With more and more banks entering the securities business, it comes as no surprise that the number of brokers going to work at banks is on the rise.
The increase in job opportunities for brokers at banks may not be the only reason. Registered representatives are also finding banks an increasingly attractive place to work, according to a survey by Securities Training Corp.
The New York firm, which helps would-be brokers prepare for licensing exams, found that a quarter of its students who are preparing for the series 7 exam are working for a bank or intend to do so.
Securities Training president Paul Weisman, who has run broker training programs since 1979, said that what was a "sprinkling" in the 1980s has turned into a increasingly significant part of his business.
Much of the increase has been driven by more jobs at banks and a growing tendency among banks to train platform employees to sell securities.
A study by Tampa-based American Brokerage Consultants indicates that there were 20,400 full-time licensed brokers -- both series 6 and 7 -- working in banks in 1998, up from 14,000 in 1996.
But, some industry insiders said, brokers are starting to see banks as more appealing places to work.
"Ten years ago it used to be brokers who washed out of the wire house environment" went to work for bank brokerages, said Mike Dillon, vice president at FTR Inc., a financial institutions training firm in Lombard, Ill.
But that is changing, Mr. Dillon said. "People entering the industry are looking at banks because there's a steady stream of referrals." Commissions paid at banks are beginning to approach those of wire houses, he said, and bank brokers have more access to wealthy clients.
As the gap in compensation between banks and wire houses closes, he said, brokers "have the discretion to look at some of the finer elements." That means building client relationships, Mr. Dillon said, rather than just cold-calling all day.
Of those surveyed by Securities Training, 54% said they chose a career as a broker because "people need good advice." And 52% said they saw their job as "problem solving," compared with 48% who answered "sales."
"Brokers are saying, 'I'm not fulfilled.' They would like to meet people and make a difference," Mr. Dillon said.
Nina Daiza, a series 7 licensed broker working in suburban Detroit for Bank One Corp., said the strength of the organization and the financial resources backing her were equal to anything a securities firm could offer.
As the Chicago banking company's top-selling broker, Ms. Daiza has received job offers from major securities firms, but said she chooses to stay in a position where she is more than a "stock jockey."
"I'm not the type of person who likes walking into the office and making phone calls all day," she said.