Prime Broker: Job Description and Requirements

Sep 14, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a prime broker. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the right career for you.

You might be interested in a career as a prime broker if you have extensive financial and business acumen, and like working directly with clients. A master's degree in economics or finance is often necessary, as is certification with a professional body such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. This career involves providing financial and investment advice on behalf of clients with large sums of money, based on current market trends.

Essential Information

Prime brokers provide financial services to clients. They are also in charge of securing funding, delivering products and recruiting new business. This career requires a bachelor's degree in business, finance, accounting, or economics, along with relevant work experience in hedge funds and money markets. Licensure is required for many positions as well. An MBA or master's degree in finance or economics is recommended.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in business, finance, accounting, or economics
Recommended Education MBA, or master's degree in finance or economics
Additional Requirements Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) certification
Hedge funds and money markets work experience
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 4% (securities, commodities and financial services sales agents)
Median Salary (2018)* $64,120 (securities, commodities and financial services sales agents)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description of a Prime Broker

A prime brokerage is a firm designed to help clients interested in making large financial transactions, usually in the form of stock or commodities acquisitions or sales. A prime brokerage typically works with hedge fund managers or private professional investors who have large sums of money to invest. Accordingly, a prime broker is the agent that works directly with clients to help secure funding for the transactions, as well as ensure safe and complete deliveries of the products being bought or sold. A prime broker's job also includes being able to recruit new business, in addition to maintaining and servicing a firm's current clients.

Job Duties

Prime brokers frequently work long hours and spend their days making phone calls and attending meetings to either recruit prospective clients or do business with current clients. However, in order to provide their clients with sound financial and investment advice, brokers must research available financial products and financial market trends. Many successful brokers work nights and weekends gathering information, due to the fact that their days are generally full with phone calls and client meetings. Additionally, a prime broker's job involves using previous client relationships in order to generate new business.

Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree in business, finance, accounting, or economics is a starting point for a potential prime broker. Most brokerages strongly recommend that applicants have a master's degree in finance, economics, or business administration. Employers often require applicants to have several years of experience with hedge funds and money markets. New hires are often expected to have a thorough understanding of risk management and portfolio management.

Licensing and Certification Requirements

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) mandates that anyone who deals with financial securities must register with their organization. Other certifications that may be necessary include the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation awarded by the CFA Institute or the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification given by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary earned by securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents, including prime brokers, was $64,120 in May 2018. This career field is expected to grow by 4% from 2018-2028, per the BLS, which is about the same as the national average for all occupations.

This is a career that involves managing large sums of money, based on the needs of clients and the current financial market climate. It can be a demanding job, best suited for someone with extensive industry experience and a minimum of a bachelor's degree in finance or a related field. Job growth should be about average in the coming decade, and prospective employees can improve their job prospects by earning a master's degree or becoming certified.

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