How to Become a Currency Broker
The world of foreign exchange trading is fast-paced, exciting and potentially very profitable. Foreign exchange traders make money by correctly anticipating whether a specific currency will increase or decrease in value. Foreign exchange or currency brokers buy or sell large amounts of national currencies for clients or their employer, such as the yen, euro and dollar, with the intent to close the position at a later date after the exchange rate has moved in the anticipated direction. Foreign exchange or FX brokers are licensed financial service professionals who typically work for investment banks, major brokerage houses and hedge funds.
Complete a bachelor’s degree program in finance, economics, statistics, business or international relations. A broader background including social science and cultural studies is also useful for currency brokers, because many of the factors affecting foreign exchange rates are not amenable to traditional financial analysis.
Apply for internships or work-study programs after your junior year. Even if you can’t get an internship working directly in foreign exchange, any kind of financial industry experience will serve you in good stead in your job search.
Apply for entry-level financial analyst or research analyst positions at investment banks and major brokerages. Unless you have industry connections or were a 4.0 student at Harvard or Stanford, you are probably going to have to pay your dues by working as an analyst or related position for a year or two before moving up to trading, never mind currency trading.
Pass the FINRA/National Futures Association Dealers Series 3 and Series 34 exams to become a fully licensed foreign exchange broker. These exams cover all aspects of foreign exchange terminology and regulations. Note that in most cases you are actually working under the license of your employer. Some states also have licensing requirements for currency or commodity brokers.
Undertake a comprehensive job search for currency broker positions, beginning with your current employer. Take full advantage of your professional network when looking for a job. Getting a heads up from a colleague or friend about a position just opening up can help you get your foot in the door.
- Practice trading currencies on your own time. Many major brokerages offer trading account simulations and model portfolios, and it is much easier to get a feel for what foreign exchange trading is all about with play money than real money.
- Consider going back to school to earn an M.B.A. if you are aiming for senior FX-related management positions in the future.
About the Author
Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.