On Becoming a Securities Sales Representative

by Misaki Takata

It has been said that the securities market has become an artery of capitalism. People who used to keep their money in banks are now trying to manage it actively as the interest rates have decreased and the money earned from deposits becomes lower. As a result, securities such as stock certificates, bonds, and investment trusts play a significant role in our society, and the securities market has come much closer to our ordinary lives. Professionals who help customers invest their money, such as brokerage firms and securities sales representatives, are and will be increasingly in demand.

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Securities sales reps work at companies that are related to finance businesses such as brokerage firms, banks, trust companies, and insurance companies. There are three main duties that sales reps perform. First, they deal with the stock market. In other words, they work hard to earn extra money for their company. Next, sales reps help customers trade on the stock market. They buy and sell stocks, bonds, and investment trusts. Finally, sales reps sell bonds of listed companies to investors. The purpose is to guide investors in the right directions on investments by offering accurate advice and information services. Therefore, securities sales representatives often visit or call each customer to consult and give information about their investments and help the investors decide what they are going to do with their money. Reps also need to look for new customers by advertising their companies’ products. It is important that they remain sensitive to the performance of the overall economy in order to predict the trend of stocks, bonds and other securities. If there are big issues which might influence the investors, they need to take action immediately to lessen the damage from it.

Since it is a very responsible and technical job, they need to get a license by taking official examinations. There are three kinds of qualifications that allow people to deal with securities. The kinds of products can work with differs depending on which qualification they have. Passing qualifying exams allows reps to perform all sorts of securities business transactions, including, high-risk duties such as future and option trading. In addition to the qualifications, workers need to be registered as securities sales representatives. These are the requirements to perform work for securities firms. Anyone who has failed to complete either of these cannot work for jobs related in the securities market. Since this job forces you to study and analyze the market constantly, it is a good career for people who like to keep on studying and researching. In addition, the most important part of the job is to support and help customers, so this career would also suit people who are good at socializing and servicing customers.

People in this career work basically from nine to five. However, they frequently need to come to the office earlier in the morning or work overtime. They work from Monday to Friday, and may get days off on weekends and national holidays. Entry-level workers can expect to earn about 2,500,000 yen a year. However, if experienced, the salary differs a lot depending on the company, experience, and results as the job is often based on a merit system which allows them to earn more money when they get new customers or contracts. The average salary is about 7,500,000 yen a year. Some reps get about 3,000,000, and others earn more than 30,000,000; there is a big gap in salaries. This job is financially risky because investors may experience serious damage due to poorly performing investments. Although the decisions about investments must be made by customers and they are the ones who are ultimately responsible for them, representatives also have to pay close attention to the market to avoid big losses for their investors’ property.

The disadvantages of this job, as mentioned above, are: investments can be very risky, and there is no guarantee that the customer will never lose their money. Work is tough, with heavy responsibilities, and people can be mean and rude when visiting houses to talk about products. On the other hand, all the knowledge reps get through the job can be very useful in their own lives. It is interesting to understand about the world’s economy and keep learning about many different things related to it. Above all, however, the biggest advantage would be the trust and human relationships reps can build with their customers. There can be a great feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment when customers make a big profit and reps receive thanks for their support. Therefore, although the securities sales reps career can be a very tough one, I think it is an interesting and worthy job to perform.

Misaki Takata is a fourth-year student in the Dept. of British and American Cultural Studies.