Sell-Side Banks

Dive into career paths and job duties on the sell side

Sell-side banks sell and trade an array of securities to buy-side institutions. Companies rely on the sell side to move their stocks and bonds so they can effectively raise capital for new projects or investments. Unlike careers on the buy side, sell-side jobs tend to be sales-oriented, and professionals with strong interpersonal skills and a sales background can thrive in this industry. 

Typical Job Duties on the Sell Side

Individuals on the sell side must rely on their powerful relationship-building skills to market and sell securities to buyers. Compared with the buy side, salesmanship and communication proficiencies are more important than one’s analytical or quantitative capabilities in a sell-side job. Due to the sales nature of these roles, the ability to inspire confidence and build trust with clients when trading stocks and bonds is absolutely critical.

Because the sell side is a massive piece of the banking and finance industry, we have broken it down into five main areas:

Investment Banking: Full-service investment banks provide a multitude of services to governments and institutions, such as underwriting, M&A, asset management, and more.

Banking: Banking can include retail, business, and commercial clients, and covers a wide range of financial services, including loans, savings/checking accounts, and mortgages.

Capital Markets: Capital markets work to exchange capital from investors to businesses so those organizations can fund their own projects or investments.

Asset Management: Those in asset management careers oversee and invest a variety of funds on behalf of institutions or individuals to protect and grow their financial holdings.

Risk Management: The role of risk management is to identify and respond to a myriad of risk factors that can threaten the financial health of an institution or corporation.

Job Qualifications and Compensation Factors

On the sell side, there are many entry-level opportunities available to those right out of college. Many enter sell-side banking when first starting their careers in finance to grow their skill sets over time. With regard to compensation, pay for junior positions is typically tied to portfolio performance, while senior roles can increase their compensation through fees they gain by interacting directly with clients.

To succeed in a career in sell-side banking, professionals must be competitive, quick-thinking, and persuasive. Hours can be long and the work intensive, so the ability to stay on task and remain motivated to make that next trade is crucial.

Recommended Financial Courses for Careers at Sell-Side Banks

Ready to develop the techniques you need to succeed in a sell-side role? CFI recommends taking advantage of our Capital Markets Securities Analyst (CMSA)® Certification Program to gain the knowledge and experience required for a career in sell-side banking. Furthermore, our Prime Services and Securities Lending and Financial Modeling courses will give you the tools you need to thrive as a sell-side analyst.

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