There are many career directions that can be pursued in the fast-moving world of stockbroking.  Generally speaking, stockbrokers buy and sell securities (e.g. stocks and shares) on a commission basis on behalf of private and commercial clients.

A stockbroker will work with a range of clients, from individuals to large companies. Their role is to manage and look after their clients investments. They will also advice clients on when to buy or sell their stocks or shares.

The portfolio manager in the Investment Department of a stockbroking firm assesses the client’s financial status. The analyst in the Research Department analyses the companies listed on the stock exchange. The information is then compiled to assist the portfolio manager in investing the clients’ funds which is undertaken by the Institutions and Client Services Departments.

  • The dealer who works on the trading floor represents the popular image of the stockbroker. There are various categories of dealers:
  • unauthorised clerks ‘run’ orders from the trading desk to the dealers
  • the authorised clerk carries out buy and sell orders with dealers from other brokers
  • the institutional dealer takes and carries out buy and sell orders over the telephone from South African corporations, and offers companies market information
  • an arbitrageur does the same job as the institutional dealer, but he deals with overseas institutions

The Derivatives Department trades in the futures and options market, an area so unpredictable that it is often said that these dealers are born with a ‘nose’ for the job. The dealer does the trading in this market and a strategist applies knowledge and experience to the market to develop new strategies.

The Corporate Finance Department lists shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the Administration Department does the paperwork for all the other departments - a task which can become quite pressurised at times.

Important skills are computer literacy, ambition, a competitive attitude and determination.

Personal Requirements

  • have good interpersonal skills
  • have good numerical ability
  • be able to withstand intense pressure
  • be willing to work long hours
  • acquire an understanding of the stock market

Different qualities are required for the different areas in stockbroking:

  • the portfolio manager must be able to read a balance sheet
  • an analyst should have the ability to think laterally and the self-confidence to stand by recommendations made
  • the dealer in the futures and options market should be a quick learner and be able to work well with figures
  • the strategist needs to possess good mathematical ability and creativity

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: - Portfolio Manager: BCom or qualification as a chartered accountant and the Stock Exchange Examination.

  • Analyst: degree and working experience in the relevant economic sector.
  • Institutional Dealer; International Arbitrageur: BCom with Finance or Economics as majors.
  • Strategist (Derivative Department): BCom with Mathematics, Actuarial Science, Physics; or an Engineering degree; or a MBA degree; or any financial degree.
  • Corporate Finance Department: qualification as a chartered accountant; or a Law degree; or a BSc degree with appropriate majors.
  • Administration Department: any financial degree or diploma.
Diploma: Administration Department business or financial diploma, depending on the field to be pursued, is suitable for work in the Administration Department - various universities of technology, TVEt's or private colleges.

In-service Training
  • Unauthorised clerk: JSE offers in-service training. The candidate must also pass an oral examination to work on the Stock Exchange floor.
  • Authorised clerk: JSE offers in-service training, minimum prescribed period as an unauthorised clerk must be completed.

The candidate must also pass an oral examination on Stock Exchange rules and regulations.


  • JSE
  • stock broking firms
  • start own broking firm

Further Information

Investment Analysts Society of South Africa (IASSA)
Tel: (011) 791-0105

Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE)

The Corporate Communications Department
Johannesburg Stock Exchange
P O Box 1174
Johannesburg, 2000
Tel: (011) 377-2200

Programmes by Study Institutions

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