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Professional Trader

Professional Traders can find work on both the "buy" side of the street, with investment management firms, pension funds and other institutional investors, and on the "sell" side of the street, in the trading department of investment dealers and banks. They can also be self-employed, particularly if they deal in options or futures or trade their own capital.

Traders place orders in equity, fixed income and money market securities. They may also be licensed to trade in futures, options and foreign exchange. They may execute trades in the over-the-counter (OTC) markets, or become registered to trade on the major public exchanges.

The job calls for confidence, quick thinking and an ability to thrive in a high-pressure environment. Professional Traders who trade through an exchange must have a detailed understanding of exchange and firm rules, regulations and procedures.

  • Execute client or employer orders in a timely manner.
  • Provide their firm and its sales force with timely information about market conditions.
  • Maintain a fair and orderly market trading stocks designated to them.

Most Professional Traders who trade through an exchange begin their careers with investment dealers, gaining experience in positions as Order Trader or Approved Traders. To register as an Exchange Trader, individuals generally must first complete the CSI's Canadian Securities Course and Trader Training Course, plus any courses required by the exchange where they want to trade.

Registered Traders must have at least two years experience as an Approved or Order Trader, or have suitable experience as determined by the exchange. Those who trade in the Over-the-Counter market do not need specific regulatory approval but generally have university degrees and a very strong knowledge of their products and markets.

Salaries and types of compensation structures vary depending on experience and responsibilities. Order traders are usually salaried employees who earn a salary in the range of $35,000 to $50,000. Registered Traders may earn salaries of between $50,000 and $75,000. They may also be eligible for bonuses that can double total compensation. Fixed income and foreign exchange traders' compensation is heavily based on bonuses tied to trading profits.