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The U.S. Department of Labor divides securities into four major categories:

  • securities brokers, dealers, and floating companies;
  • commodities contracts brokers and dealers;
  • securities and commodities exchanges; and
  • services allied with the exchanges of securities.

So, what is a work day really like in the securities industry?

Financial analysts often work in teams, analyzing the future prospects of companies that want to sell shares to the public for the first time. They review financial statements of companies, evaluate economic and market trends, and make investment recommendations. Analysts also ensure compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations and may make presentations to prospective investors. Financial analysts may also work in mergers and acquisitions departments, preparing reports on the costs and benefits of a proposed merger or takeover.

Financial managers are employed throughout the industry, preparing financial documents for the regulatory authorities or directing a firm's investment policies.

Sales representatives (also known as traders, market makers, and floor brokers) actually make the trades on the exchange floor or over the computer and handle much of the day-to-day operations within a brokerage firm.

Sales assistants take calls from clients, write up order tickets and enter them into the computer, handle the paperwork for new accounts, inform clients of stock prices, and perform other tasks as needed. Some sales assistants obtain licenses to sell securities. This allows them to call brokers' clients with recommendations from the broker on specific investments.

Financial planners provide advice to both individuals and businesses on a broad range of financial subjects, such as investments, retirement planning, tax management, and employee benefits.

Portfolio managers and commodity trading advisors are responsible for making investment decisions for clients with large sums of money to invest. These clients include mutual funds, pension funds, trust funds, commodity pools, and high net-worth individuals. Portfolio managers must know the investment goals of the client and ensure that the investments they make meet those goals.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
Financial Analysts and Personal Financial Advisors
Securities, Commodities, and Other Investments

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