Pages

  • Sharebar

With the understanding of a few things:
1. Many trading operations are extremely different, and that is important to factor in.
2. These are subjective opinions based off of user experience.
3. Fit is usually more important than "rank".

I think it's somewhat important that people have a better idea of where they stand, given it's about that time where people have to start making decisions.

I think we should do the best we can to objectively categorize companies based off of their performance and the quality of people they attract and retain. Does everybody else agree?

That being said, the categories: (all rankings tentative until further discussion...)

Sales & Trading: Equities (and Related)
Tier 1: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, BAML
Tier 2:
Tier 3:
Is GS still at the top here? I'm not knowledgeable in this area.

Sales & Trading: Commodities (and Related)
Tier 1: JPM, BAML, Citi, Barclays
Tier 2: Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo
Tier 3:

Sales & Trading: Credit (and Related)
Tier 1: JPM, DB, Citi, BAML
Tier 2:
Tier 3:
Hearing JPM does a lot of volume here?

Sales & Trading: Currencies (and Related)
Tier 1: Citi, Barclays, DB, maybe JPM? not sure
Tier 2: UBS, JPM, GS
Tier 3:

Sales & Trading: Rates
Tier 1: DB, CS, Citi, MS, (maybe JPM again?)
Tier 2: GS, JPM, BNP, WF
Tier 3: RBC, Nomura, RBS

Sales & Trading: Emerging Markets
Tier 1:
Tier 2: Jeffries
Tier 3:
no clue

Sales & Trading: Securitized Products
Tier 1:
Tier 2:
Tier 3:
no clue

Market Making, HFT, Statistical Arbitrage ("Quantitative Prop Shops")
Tier 1: GETCO, Jane Street
Tier 2: Susquehanna International Group, Chicago Trading Company, DRW Trading...?
Tier 3:
GETCO, Jane Street, Virtu...? Anybody know?

"Discretionary Prop Shops"
Tier 1: First New York Securities (???), Trillium
Tier 2:
Tier 3:
Are there any still left? lol

Physical Trading: Energy
Tier 1: BP, Vitol, Trafigura, Koch, Glencore
Tier 2: Shell, Total, Phillips 66
Tier 3: others
Remember physical trading is very niche and some small shops dominate in certain areas. Again, focus is on UG/Grad students for right now.

Physical Trading: Metals
Tier 1: Glencore, Trafigura
Tier 2:
Tier 3:

Physical Trading: Agriculture
Tier 1: Cargill, Bunge, Louis Dreyfus
Tier 2:
Tier 3:
ADM, Cargill, Koch, Bunge, Louis Dreyfus...?

1

The WSO Advantage - Trading

Prop Trading Interview Guide

Video Library - 1 Year ($400 value). Learn More.

S&T Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions. Learn More.

Resume Help from Trading Pros.

Land More Trading Interviews. Learn More.

Find Your Trading Mentor Here

Realistic Trading Mock Interviews. Learn More.

Comments (69)

  • nyrangers11's picture

    Would love to hear peoples thoughts/opinions on firms by product, have a decision to make myself soon

  • jtbbdxbnycmad's picture

    Strongly endorse this thread being made. I have some knowledge of some firms but not comprehensive enough for a ranking.

  • Bot Some Calls's picture

    For equities, i think GS, MS and BAML are up there in top 3. Speaking from experience on a buyside desk

  • BlackHat's picture

    Agree with all rankings so far. Especially the ones towards the very top.

    I hate victims who respect their executioners

  • In reply to BlackHat
    nyrangers11's picture

    BlackHat:
    Agree with all rankings so far. Especially the ones towards the very top.

    Blackhat or anyone else knowledgeable and experienced:
    For FICC (particularly rates, fx, or HY/distressed credit), any insight into which firms are best positioned for now/ future

  • nontarget kid's picture

    This is a great thread, I hope we can fill it out a bit more.

  • Bearearns's picture

    I keep referring back to this thread

    http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/trading-rankings

    When Lehman was #1.

    Gelber group could fit in prop shop discretionary even though it isnt a pure discretionary shop to my knowledge.

    +1 For thread

  • monty09's picture

    The energy is all wrong

  • In reply to monty09
    Sandhurst's picture

    monty09:
    The energy is all wrong

    Was gonna say..

    jtbbdxbnycmad:

    US Securitized market share
    1. Credit Suisse
    2. Bank of America Merrill Lynch
    3. Barclays Capital

    This is wrong. I don't know if this is trying to rank trading, origination, or what have you. But it is wrong.

