Passing the Series 7 stockbroker licensing exam is tough. It’s even tougher when you didn’t attend any test-prep classes and only studied out of a book. And when you’re trying to pass it while studying over the summer between your junior and senior years of college, well, it’s near impossible.
Apparently, nobody told that to Josh Bateman.
The Penn State graduate – who will walk in May after graduating last December – was supposed to be taking the Series 6 exam after landing an internship at Global Brokerage Services, Inc. But since Series 6 certification would limit him to selling just mutual funds and variable insurance products such as life insurance, Bateman decided to go for it all.
“The Series 7 was about 100 hours of studying,” he said. “I just read everything out of a book. It’s sort of nerve-racking. You take the test on a computer and you hit submit and it instantly tells you if you passed or not.”
After passing the test, Bateman started JDB Financial Services, LLC, as everyone who interns at Global Brokerage Services does work as an independent contractor. He’s continued his work with JDB Financial, which works with investments with individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations, throughout the year.
Bateman began his investing career on the advice of his mother. He always had small savings accounts while in grade school and then moved on to CDs in about ninth grade. He seemed content with small gains at first.
“I was content with just leaving everything in savings account or a CD,” Bateman said. “My mom started pushing me to make better financial decisions. If I put a few $1,000 each year into a Wealth IRA – well, I just did the math and I was so overwhelmed with what the result was.”
He then picked up a book about Warren Buffet, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO and world’s second richest person, behind Bill Gates. He quickly latched on to Buffet’s theory that the best stocks are from companies who are undervalued and which are likely to rise in the future. He also read up on people like Peter Lynch, who ran Fidelity’s Magellan Fund from 1977-1990 before retiring, and Bill Miller, the CEO of Legg Mason Funds Management.
As for his own investment philosophy, Bateman follows a lot of what Buffet says, feeling that undervalued companies can be a gold mine.
“I look for places where their share price has gone down but they’re still a solid company,” he said. “Over the next 6-months to a year they’re not going to do anything. But over the next 5, 10, 30, 40 years they’re going to do well.”
Bateman is able to look ahead this far because he has more of one thing than Buffet, Lynch and Miller do: time.
“That’s the biggest thing that I could say is just to get in as early as possible,” Bateman said. “It’s ridiculous what time can do to help an investor. Even getting in at age 16 as opposed to 26 – or even 26 as opposed to 36 – helps.”
For the future, the possibilities are open. He’s still working with JDB Financial but doesn’t see that as his ultimate career path, as he doesn’t want to always stay in such a sales position. Since he’s already graduated, he’s just waiting to make his next move. In the meantime, he’s beginning to study for his Chartered Financial Analyst designation, which is much harder than the Series 7.
“Long-term, I think I would like to work as a mutual fund analyst or maybe running a mutual fund that is value-oriented,” Bateman said. “My other option sort of merges my entrepreneurial opportunities with my financial interested with investment banking or merchant banking.”
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