WHAT IS A BROKER DEALER? Salary & How They Work

What is a broker dealer

Broker-dealers can provide a wide range of services, but they often operate as either full-service or discount businesses. A full-service firm will frequently include a team that can assist you in researching investments and determining the finest ones for your objectives. Discount brokers are better suited for self-directed investors who are ready to undertake their own research in exchange for a lower transaction fee. In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about independent broker-dealer and their salary.

What Is a Broker-Dealer?

A broker-dealer is a financial firm that, as a broker, buys and sells investments for its customers, trades investments in its own account as a dealer, or does both.

Broker-dealers can provide a wide range of services, but they often operate as either full-service or discount businesses. A full-service firm will frequently include a team that can assist you in researching investments and determining the finest ones for your objectives. Discount brokers are better suited for self-directed investors who are ready to undertake their own research in exchange for a lower transaction fee.

What Is the Role of a Broker-Dealer?

What a broker-dealer does in a specific transaction depends on whether they are working as a dealer or an agent.

#1. A Broker-Dealer Acting as an Agent

When operating as an agent, the broker-dealer assists a customer in purchasing or selling a security or securities. They carry out the actions required to facilitate trade.
The broker-dealer is not putting their own money at risk. They are just attempting to connect a buyer and seller with other brokers or through other ways. In exchange for this service, the broker-dealer receives a commission.

The broker-dealer/buyer or seller relationship functions similarly to how a real estate broker/agent could assist a client in buying or selling a home.

#2. A Broker-Dealer As a Dealer

When a broker-dealer is one of the principals in a transaction, they operate as a dealer. A broker-dealer is on the other end of a transaction, purchasing or selling a security from a customer.

In this circumstance, a broker-dealer must disclose in writing that they are functioning as a dealer. All charges and compensation must be explained.

A broker-dealer may hold an inventory of municipal bonds that it obtained from customers who wished to sell them in the past. The broker-dealer will mark up the bond and profit from the difference between what they paid for it and what they charge the customer who eventually buys it.

Types of Broker-Dealer

  1. A wirehouse, or a firm that sells its own products to customers; and
  2. An independent broker-dealer, or a firm that sells products from outside sources.

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, there are over 3,975 broker-dealers to choose from (FINRA). Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab, and Edward Jones are among the largest broker-dealers.

How Do Broker-Dealers Survive?

Brokerage fees are a major source of revenue for broker-dealers. These are the costs charged for executing trades on behalf of clients. A brokerage fee can be calculated in several ways. Some costs are charged as a flat fee per transaction. Others are calculated as a proportion of overall sales. Some fees are a combination of the two.

The fee you pay will also be determined by the sort of broker-dealer you select. A full-service broker will provide a wide range of services and will typically charge between 1% and 2% of the amount involved in a trade. Discount and internet brokerages charge substantially cheaper brokerage fees, frequently charging flat rates ranging from $0 to $30 for each trade.

A broker-dealer profited on the bid-ask spread on the “dealer” side of the equation. This follows the same rationale as any other business. A broker-dealer is someone who buys securities such as bonds and stocks. They then sell the securities to another investor for a higher price than they paid for them. The dealer’s spread is the difference between the two prices, and it indicates the profit made by the broker-dealer on the transactions.

Licensed Representatives

Registered representatives are professionals who work for a broker-dealer and can perform a range of functions. The investments that a registered representative can sell are determined by the licenses that he or she possesses.

Pros of Broker-Dealers

  • Broker-dealers facilitate the matching of buyers and sellers in the marketplace.
  • Broker-dealers promote market liquidity as dealers.
  • Full-service brokers can assist you in developing a financial strategy and deciding which investments to purchase.
  • Discount brokers can provide low-cost trading services.

Cons of Broker-Dealers

Full-service brokers may demand exorbitant fees for services other than trading.
Discount brokers almost seldom offer investment advice.
Broker dealers make money by charging commissions or fees for their services.

