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To become a bond underwriter, a candidate will need to first obtain a certain amount of education and training. There are corporations who have bond underwriter trainee positions available for recent graduates. These positions typically seek a candidate who has an educational background in business administration, finance or accounting. Trainees participate in additional employer-sponsored classroom training as well as hands-on training with a more experienced underwriter.
In addition to gaining knowledge about financial markets, the underwriting process and the various types of available bond products, a candidate who wishes to become a bond underwriter should also be prepared to develop sales skills. A bond underwriter is typically responsible for an assigned territory in which he might be expected to meet a certain sales quota. As bonds are not financial products that individuals or corporations typically need to invest in, the ability to successfully prospect, persuade and close sales leads is key.
It is recommended that those wishing to become a bond writer obtain a bachelor's degree, at least. Many companies look for graduates of business administration, economics, accounting, finance or marketing degree programs. Some candidates might have an unrelated degree, but do have some exposure to coursework or experience in accounting and finance. In order to successfully compete for bond underwriter trainee positions, an overall grade point average equivalent to a "B" or higher may be required.
Once a candidate is hired on with a company, he will most likely experience a period of training that consists of structured and unstructured mentoring. Depending on the company, the structured training may include instruction on how to develop successful sales skills. Underwriter trainees will most likely become acquainted with the company's products, the inner workings of the bond market and the steps involved in the underwriting process itself.
To become a bond underwriter, a trainee is expected to quickly gain an understanding of the knowledge that is presented in the company's training. He or she is also paired with an experienced employee who provides mentoring in the day to day tasks of the job. Competency is expected to be demonstrated as the trainee continues to gain exposure and practice maintaining the accounts of existing clients. Typically, a trainee will also learn how to gain new business through face-to-face canvassing and sales presentations before he can become a bond underwriter.
As a new employee gains the necessary knowledge and experience, he is given more control over an assigned sales territory. Companies monitor the new underwriter's performance, but the trainee will probably only periodically consult a mentor at this stage. He will be considered to be a full underwriter once he is independently managing new and existing accounts within his sales territory.
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