Stock Broker

I spent time with a stock broker from ScotiaMcleod, the investment banking operating unit of ScotiaBank, which is the third largest bank in Canada. To my surprise the first thing I learnt that day was that I actually wasn’t job shadowing a stock broker, I was with a wealth advisor. He told me that since anybody can look up stock information and make transactions online these days nobody in the industry is just a stock broker anymore. So the stock broker turned wealth advisor now does a lot more than just trading stocks. He will only manage portfolios that are larger than $500,000 and just tries to grow clients’ money.

At ScotiaMcleod there are 11 teams with wealth advisors leading the way. A team approach is advantageous since the advisor can focus on client contact, sales, and investments strategy instead of administration. With administration taken care of, the advisor I shadowed can spend over an hour every morning reading market research, continuing relationships with clients by talking to 5-15 per day, and meeting with industry analysts. He usually meets with one in-house industry analyst per day. In fact, the day before I was with the wealth advisor, he met with a fertilizer analyst. Having in-house analysts is an advantage of working for a big bank since advisors can feel comfortable diversifying their clients’ portfolios in many industries. Other advantages that he mentioned were getting clients from the bank and being able to access lots of research done by the bank. 

Overall I enjoyed spending time with a stock broker/wealth advisor. I was surprised that it was a team initiative and that the team of 4 meets everyday before they begin their job specific tasks. Even though I enjoyed the team approach to wealth management/investing, I think my favourite part is that it is commission based. It must be extremely rewarding if you do well and makes your job more fun, unless you aren’t making money...

A Typical Day

A stock broker suggests investment strategies, does transactions, monitors portfolios, looks at research, and hopefully grows people’s money.

Top 3 Perks

1 )“You eat what you kill” (commission based) mentality can be rewarding 

2) Build relationships with clients 

3) You are part of an exciting and constantly changing field of work

Job Culture

Lots of phone calls, indoors, emailing clients, trying to understand a client’s needs, using computer programs, analyzing data, leading a team, simplifying information for clients


1) A business degree and background 

2) Complete Canadian Securities Course 

- The wealth advisor I job shadowed has an economics degree and had an early interest in investing because his father was a stock broker

Skills Needed

Math skills, people skills, working under pressure, computer skills, analytical, communication, organizational, problem solving

The Field

- The industry has completely changed over the past 10 years due to technology 

- Technology has completely destroyed the stock broker so many have become wealth advisors and now offer much more than day trading 

- The fees have become more holistic (clients don’t just call asking for one transaction anymore)