    "There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat."

  • GoodBread's picture

    I don't think BP should be ahead of Shell as far as physical goes. Mercuria and Gunvor can also basically be put in the same breath as Glencore/Trafi. I don't know how you should rank the majors (BP and Shell inclusive) against the pure traders, it's a somewhat different ballgame, whether you're talking about compensation, culture, funding, etc..

  • peyo212's picture

    Hudson River Trading should be up there in the quantitative prop shops, as well as Tower Research. Also Spot Trading LLC in Chicago probably

The WSO Advantage - Trading

Prop Trading Interview Guide

Video Library - 1 Year ($400 value). Learn More.

S&T Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions. Learn More.

Resume Help from Trading Pros.

Land More Trading Interviews. Learn More.

Find Your Trading Mentor Here

Realistic Trading Mock Interviews. Learn More.

  • TheSunAlwaysShines's picture

    For fixed income and equity markets a lot of it depends on who your coverage is. Any firm can trade equities, and trade them well, the key is to have a salesman/trader who can get stuff done. Same with fixed income, you want someone who knows what you are looking for in the primary and secondary markets. There is no use in using a big name firm with a lot of respect if they are not showing you what you want. As a buy side trader, you go to whoever best suits your strategy. If you like to buy 500m-2MM pieces of Investment Grade paper, every firm on the street will have something to show you. The key is to find out which firm shows you the most value. It's obviously much different for derivatives, rates, currencies, structured products, etc. because they can be more specialized.

    If nobody hates you, you're doing something wrong

  • Dr. Shakalu's picture

    Physical Energy Trading:

    1. Vitol
    2. Trafigura
    3. Glencore

    Vitol has been very strong for a very long time. Glencore has fallen off after their IPO in 2011 and subsequent move to Stamford. A great deal of talent cashed out at that point, but it could represent a good opportunity for openings. There are a number of smaller players in those markets that I've found intriguing as well (i.e. Gulfstream, Louis Dreyfus).

  • In reply to Dr. Shakalu
    monty09's picture

    Dr. Shakalu:
    Physical Energy Trading:

    1. Vitol
    2. Trafigura
    3. Glencore

    Vitol has been very strong for a very long time. Glencore has fallen off after their IPO in 2011 and subsequent move to Stamford. A great deal of talent cashed out at that point, but it could represent a good opportunity for openings. There are a number of smaller players in those markets that I've found intriguing as well (i.e. Gulfstream, Louis Dreyfus).

    very wrong

  • In reply to monty09
    SirTradesaLot's picture

    monty09:
    Dr. Shakalu:
    Physical Energy Trading:

    1. Vitol
    2. Trafigura
    3. Glencore

    Vitol has been very strong for a very long time. Glencore has fallen off after their IPO in 2011 and subsequent move to Stamford. A great deal of talent cashed out at that point, but it could represent a good opportunity for openings. There are a number of smaller players in those markets that I've found intriguing as well (i.e. Gulfstream, Louis Dreyfus).

    very wrong


    You can't just say a ranking is wrong without giving an alternate ranking. Obviously, you agree there is a ranking, so go ahead and give your ranking or stop criticizing others for their rankings. You are not adding value by just saying 'very wrong'.

    adapt or die:
    What would P.T. Barnum say about you?

    MY BLOG

  • In reply to DChedge
    whalesquid123's picture

    DChedge:
    "US Rates market share
    1. Deutsche Bank
    2. Goldman Sachs
    3. Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital, Citi, JPMorgan"

    Mostly agree, but my personal rankings based on perceived flows and tight pricing
    1. DB, CS
    2. BAR (just cut their head of swaps, so might drop), Citi, MS
    3. GS, JPM
    4. BNP, WF (up and coming), BOA
    5. RBC, Nomura, RBS
    UBS was probably 2nd or 3rd tier, but now they basically don't exist

    Is ranking these firms based on flow volume, market share, or tightness of pricing really indicative of which firms have the most talented/profitable traders (and consequently, which firms it would be best to join as a junior where you can learn from the rockstars on the street)?

