Popular movies throughout the decades have depicted the lifestyles of securities traders as extravagant, lavish, powerful, and even corrupt. Although individuals working in the financial industry may have access to making large sums of money and living in the most expensive neighborhoods in the world, stockbrokers have to work extremely hard in order to obtain such high salaries. In some films like Wall Street and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, securities traders are shown as greed-driven and willing to do anything to get to the top. Movies like this have created a bad reputation for stockbrokers, especially those who hold a Series 7 securities license because this designation allows for almost every individual security to be sold by traders. In The Pursuit of Happyness, stockbrokers are shown in a more positive light as the main character is homeless and trying to support his young son. This movie shows the fierce determination that securities professionals must convey in order to provide for themselves and for their families. As a result of these films, more people have developed an interest in becoming stockbrokers.
In both Wall Street and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Gordon Gekko is portrayed as the top manipulator in securities trading. He uses young brokers to do his dirty work and gather insider information by illegal means in order to make himself millions. Although he is sentenced eight years in prison, he is still the same deceitful person when he is released in the sequel. Gekko is shown as greedy, selfish, and mean, and the young men working for him realize that they have made a huge mistake by trusting him. The young brokers would need to have a Series 7 designation in order to make these sells for Gekko, and as a result, both men would be punishable by law. It may be true that obtaining high salaries and becoming a powerful force in any profession could make anyone corrupt, but it does not mean that is the case for every securities trader.
The Pursuit of Happyness shows the struggle of a man who has lost everything due to a poor business investment decision. When he loses all of his money, his wife leaves him. All he has left is his young son and the two are soon homeless. During the movie, the main character, Chris, is determined to get another job and make enough money to support his child. He gets an internship as a stockbroker and works hard to show his bosses that he is capable of being a huge asset to their firm. At the end of his internship, he is offered a full-time position as a securities trader and he and his young son celebrate. Securities professionals and Series 7 license holders are not shown as greedy, narcissistic individuals as in the other mentioned films. The Pursuit of Happyness shows that with hard work and a passion for your profession, you can become successful no matter how meager your beginnings may have been.
Securities trading will always be a top profession depicted in films and stockbrokers will remain to be scrutinized because of their high income potential, but that does not matter. What’s important is that each individual in the financial industry hold true to themselves and their beliefs. If stockbrokers do what is right without giving in to greed or corruption, the public opinion makes no difference. Not every person working on Wall Street has a desire to be extremely rich, powerful, or delusive. It all depends on the individual. However, one thing remains certain: securities trading will always remain to be a highly sought after career as a result of every film it’s represented in.