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What is a 'Stockbroker'

A stockbroker, also called a Registered Representative, investment advisor or simply, broker, is a professional individual who executes buy and sell orders for stocks and other securities through a stock market, or over the counter, for a fee or commission. Stockbrokers are usually associated with a brokerage firm and handle transactions for retail and institutional customers. Brokerage firms and broker-dealers are also often referred to as stockbrokers.

BREAKING DOWN 'Stockbroker'

It used to be that only the wealthy could afford hiring a broker to have access to the stock market. However, advances in technology, such as the Internet, gave rise to discount brokers that allowed small investors to trade the stock markets at a small fee. Because of discount brokers, nearly anybody can afford to invest in the stock market, even individuals who are based overseas. One downside to this is the lack of personalized service only a dedicated stockbroker can offer.

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree in finance or business administration is typically required for stockbrokers. A deep understanding of financial laws and regulations, accounting methods, principles of economics and currency, financial planning and financial forecasting are necessary to ensure success in the field.

Various Country Licensing Requirements

Different countries have different requirements for stockbrokers. In Canada, would-be stockbrokers should be currently employed by a brokerage firm and are required to complete the Canadian Securities Course (CSC), Conduct and Practices Handbook (CPH) and the 90-day Investment Advisor Training Program (IATP). In Hong Kong, applicants have to be working for a licensed brokerage firm and pass three exams with the Hong Kong Securities Institute (HKSI). However, passing all three exams does not guarantee a license as it still has to be approved by the financial regulatory body.

In Singapore, becoming a trading representative requires passing four exams, Modules 1A, 5, 6 and 6A, administered by the Institute of Banking and Finance. A license is applied through the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singapore Exchange (SGX). In the United Kingdom, stockbroking is heavily regulated and brokers must achieve qualifications from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The qualifications required depend on the duties required of the broker as well as his employer. In the United States, the designation "Registered Representative" is obtained by passing the General Securities Representative Exam, also known as the "Series 7 exam," offered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Applicants must also be employed with a registered brokerage firm.

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