Foreign currency exchange is a market of continual upheaval. Individual currencies fluctuate daily according to a variety of local economic and social events. Keeping up to date with news and forging connections with buyers and sellers inform dealers of market conditions. Foreign exchange dealers shift large amounts of different currencies, creating profit by staying informed of trends and advantages.
What They Do
Foreign exchange dealers work with various clients, buying and selling different currencies from around the world at a profit. In order to keep up with constant fluctuations in the market, dealers continuously analyze a wide array of statistics, seeking advantageous trends. They sift through data using software suites programmed for financial analysis. Developing solid relationships with clients and suppliers is a crucial part of playing the market, making it easier to monitor the pulse of foreign currency conditions.
Entering the Exchange
Most jobs dealing with the exchange of foreign currency begin with an education rooted in math, computers and business. Obtaining an entry level job usually requires a bachelor's degree in economics, accounting or other financial majors. A master's of business administration (MBA) opens up further opportunities for advancement to well-paying positions with seniority. Some companies hire interns as they finish their degrees, giving them extensive training and a foot in the door before they complete their education.
Dealing in foreign currency involves a significant amount of risk due to markets that are constantly volatile. Most of the day is spent on a laptop or desktop computer, touching base with the latest news in the geographical areas related to their trading activities. They are constantly communicating over the phone with clients and dealers, assessing their demands. Dealers sometimes have short windows of opportunity in which they must decide the fate of millions of dollars.
Compensation and Technology
The majority of foreign exchange dealers rely on their skill in trading currency to earn as much as possible. Some firms offer base salary, but prosperity results from earning commission through smart trades. As of May 2010, securities, commodities and financial sales agents averaged $70,190 annually with the top 10 percent earning $166,400 per year. An increased reliance on software algorithms for foreign currency exchange pushes trade at a speed beyond human capabilities.
- O*NET: Securities and Commodities Traders
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Securities, Commodities or Financial Services Sales Agent
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Securities, Commodities and Financial Services Sales Agents Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents: Pay
- Bank of Canada: Rise of the Machines: Algorithmic Trading in the Foreign Exchange Market
Kent Tukeli has been writing for business and media organizations since 2007, including Valnet Inc., Top Affiliate Publishing and Mirvish Productions. He honed his skills at the University of Toronto, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.