Do you have any advice for becoming a Registered rep?

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dakilica's picture
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Joined: 2011-05-23

Hi all,I am new to the forums, I have been reading them for quite some time now. I am from Belgrade, Serbia. I am also an upcoming international student at Grinnell College (Class 2015), and I would like to ask you guys some questions, if that's ok.I would really like to become a registered rep in the future. There are several reasons why I'd like that -

  • Firstly, and most importantly - I view the market as a living organism, always moving and changing.
  • Secondly, I LOVE numbers (math), and I really, really love interacting with people, especially via selling.
  • Thirdly, I enjoy working in a fast-paced environment (I also work better under pressure).
  • Lastly, I have had a chance to read several books on this topic and I enjoyed them a lot.
  • (starting from "Liar's Poker", to "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator" etc.)

Now, I probably am in no position to state that I love selling - because I've only sold several things around the neighbourhood, and worked in a parfume store where I got a taste of the sweet feeling of selling.( -parfumes, which, let's face it - isn't hard).What I can say is that I have been paper trading for about a year now, and I have both made and lost some (albeit virtual) money (about 10-12%), though probably through sheer luck (which is another reason to learn more).As for my education, I was planning on either: a) majoring in economics at Grinnell, and Financial Engineering at Columbia. (Through the 3-2 program)b) majoring in economics and math at Grinnell, and spending one year at London School of Economics Do you have any advice as to my further steps towards becoming a registered rep? Should I choose path a or b?ANY criticism or suggestions are helpful, seeing as you people know your jobs and what you're talking about.I (hope) I am not arrogant, and I am extremely, extremely willing to learn and put the work in. Please, offer any advice if you can,Thank you in advance,All the best,D.

E.D.Wood's picture
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Joined: 2011-05-25

I don't know how the labor market is in  Serbia, but in the USA, you might as well spend $1,500-$4,500 getting a series 6 than getting a bachelors degree in Economics or Finance, which will run anywhere from $25,000- $100,000. Even if you get a bachelors in either of the two fields you have to get licensed in order to sell financial. Save yourself the money and just get licensed, instead of paying for an expensive BA and being hesitant on becomming licensed because you spent a ridiculous amount of money on a BA.

DTA's picture
DTA
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Joined: 2010-10-12

I would rather be a failed FA with a Bachelor's degree than a failed FA without one. Education is something that can never be taken away from you and completing a degree from a college or university should be looked at as a standard and not as "going above and beyond". In my family, college is a natural progression from high school. Its really not a decision of if they are going. It is a decision of where there are going to go. Most firms will not even interview you if you do not have a BA. They are looking for people who have a history of setting goals and obtaining those goals. Also, I believe that it cheapens the profession as a whole to allow "Advisors" without higher education to work with the public. Does having a BA guarantee your success in this business? Of course not. Analysts, money managers, ect., all have degrees and most have Graduate degrees. Why should the sales side of the business be any different?  I am not trying to ruffle the feathers of anyone who didn't go or complete college by any means, but enough is enough. Our country looks at higher education as secondary. There is to much of a "Every day I'm Hustling" attitude in this country. Its easy to see why we are nearly last in every academic study that comes out when the U.S. is being compared to other countries. Standards have to be set when it comes to individuals who are responsible for the financial health of other people. 

E.D.Wood's picture
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Joined: 2011-05-25

College education is over-rated, we come last in academic studies because college education has been so dumbed down, because of the ideology that everyone should go to college, and so everyone does!I think a BA is cheapened, because any idiot can have one.

DTA's picture
DTA
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Joined: 2010-10-12

There still needs to be a standard and a high school diploma should not be it. You're saying that obtaining a college degree is a waste since it is so easy to get one? From what I remember, high school was a cakewalk. So a high school diploma that is even easier to obtain should be the standard? Nope, not going to buy that. Its not about prestige. it is about accountability which seems to be a problem in this industry. I am just voicing my opinion and I do not want to get the reputation for flaming on this forum since I have acquired a lot of useful information on here. I respect your opinion and I do agree with you in regards to the costs of attending college. I do not believe in acquiring a lot of school debt. There are plenty of professions that require a college degree. Why should this profession (sales side) be any different?  

dakilica's picture
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Joined: 2011-05-23

Thank you a lot, but that still doesn't answer my question -What should I do from now on?

