Investment bankers are professionals who connect businesses that wish to borrow money with investors who have cash to lend in exchange for debt in some form. Debt can be met either with equity in the borrower's firm, in the form of stock; or by bonds that are issued with an established interest rate and timetable for retirement. The investment banker's role in this transaction is called underwriting.
An investment banker must reach agreement with the potential borrower for representation; he or she must then sell the potential investment to someone searching for an opportunity to put funds to work.
A securities sales agent can break into investment banking with a bachelor's degree in business, economics, accounting or a related degree. In order to move up the career ladder in investment banking, eventually an aspiring investment banker will need to obtain an MBA. When first hired, junior members of an investment bank staff go through an extensive training program in order to learn the products and the business. Licensure is required.
There werer 320,000 professionals working in sales of securities and other financial instruments in 2006. Twenty percent of them were employed by small banks and credit unions. While the big investment banks are all based in New York City, they have offices throughout the country. Smaller investment banks and individual securities sales personnel can be found in every city of any size.
The growth in investment banking and related investment trading institutions is expected to be about 25% in the decade between 2006 and 2016. That projection precedes the Wall Street meltdown of 2008 -2009 however. Nevertheless, investment banking is an extremely lucrative profession for those that can succeed, and the market for brokered investments will be healthy once again in the near future.
10th Percentile $30,900
Median Salary $68,680
75th Percentile $122,270
Source: U.S. Department of Labor