A broker sales assistant helps financial advisors, traditionally referred to as brokers, with time management by handling routine client inquiries. Most questions are related to account maintenance matters, allowing financial advisors to devote more time to their value-added activity, providing investment advice.
While the phrase "broker sales assistant" still is common parlance, most wealth management firms officially use the title "financial advisor sales assistant" or something similar. Supporting a busy financial advisor with a large roster of clients means a constant stream of telephone inquiries and time pressure to resolve problems. A sales assistant can have a large influence on client satisfaction.
Broker's Sales Assistant Duties & Responsibilities
This job generally requires the ability to do the following work and meet the following responsibilities:
- Screen telephone calls to financial advisors.
- Solve operational problems such as issues with statements, deposits, checks, and credit card transactions.
- Troubleshoot for clients.
Registered sales assistants perform these same duties in addition to processing unsolicited trade orders. They're typically not permitted to offer investment advice of any sort, however.
This job goes well beyond mere clerical duties. Registered brokers sales assistants can be critical to maintaining client rapport and satisfaction, and in easing the workloads of the brokers they work for through organization and record-keeping. This is often an entry-level position to start, but it can rapidly expand due to superior performance.
Broker's Sales Assistant Salary
Compensation is highly variable depending on the firm and the size and profitability of the financial advisor's book of business. Registered sales assistants tend to earn at the higher end of this range. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't cite salary information for brokers' sales assistants specifically, but it indicates that incomes for brokerage clerks in general in 2018 were:
- Median Annual Salary: $51,400 ($24.71/hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $76,550 ($36.81/hour)
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $34,670 ($16.67/hour)
In an ongoing drive to cut expenses, many securities brokerage and wealth management firms have moved to a system in which pay for sales assistants is deducted from the financial advisors' pay. These assistants are officially employees of the firm, but the firm has effectively relieved itself of much, if not all, of its compensation costs.
Education, Training & Certification
Those looking for careers as brokers' sales assistants should ideally have college degrees, and registered assistants are subject to testing requirements.
- Education: This job category was deemed suitable for high school graduates in past years, but a bachelor's degree is typically required today. Coursework in finance, accounting, or economics is helpful, although not required.
- Certification: No special certifications are necessary except for registered sales assistants. People in this subcategory can accept and process unsolicited securities trade orders that are placed by clients entirely on their own initiative.
- Testing: At a minimum, registered sales assistants must pass the Series 11 exam offered by FINRA and meet continuing education requirements. Larger securities firms can require much more rigorous qualifications, however, such as passing the same Series 7 and Series 66 exams that are part of financial advisor certification and training.
Broker's Sales Assistant Skills & Competencies
Those looking for careers as brokers' sales assistants should have several qualities and skills for success:
- Interpersonal skills: You'll regularly deal with clients and firm personnel. You'll have to interact well with them, sometimes under pressure.
- Multitasking skills: You won't be able to put the phone and clients on hold while you take care of other pressing tasks.
- Discernment: This job can involve troubleshooting, knowing when to act and when not to act in the best interests of the firm and clients.
- Writing skills: You'll probably be called upon to convey information to your financial advisor in a clear, concise written form.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that job growth for administrative assistants, in general, will drop by about 7% through 2026. This is far below average for all occupations, and the trend is due, at least in part, to technology taking over many of the tasks that assistants have historically performed. This might not be the case with brokers' sales assistants, however, because much of their work involves hands-on interaction with clients.
The practice of paying assistants from financial advisors' pay can have a negative effect on this occupation, however. It's bound to diminish job openings and pay potential for sales assistants. Only the most successful financial advisors earn enough to take on a sales assistant or to pay a competitive salary.
This is a desk job for the most part, but sales assistants often are expected to attend events in which clients are being entertained.
A 40-hour workweek or something close to it is typical for a sales assistant. Nonetheless, there are busy periods when work extends beyond these hours, such as during turbulent markets.
Comparing Similar Jobs
Some similar jobs and their median annual pay include:
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018