On the first floor of Kigali City Tower building which houses Rwanda Stock Exchange Offices, are men and women in red blazers whose work is to buy and sell equities on behalf of their clients. Their business cards read ‘Stock Dealer/brokers’. One such professional is Andrew Kipruto of BK securities exchange. In an Interview with Education Times’ Collins Mwai, he explains about a profession many consider new in town.
What are stock brokers paid to do?
We buy and sell shares (equities) on behalf of our clients. Clients approach us for advice on when is the right time to buy or sell shares of a particular company for them to make the most in these deals. We at times deal with bonds when they are available in the market, though it is not very common.
We open accounts for clients to register them into the system that qualifies them to buy and sell shares. We keep updating clients on the progress of the pricing of their shares.
What academic credentials qualify one seeking to become a stock broker?
To start with you require at least a diploma or degree course in a business related course like finance or economics. But most of the rest is in-house after landing the job. First you learn the basics in dealing with systems used to deal in shares before you can go ‘outside’ to do transactions.
Basic business knowledge is the most important and easily obtained through business related courses.
It seems one requires more of character than academic training. What traits are these?
You should be able to think on your feet and quick at calculating since people have entrusted you with their money and expect you to make profits for them. You should be quick in calculations so that you don’t sell at less than what the client quoted.
You need to also be a people’s person, to have good relationship with clients to convince them of the need to invest in shares and its profitability. When you have sellers, you need to contact buyers and build a relationship with clients. You need to talk to people often and be proactive.
And how does one progress in this career?
In this line of work, you get better by experience because you learn almost every day you are at work but it is good to further your studies if you would like to have a shift to a different office.
Experience is the most important since furthering education may be out of brokerage context.
Other than pay day, what makes the profession worth it?
It is the relationship you build with your clients. You always have to be in good terms with people you buy from and sell to. It comes with job as you always need them to buy or sell shares. You are always building relationships with people.
Challenges faced by stock brokers?
At times there is no movement of money in the region or the country so less people are buying and selling shares. It is as if the ball is out of your hands.
It is also hard when you have to sell a client’s shares for more than they are worth in the market.
How universal is stock trading?
In the East Africa region and the whole of Africa, it is universal. You can apply your skills around many countries. All you have to do is to understand the trends in their markets and how they go about them.
What trends do you foresee that future stock brokers should brace themselves for?
Soon there will be online systems where people can trade from their offices as opposed to placing orders on boards. It is already happening in some countries and it is coming here soon. Most transactions will be made from the comfort of one’s office.
How many hours a day do you have to put in it?
Most of us work from 8am to 5pm, although the stock exchange market office is open from 9am to 12pm. The other hours are spent contacting clients or performing transactions that will be featured on the boards the following day. Personally, I work from 8am to 6pm.
What could cause a stock broker to fail?
Not being modest or giving misleading advice to clients could cause you to fail. You should not promise clients what you may not be able to live up to.
What career advice would you give to people looking to be stock brokers some day?
Get a bit of business skills from business related courses like finance and economics. This comes in handy when you want to understand capital markets. Take time to learn from the stock exchange offices to understand how the markets work. Be proactive and informed on capital markets and trends of stocks of various companies.