Hello folks, this is a message on behalf of a friend of mine:

" What would be the best course of action for me to take in regards to become a professional trader, as i have not got a university degree in any subjects, however i have significant sales experience as a i am a financial planner for barclays retail bank. Can anybody help? I need direction"



First piece of advice would be to open a paper trading account on websites such as This will give you a feel for trading without actually committing money.

He needs to develop a solid portfolio that will make him stand out. Alternatively, he could do a course with a prop firm. Although these are expensive, they can really set you up well.


I would go with what WokSz suggested. If he finds demo trading interesting he may want to seriously think about joining a prop house. Also depends on what products he wants to trade. I know there are some prop houses that specialise in Fixed Income instruments and others that concentrate on Equities/ Equity Derivitaives.


If he is doing sales at a retail bank then he should try to get into sales instead. At a small bank. Then move to trading from there. And then to a bigger bank. Will take ages, but it would be a way.

The prop house idea sounds good too to be honest.

Also, if he is serious about joining an investment bank he should do the CFA or at least the SII certificate (which is the FSA exam for S&T). There are a few other certificates like this (CAIA, ACI etc).



Good point WN. FSA exams + CFA will show determination to get into that field of work. It will also broaden knowledge base on S&T.


do not do the CFA as it does not add value unless you have industry experience to back it up…would suggest applying for an unpaid internship at an independent broker


Any point in applying for a trading position with a IB if i aint got an internship? Honest opinions from past experience would be appreciated. But i do have extensive extra currilcular, such as head of treasury, charities, bullbearings competitions


Why the hell would you do a CFA as a trader? It’s useless and a waste of a LOT money and time.


agree with WokSz


ok, let’s scratch CFA. maybe still do FSA exams? Best thing is to join a prop house. also expensive as they require you to pay fees for training and FSA exams. look at Schneider Trading, Amplify Trading, TCA markets…


You dont need it for trading, because as a trader you are always very specialised. But to get your foot in the door (or on the floor ; ) it helps to have financial qualifications. And it doesnt hurt, since you can use a lot of what you learn there for your PA investments.

  • u can meet some people, do some networking, get a first rounder through a contact

ok here is what I think. your friends wants to be a trader but had no trading experience and no degree, sounds like he/she’s only interested in the money. i don’t think anyone will offer a trading job to someone who hasn’t got a degree. why take the risk? of course, unless your friend is like some supertalented trader trading with his/her own money, then ok fine. go to smaller trading houses, and ask to meet.


Unfortunately your friend needs to go to university and study a quantitative subject if they want to have any chance of becoming a trader within a bulge bracket bank. Having worked on the trading desk of a tier 1 bank I can say from experience that every trader has attended a top 10 uni studying a highly demanding subject. In regards to studying for qualifications, there is little or no point looking at the CFA ect as no bank will let you near a trading account unless you have passed their necessary certification methods and established a good understanding of the product market. In all honesty, the best bet would be to stick with personal trading and possibly focus on forex given it holds lower risk exposures.


Thanks for you views guys, much obliged all the feedback has been really helpful and my friend now has a sense of direction as too what he has to do.

On a personal note, could anyone give me advice as to the best way to learn to trade on a personal level?


Hi Guys

Just seen a couple of comments above, discussing the best way to enter the world of trading. I’m currently working within a role in finance but within the construction industry at a pretty high level, I also have a degree in it.

Over the last year or so I’ve decided enough is enough and before I have any commitments i.e. kids etc, it is time to pursuit a career within an industry I have a real interest in which is Investment. In preparation for my career change I have recently studied for an Investment related qualification which I have now passed, and at the same time giving me a little insight it a number of roles within Investment. On this information, I’ve obviously looked at advertised jobs etc. I have recently been invited to a couple of Graduate Trader courses with Futex and Schenider which I’m very excited about but I just wondered if anyone had any further comment on them ?

From what I can gather both run similar programmes which I interoperate to me 3 months training, and then after the that if your any good or show real potential you get offered a position i.e. this correct ?
Also money is not my attraction to this position, if this was the care I would stay where I am at the moment but can any one indicate how much a person is likely to earn within early stages in Trader career? Little money wouldn’t put me off, I just would like some indication which I’m sure you can understand as I have a number of financial commitments I would have to support somehow whilst also living in London? (I currently live 200 miles from London so the commuting is not poss!)

Your help is greatly appreciated!