With additional experience and education, a clerk may become a qualified broker.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, brokerage clerks held seventy-five thousand jobs in 2004. Nine out of ten worked for securities and commodities firms, banks, and other financial institutions. Employment of brokerage clerks was expected to grow more slowly than average for all occupations through the year 2014, due primarily to automation and changes in business practices and to the small size of the occupation.
Brokerage clerks usually work forty hours per week in a pleasant office environment. Overtime may be required during periods of heavy stock and bond market activity. The work can be repetitive and sometimes tedious. Often there are joint tasks that require working closely with others.
Where to Go for More Information
Association of Records Managers and Administrators International
13725 W. 109th St., Ste. 101
Lenexa, KS 66215
Bank Administration Institute
1 N. Franklin, Ste. 1000
Chicago, IL 60606-3421
Earnings and Benefits
Salaries for brokerage clerks vary depending on geographic location, type and size of the institution, level of education and training, and complexity of the clerk's duties. The median annual salary for brokerage clerks in 2004 was $35,235, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Brokerage clerks generally receive a benefits package that includes life and health insurance, retirement plans, and paid vacation time.