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It will not come as a surprise to learn you must go through extensive training in order to become a stock broker in South Africa. Trading other people’s money – which is essentially what you would be doing – is a highly responsible job so you must be fully trained in order to perform at your very best.
What is required before you embark on your training?
While stockbroker training will give you all the skills you need to work as a trader, you must bring some things to the table from the very beginning. For example you should be good at maths since you will be working with numbers on a constant basis. You should also have a good understanding of how the stock market works. You can learn much about the stock market during your training but the more you know in advance the easier it will be to progress through the training itself.
What type of training do you need to pass?
One way into the career is to pass the Registered Persons Examination (the RPE). This consists of eight modules, two of which are compulsory. These are the Regulation and Ethics of the South African Financial Markets, and the Introduction to the Financial Markets. Other optional modules cover different markets such as the bond market and the equity market. It is strongly advised that you take all modules in order to gain as much knowledge as possible. The Introduction to the Financial Markets is commonly regarded as the best module to start with.
There are a variety of other exams you can consider as well, although it is also possible to get a degree in investment advice. The SAIS – the South African Institute of Stockbrokers – runs a one year course open to those with a degree. This covers Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management – two essential skills to have as a stockbroker.
Can you become a stockbroker once you have completed your training?
No – there is another stage to go through. All stockbrokers in South Africa are members of SAIS. However it is not as easy as applying for a membership. The SAIS has created what is known as board exams, and you must sit these and pass them successfully in order to be accepted as a member.
This means that while there are several paths to getting the training you need, they all converge at this point – getting through the SAIS exams. You can complete the appropriate study period either through lectures or via a correspondence course. The latter is cheaper, although in both cases you will then pay the additional flat fee for the actual exam. Once you are a member you will pay a smaller annual fee to retain your membership.
If you are interested in studying to become a stockbroker at the JSE, it is worth finding out more about the requirements to complete the SAIS membership exams. You can then choose the most appropriate path to ensure you have the required training, qualifications and/or experience to get you to that point.