Financial traders buy and sell shares, bonds and assets for investors, including individuals and banks. They make prices and execute trades, seeking to maximise assets or minimise financial risk.
There are three types of trader: proprietary, flow (market) and sales. Flow traders buy and sell products on the financial markets for a bank's clients. Products include securities and other assets such as futures, options and commodities. Proprietary traders trade on behalf of the bank itself.
Sales traders take instructions directly from clients, placing orders and advising them on market developments and new financial ventures. They are intermediaries between the client and the market maker. Their aim is to buy low and sell high. They do this by analysing economic data, technical analysis, experience, cross-asset correlations and identifying undervalued and overvalued prices.
The term Financial trader is often conflated with Stockbroker, but they are not the same thing. Stockbrokers buy and sell securities (eg stocks and shares) on a commission basis on behalf of private and commercial clients. A stockbroker works with a range of clients, from individuals to large companies. Their role is to manage and look after their clients' investments. They will also advise clients on when to buy or sell their stocks or shares