What Is The Broker Dealer Salary?

The average annual salary for a Broker Dealer in the United States is $89,938 per year as of November 4, 2022.
In case you need a quick salary calculator, that works out to about $43.24 per hour. This equates to $1,729 each week or $7,494 per month.

While ZipRecruiter reports yearly incomes as high as $179,000 and as low as $19,500, the bulk of Broker Dealer salaries currently ranges from $47,000 (25th percentile) to $119,000 (75th percentile), with top earners (90th percentile) earning $156,500 in the United States. The average pay range for a Broker Dealer varies significantly (by up to $72,000), implying that there may be several prospects for growth and greater income based on skill level, location, and years of experience.

According to recent ZipRecruiter job posts, the Broker-Dealer employment market in Atlanta, GA, and the surrounding area is quite active. A Broker Dealer in your region earns an annual salary of $89,592, which is $346 (0%) less than the national average of $89,938. Georgia ranks 49th out of 50 states in terms of Broker Dealer wages.
ZipRecruiter regularly checks our database of millions of active jobs published locally across America to generate the most accurate annual salary range for Broker Dealer jobs.

What are the Top 10 Cities with the Highest Paying Salary For Broker Dealer Jobs?

We’ve identified ten cities where the average salary for a Broker Dealer position is higher than the national average. Atkinson, NE tops the list, with Bridgehampton, NY, and Boston, MA close behind in second and third place. Boston, MA outperforms the national average by $15,379 (17.1%), and Atkinson, NE outperforms the national average by another $34,989 (38.9%).
With average incomes greater than the national average in these ten cities, the chances for economic progress by shifting locales as a Broker Dealer appear to be extremely lucrative.

However, another point to consider is that the average salary for these top 10 locations differs just slightly (21% between Atkinson, NE, and Newark, NJ), implying that significant positive wage advancement may be difficult to achieve. The prospect of a lower cost of living may aid in determining the best location and salary for the Broker-Dealer profession.

How Much Time Does It Take to Establish a Broker-Dealer Firm?

FINRA must consider and process your application within 180 days after you submit it to them. It may take some time to gather and organize all of the material needed for the application procedure.

Is Becoming a Broker-Dealer Difficult?

The application process for becoming an independent broker-dealer is time-consuming. There are a number of conditions that must be completed before your firm begins operating, as well as a number of standards that must be met once your firm has clients.

Is a Broker-Dealer Required?

Consider the following before selecting to engage with a broker-dealer:

  1. Communication: Is the broker-dealer salesperson paying attention to you? Do they comprehend your situation, needs, interests, and values?
  2. Benefit: Are the disclosure materials understandable? Do you know what you’ll be getting and how much you’ll be paying for it?
  3. Expertise: Does the broker-dealer have the necessary regulatory and other credentials? What are your impressions of their investment competence and outcomes?
  4. Integrity: Does the broker-dealer or broker-dealer representative have a criminal record, a history of claims of misconduct, or any other important facts you should be aware of? You can use the FINRA BrokerCheck system to look into complaints made against anyone you’re thinking about entrusting your money to.

Many individual investors manage their own accounts. However, for some, the expenses associated with working with a broker-dealer are well worth the value of that agent’s experience and attention.

How to Work as a Broker-Dealer

Broker-dealers can work as independent proprietors or as employees of huge financial institutions. To become a broker-dealer, you must first complete a series of processes.

#1. Testing and Licensing

You must pass one or more regulatory tests, such as FINRA’s Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam and the Series 7 exam, to become a licensed broker-dealer representative.
Each exam is several hours long and covers a wide range of topics relevant to securities trading, regulation, and other related issues. These exams are designed to guarantee that broker-dealers have a basic understanding and expertise before beginning to practice and work with clients.

