Many individuals in the financial services industry are underpaid and underwhelmed. In this article we'll offer you some tips that you can use to increase your income.

1. Take On More Responsibility
The financial services industry is a difficult industry in which to operate and build a career. After all, its ranks are essentially chock-full of aggressive, well-educated individuals. Indeed, slackers need not apply.

Taking on additional duties could lead to an increase in either base salary or commissions. Brokers, advisors and other employees may have the ability to set themselves apart and increase their incomes by volunteering to take on a variety of new responsibilities. Depending on the job function, these responsibilities could include running or taking part in sales meetings, or helping out new employees in some capacity. It may also mean taking on client accounts that currently belong to the house.

Another potential alternative is to take on specific managerial or project-related duties. For example, if the individual is properly licensed, he or she could manage multiple junior brokers, advisors or other employees within the department.

At the very least, these extra duties can make the individual much more attractive to the firm as well as to outside firms looking to head hunt. And, at the very least, they will help raise the individual's profile, which can have a greater impact during promotions or reviews.

2. Get A New License
Some registered reps obtain their Series 7 and Series 63 licenses figuring they have covered all the bases they need to to be successful. And for some, that may be the case. However, if a registered rep wants to learn and grow as a professional and to possibly open up new types of accounts and/or manage higher-income individuals, it may make sense or be necessary to obtain even more licenses.

What types of licenses are available? There are quite a few, but some of the most beneficial are:

  • The Series 3, which allows the holder to sell commodities
  • The Series 24, which allows individuals to manage branch activities
  • The Series 4, which allows individuals to supervise options sales personnel

If you are interested in increasing your education, you should ask your immediate supervisors and the firm's human resources department if you are eligible and if the company might consider sponsoring your education goals. Often, broker-dealers want to build from within and are willing to pay to see their registered reps grow and learn about the business.

3. Explore Outside Work
Registered reps may not be permitted by their firm to have any outside business dealings whatsoever at any point in time. Therefore broker-dealers must be made aware of any and all potential outside business dealings their employees might have in advance. FINRA is fairly strict on this matter as it could lead to conflicts of interest.

If your company is one of the ones that does allow outside work, it will probably come with some strict conditions: most likely that it in no way can be construed as a conflict of interest and is not in violation of the firm or FINRA rules. Also, employees should be sure to brush up on FINRA's Rule 3030, which details outside business relationships.

4. Increase Your Network
On Wall Street, sometimes who you know is just as important as what you know. Therefore, employees at brokerage firms and investment banks should always consider attending client functions and mingling with others in the field when possible. This is a great way to find out about new job openings and potential ways to advance within their current firm.

The Bottom Line
Brokers, advisors and other financial service-firm employees have the potential to enhance their incomes if they are willing to learn more, work harder, obtain additional licenses (if they are registered) and network. In order to take advantage of an opportunity, it is imperative that the individual make the first move and discuss their options with the firm's human resources department.

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