  • In reply to whalesquid123
    DChedge's picture

    whalesquid123:
    DChedge:
    "US Rates market share
    1. Deutsche Bank
    2. Goldman Sachs
    3. Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital, Citi, JPMorgan"

    Mostly agree, but my personal rankings based on perceived flows and tight pricing
    1. DB, CS
    2. BAR (just cut their head of swaps, so might drop), Citi, MS
    3. GS, JPM
    4. BNP, WF (up and coming), BOA
    5. RBC, Nomura, RBS
    UBS was probably 2nd or 3rd tier, but now they basically don't exist

    Is ranking these firms based on flow volume, market share, or tightness of pricing really indicative of which firms have the most talented/profitable traders (and consequently, which firms it would be best to join as a junior where you can learn from the rockstars on the street)?

    No, not necessarily indicitive of best places to go if you are junior. Every shop has very smart people and good traders, so you will learn a lot everywhere. Also, places like GS have fewer trades, but likely make more $ per trade because their business plan isn't to capture large market share.

    Can only contribute what I know from being on the buy side. But with clearing coming up and the market likely to consolidate, I wouldn't want to be caught at a bottom tier dealer and end up getting shut down. Only the largest BBs are clearing FCMs, and all others will only be able to trade through execution agreements. It is yet to be seen how buyside shops will react to this, as it is possible they will just only trade with shops that are FCMs.

  • In reply to mbavsmfin
    peyo212's picture

    mbavsmfin:
    balladechina212:
    Hudson River Trading should be up there in the quantitative prop shops, as well as Tower Research. Also Spot Trading LLC in Chicago probably

    Spot is nowhere in the same league as hudson and tower.

    It's apples and oranges. Tower and HRT are almost completely algo-based firms with software developer-types running the show, whereas Spot excels in vol arb and uses some fundamental analysis. They can all be considered "quantitative prop shops" based on these groupings, but are definitely not the same type of firm.

  • In reply to DChedge
    whalesquid123's picture

    DChedge:
    whalesquid123:
    DChedge:
    "US Rates market share
    1. Deutsche Bank
    2. Goldman Sachs
    3. Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital, Citi, JPMorgan"

    Mostly agree, but my personal rankings based on perceived flows and tight pricing
    1. DB, CS
    2. BAR (just cut their head of swaps, so might drop), Citi, MS
    3. GS, JPM
    4. BNP, WF (up and coming), BOA
    5. RBC, Nomura, RBS
    UBS was probably 2nd or 3rd tier, but now they basically don't exist

    Is ranking these firms based on flow volume, market share, or tightness of pricing really indicative of which firms have the most talented/profitable traders (and consequently, which firms it would be best to join as a junior where you can learn from the rockstars on the street)?

    No, not necessarily indicitive of best places to go if you are junior. Every shop has very smart people and good traders, so you will learn a lot everywhere. Also, places like GS have fewer trades, but likely make more $ per trade because their business plan isn't to capture large market share.

    Can only contribute what I know from being on the buy side. But with clearing coming up and the market likely to consolidate, I wouldn't want to be caught at a bottom tier dealer and end up getting shut down. Only the largest BBs are clearing FCMs, and all others will only be able to trade through execution agreements. It is yet to be seen how buyside shops will react to this, as it is possible they will just only trade with shops that are FCMs.

    Would you happen to know which of the "lower-tier" firms on your list are there because they have the "GS business model" (by which I assume you mean more prop bets - correct me if I'm wrong), and which are there because they just aren't good?

  • GoodBread's picture

    I don't think monty09 is saying that there's really a ranking, just that the whole Trafi is better than Glencore now because people have jumped ship after the IPO seems like a pretty bold/most likely unfounded statement.

    Which is why, no disrespect to Tupac, the whole concept of a 2013 trading ranking is probably not that good of an idea anyway. There are too many variables to make true rankings. A list of "leading players" in each field is probably the best we can do.

  • Tupac's picture

    that's the goal, and a reason why i switched from rank to tiers.

  • SV4lax's picture

    Could someone with knowledge (Ideally a buy-side trader) rank equities and related? OP just included Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, BAML but said he was not knowledgeable in the area. I feel like this is one of the places where some of other sell-side firms with solid ER teams( mainly thinking MM like blair, baird, etc) could step up and compete head to head with BB's, but I honestly have no idea. Any insight?