N.D.'s picture
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Joined: 2009-07-14

If you want to be a salesman you should major in psych, human behavior or relationship management type schooling. Becoming a financial engineer doesn't mean shit to a salesman. So you need to decide to be a salesman or not and that will answer your own question. You do not need to unbderstand how the products are constructed to sell them your compliance department will make sure you know what to sell to whom just learn to prospect, build relationships and close business. Unfortunalty these traits cannot be tought in any school. Good luck!!

DTA's picture
DTA
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Joined: 2010-10-12

I do apologize for hijacking your thread. N.D. is absolutely right. Good luck with your future endeavors.

E.D.Wood's picture
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Joined: 2011-05-25

DTA wrote:There still needs to be a standard and a high school diploma should not be it. You're saying that obtaining a college degree is a waste since it is so easy to get one? From what I remember, high school was a cakewalk. So a high school diploma that is even easier to obtain should be the standard? Nope, not going to buy that. Its not about prestige. it is about accountability which seems to be a problem in this industry. I am just voicing my opinion and I do not want to get the reputation for flaming on this forum since I have acquired a lot of useful information on here. I respect your opinion and I do agree with you in regards to the costs of attending college. I do not believe in acquiring a lot of school debt. There are plenty of professions that require a college degree. Why should this profession (sales side) be any different? Because in most starting out sales jobs you aren't required to have a college degree, and it is necessary to have a high school diploma. So don't waste your time and money, and just get certified.Learning theoretical principles of any science doesn't make anyone any more accountable, accountability doesn't come when you shake your college presidents hand.

N.D.'s picture
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Joined: 2009-07-14

Especially these days when you have diplomas that are sold and not earned. Look at University of Phoenix for example. But the big schools are getting into it as well. No accountability just pushes em through. The next big bubble will probably be student loan defaults. Everything the government touches will eventually explode.

njh_at_lfg's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-17

If you love math, the markets, and are on a potential path to get a degree from a "prestigious school" then you should consider the other areas of financial services: RIA/fee-only planner/portfolio management/analyst.  It sounds like the regerstered rep route is not for you based on the information you provided in your first post.  Being a registered rep will put you in a sales role where as the others will be using an objective based process.  With the degrees your mentioning you will make more money in the long run and build a reputation (assuming your good at what you do) and within those areas your degree will mean more to your clients or employer.  I do agree with the other posts that if you really want to be a rr as a long term career you should save your money on schooling.Hope this helps. 

E.D.Wood's picture
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Joined: 2011-05-25

If you wanna go the RIA route I'd major in financial engineering and  minor in economics. Econ with give you an idea how the markets a function, but after your core classes your wont really need to too many econ electives for what you'd like to do, and all the electives are applied coursework of the core classes anyways. Besides, you wouldn't want to end up taking  a class thats irrelevant to you such "Labor Economics" or "Environmental Economics" simply to maintain a full-time student status.

N.D.'s picture
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Joined: 2009-07-14

Let me add one more thing which is what I think DTA was expressing some what.

If you want to be a salesman then the education will not help you sell, overcome objections or manage relationships. BUT, your educational goals WILL make you more valuable to the entire industry and not limit you to sales alone. On one hand you can go straight to work selling and your value will be in the book you build which may or may not stay with you through time or you can get the education and its value will be with you regardless of what/where life takes you.

Tough decision! A good salesman can build a wonderful book by the time you get out of school and be set for life just "maintaining" it.

DTA's picture
DTA
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Joined: 2010-10-12

All great points. I might have been a little worked up yesterday when I first posted since my secretary and I just finished a great discussion about lazy teenagers. haha

E.D.Wood's picture
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Joined: 2011-05-25

My appolgies to you DTA if in any way I vexed you.My conduct as a new member of this forum hasn't been the best. I've been out school for 5 months looking for work, and I've been getting pretty cynical in attitude. 

DTA's picture
DTA
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Joined: 2010-10-12

No worries E.D. Wood. Hopefully you're job hunt comes to an end soon with success. If you are looking to become an FA, it shouldn't be that hard to at least get an interview with the major wires. I interviewed with nearly all of them before deciding to work for an indy firm. Also, check with some indy firms in your area. They just may surprise you...

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