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Salary, Wages, Pay: Securities, Commodities & Financial Services Sales Agents




Median annual earnings of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents were $69,200 in May 2004. The middle half earned between $40,750 and $131,290.

Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents in 2004 were:

Other financial investment activities $94,670
Securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage 85,350
Management of companies and enterprises 67,690
Nondepository credit intermediation 51,820
Depository credit intermediation 44,670

Stockbrokers, who provide personalized service and more guidance with respect to a client’s investments, usually are paid a commission based on the amount of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, insurance, and other products they sell. Earnings from commissions are likely to be high when there is much buying and selling, and low when there is a slump in market activity. Most firms provide sales agents with a steady income by paying a “draw against commission”—a minimum salary based on commissions they can be expected to earn. Securities and commodities sales agents who can provide their clients with the most thorough financial services should enjoy the greatest income stability. Trainee brokers usually are paid a salary until they develop a client base. The salary gradually decreases in favor of commissions as the broker gains clients. A small, but increasing, number of full-service brokers are paid a percentage of the assets they oversee. This fee often covers a certain number of trades done for free.

Brokers who work for discount brokerage firms that promote the use of telephone and online trading services usually are paid a salary, sometimes boosted by bonuses that reflect the profitability of the office. Financial services sales agents usually are paid a salary also; however, bonuses or commissions from sales are starting to account for a larger share of their income.