A Day in the Life of a Stock Trader at the SGX

A Day in the Life of a Stock Trader at the SGX

Many people invest in the stock market as a way to make money on the side — a way to grow their income, while they derive their income from…

Dr. Clemen Chiang
Dr. Clemen Chiang

Many people invest in the stock market as a way to make money on the side — a way to grow their income, while they derive their income from somewhere else. But what about the people who actually work at the stock market, or invest in stocks full time? What must life be like for those who play the market all day, all week long?

Spiking takes a look at a day in the life of those who work at the stock exchange, full-time investors, and those whose jobs revolve around the stock market. But whether you’re in it on the side or live and breathe it as a career, you can use the Spiking app to keep you up to date on 10 exchanges in eight countries across the region.

…An SGX Staffer

The Singapore Exchange describes itself as a dynamic environment that welcomes people who push their limits and are highly motivated.Reviews of former SGX employees on Glassdoor reflect this description, painting a picture of a fast-paced workplace where the hours can be long, depending on your department.

You would have friendly co-workers and helpful supervisors to support you, though, and senior management will have people you can look up to. Overall, you’ll get a good compensation and benefits package, as well as the satisfaction of knowing you’re working at the “Gateway to Asia”.

…A US Stockbroker

Ken Clark describes a day in the life of a fledgling US stockbroker on Investopedia as one with long hours doing a lot of self-marketing. He’ll come in to work one to two hours before the market opens to do research, then spend the first few hours of the trading day giving clients recommendations for their portfolios.

After a quick lunch, the broker might have meetings with existing or prospective clients and finish up his paperwork. Then he’ll spend two to four hours cold calling, networking or giving seminars to potential clients. He might even spend four to six hours for marketing on Saturdays.

If the stockbroker sticks it out for say, five to 10 years, he might reach that level where his life will be more like that of a small business owner. Then he’ll be able to choose when, how and who he wants to work with.

Until then, it will be a lot of hard work, as a new stockbroker makes 1% in revenue from his assets under management, and will only be able to keep 30 to 40% of that revenue. This means he would have to manage USD10 million to earn USD30,000.00 to USD40,000.00 in a year.

…A Singaporean Stockbroker and Remisier

In Singapore, Alvin Chow describes how stockbrokers make money on Big Fat Purse, which gives us a glimpse of what local stockbroking is like. Brokers charge a commission or a service fee for facilitating a transaction, which means you pay him every time you buy or sell shares. That fee is usually about SGD25.00 per transaction (so if you buy and sell in one go, you’ll owe your broker SGD50.00).

If your stockbroker happens to be a market maker as well, he can also make money through “slippage”, which is like earning the difference between buying lower and selling higher. Slippage is also like a fee you pay the broker for taking on the risk of being a market maker. That risk comes from price changes that might occur while the broker holds on to buy or sell orders without corresponding orders to sell or buy.

In relation to stockbroking, John Yip takes a closer look at dealers and remisiers on Jobs Central. He notes that most people entering a brokerage do so either as dealers or remisiers, the former being full-time employees of the brokerage with regular wages.

Remisiers, on the other hand, do not work for a brokerage full-time, nor are they paid a basic salary. But where dealers only get a small part of the commissions that the brokerage earns, remisiers get about 40%. Mr. Yip quotes Ministry of Manpower statistics saying dealers can make as much as SGD4,500.00 a month — while remisiers are famous for being able to make millions.

A remisier’s success depends entirely on his own marketing and risk management skills. While he is pretty much his own boss, as Mr. Yip puts it, the remisier acts as a brokerage’s sales staff or account executive. He has to be able to judge whether an investment suits his client and advise his client accordingly.

Remisier Ernest Lim got his dream job in the stock market — Rachael Boon tells the story in the Straits Times of how Mr. Lim was inspired to pursue his line of work by a stock market TV drama back in secondary school. Now a full-time remisier, he runs an investment website and goes home to an executive condominium over a thousand square feet large, while he does portfolio and stock allocation.

To find great stocks to add to your portfolio, use the Spiking app today.

…A Full-Time Investor and Trader

Full-time investor, GH Chua shares a very personal investment journey on My Investment Portfolio, describing it as both sad and happy. This sadness is attributed to not having regular employment, while happiness is from having made it through an entire year of living on full-time investing.

GH Chua notes being able to learn much more about investing while engaging in it full-time as opposed to part-time investing during employment. This full-time investor misses having regular income, CPF contributions and medical insurance, and admits to the possibility of not being able to return to a full-time job.

As a full-time investor, however, GH Chua has no bosses, no meetings, doesn’t have to apply for leaves, and has time for jogging every week. There’s also more time for studying stocks more closely, which in turn leads to greater investing confidence. In spite of uncertainty as to whether stock market investing will be a lifelong commitment, GH Chua is enjoying life investing full-time.

Writing for Shares Investor, Andy Chiok describes a day in the life of Manoj ChamanLal and “Stephen”, two “remisier-traders”. Mr. ChamanLal had been a marketing executive who was an SGX investor for 10 years before becoming a remisier. He says that while it’s up to an investor to do his research, a remisier has to have his own views on the market, as opposed to just following hearsay. Mr. ChamanLal adds that despite the difficulties, day-trading is “still a very interesting way to make a living”.

For his part, “Stephen” used to be a bank dealer and a remisier for five years. He describes an average day as being able to “trade on your own, go in big and come out quick”, and as one where “it only takes a little to break even”. “Stephen” also says that “remisier-traders” have to be able to recognise opportunities to buy and cash out of them within a single trading day.

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