#2. Create a Company

If you don’t want to operate as a sole proprietorship, which exposes you to infinite responsibility, you must establish the firm yourself. This is accomplished by a series of steps:

  • Form the corporation as a limited liability company.
  • Obtain the required business licenses from your state and municipality.
  • Create bank accounts and fund them with your beginning capital.
  • Create and sign a business operating agreement.
  • Configure your accounting system.
  • Install an anti-money laundering system.
  • Make arrangements with clearinghouses.

Fill out a New Member Application and any additional paperwork required by FINRA.
As a broker-dealer, you must meet the statutory capital requirements. They can differ depending on the specific type of your company.

#3. Send to Regulatory Bodies

To function legally, broker-dealer firms must register with a number of regulatory agencies.
To the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), self-regulatory organizations (SROs), and FINRA’s Central Registration Depository, submit Form BD, the Uniform Application for Broker

  • Dealer Registration (CRD).
  • Participate in an SRO.
  • Join the Securities Investor Protection Corporation today (SIPC). This non-profit membership corporation insures consumers who have a brokerage account with your company in the event that you go bankrupt or face other financial troubles.
  • Register your firm with FINRA’s Investment Advisor Registration Depository (IARD), an electronic system that enables companies to register, file, review, and disclose.

States also have particular registration requirements, fees, and licensing requirements that you must meet before your firm can begin operations.

We discovered at least five positions in the Broker-Dealer job category that pay more per year than the average Broker Dealer salary. Broker-Dealer Accountants, Stock Brokers, and Business Brokers are just a few examples.
All of these positions pay between $35,084 (39.0%) and $60,928 (67.7%) more than the average Broker Dealer salary of $89,938. If you are qualified, being hired for one of these related Broker Dealer positions may allow you to earn more money than the average Broker Dealer position.

Conflicts of Interest with Broker-Dealers

Until recently, large broker-dealers were usually associated with investment advisory businesses. This maintained the various functions distinct and minimized any conflicts of interest. Your advisor suggests that you purchase a stock; you agree, and your advisor places the order with their affiliated broker-dealer. Your advisor is only compensated for providing sound advice, while the broker-dealer is compensated for fulfilling the order.

However, more and more broker-dealers are also registering as investment advisors. Financial advisors may also function as broker-dealer registered representatives. This simplifies business operations, but it makes it more difficult for customers to determine if their advisor is behaving as a fiduciary (as required of investment advisors) or as a broker (who only has to recommend suitable products). If your adviser suggests that you acquire a stock, is he acting as your advisor, who works in your best interests, or as your broker? The only way to be certain is to ask.

Investment Advisors vs. Broker-Dealers

The registered investment advisor is the other primary classification of registration for an individual or a corporation working in the securities industry (RIA). Broker-dealers and registered investment advisors may appear to perform the same function, but there are key distinctions.

Regulated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934Established by the Investment Advisers Act of 1940
Suitability standardFiduciary standard
Can act as dealer or agentAdvises customers on managing a portfolio of assets
Paid by commission or by making a profit on selling securities to clientsPaid by fees as a percentage of assets under management

For many years, broker-dealers were held to a lower standard of customer conduct. They had to defend recommendations only on their fit for the objectives and aims of the client. This enabled brokers to make suggestions that were both financially beneficial to them and beneficial to their consumers.

Registered investment advisors, on the other hand, have always been subject to the fiduciary standard. The Securities and Exchange Commission regulates RIAs and the advice they provide. A fiduciary must behave in the best interests of the person or entity they represent or serve.
This standard requires

  • Registered investment advisors to disclose conflicts of interest
  • Have flawless moral standards.
  • Provide the finest possible investment advice for the customer, rather than merely “acceptable” counsel.


Most people associate brokerage with a broker-dealer. It functions as a go-between for buyers and sellers of securities. When the firm buys or sells for its own account, the dealer role comes into play. Your wealth advisor may also act as your broker-dealer, which may create a conflict of interest that you should be aware of.


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