  • In reply to SV4lax
    SirTradesaLot's picture

    SV4lax:
    Could someone with knowledge (Ideally a buy-side trader) rank equities and related? OP just included Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, BAML but said he was not knowledgeable in the area. I feel like this is one of the places where some of other sell-side firms with solid ER teams( mainly thinking MM like blair, baird, etc) could step up and compete head to head with BB's, but I honestly have no idea. Any insight?

    If it's cash equities, just about any firm can trade them well. The commission dollars are usually awarded based on the more helpful research/management access.

    adapt or die:
    What would P.T. Barnum say about you?

    MY BLOG

  • In reply to monty09
    marcellus_wallace's picture

    monty09:
    Dr. Shakalu:
    Physical Energy Trading:

    1. Vitol
    2. Trafigura
    3. Glencore

    Vitol has been very strong for a very long time. Glencore has fallen off after their IPO in 2011 and subsequent move to Stamford. A great deal of talent cashed out at that point, but it could represent a good opportunity for openings. There are a number of smaller players in those markets that I've found intriguing as well (i.e. Gulfstream, Louis Dreyfus).

    very wrong

    We talking that whole continent called North America right? Monty as usual lays down the law. If he cares he could add his point.

    I will keep it short, Glencore and Traf do not belong on the list for NAM Energy Desks, we talking North America right? Koch ain't what it used to be.

    Also disagree that the pure trading houses are the main last goal for most people. Most people would rather go to a hedge fund or somewhere that gets more deal flow than so the so called "pure trading houses". Again we talking North America right?

  • In reply to marcellus_wallace
    Tupac's picture

    marcellus_wallace:
    monty09:
    Dr. Shakalu:
    Physical Energy Trading:

    1. Vitol
    2. Trafigura
    3. Glencore

    Vitol has been very strong for a very long time. Glencore has fallen off after their IPO in 2011 and subsequent move to Stamford. A great deal of talent cashed out at that point, but it could represent a good opportunity for openings. There are a number of smaller players in those markets that I've found intriguing as well (i.e. Gulfstream, Louis Dreyfus).

    very wrong

    We talking that whole continent called North America right? Monty as usual lays down the law. If he cares he could add his point.

    I will keep it short, Glencore and Traf do not belong on the list for NAM Energy Desks, we talking North America right? Koch ain't what it used to be.

    Also disagree that the pure trading houses are the main last goal for most people. Most people would rather go to a hedge fund or somewhere that gets more deal flow than so the so called "pure trading houses". Again we talking North America right?

    Not necessarily just North America, don't know why we would limit it to that.

  • Tupac's picture

    Also, not sure about many hedge funds that trade the physical size a lot of guys at the majors and trading houses do. I know many funds will specialize in one sort of market (you'll see this in power... sometimes in local physical markets, like Port of Houston, etc), but not much more than that... if you could maybe expand on that? I'm not sure.

  • cujo.cabbie's picture

    Can someone kindly list the link or resource they used to get the rankings above?
    I'm quite interested. Thanks.

  • TheCityBoy's picture

    would it be worth adding any IBD categories? or would the TR league tables suffice?

    "because I want, to fit, in"

  • CaR's picture

    On a global scale, glencore is absolutely top tier, as is traf. Agree for the most part w/ this list, and will also throw in that J Aron is my least favorite counterparty to do commodity deals with and I hope they get spun off and given to Lumina Investments

  • In reply to nyrangers11
    DChedge's picture

    nyrangers11:
    For a S&T fixed income summer internship, which firms do you all believe are best positioned for now/ a career: GS, CS, DB, or BAML?

    I would eliminate BAML as their market share has been going down. I know you will be worked hardest at GS because they have very few to no trade assistants, so there is that (but you get the GS brand name). I would say CS or DB because as non US based firms they aren't subject to as many regulations which should help them going forward. As a side note I would lean towards CS of the 2 just because I can't stand DB's dungeon like trading floor...

  • In reply to DChedge
    jtbbdxbnycmad's picture

    DChedge:
    nyrangers11:
    For a S&T fixed income summer internship, which firms do you all believe are best positioned for now/ a career: GS, CS, DB, or BAML?

    I would eliminate BAML as their market share has been going down. I know you will be worked hardest at GS because they have very few to no trade assistants, so there is that (but you get the GS brand name). I would say CS or DB because as non US based firms they aren't subject to as many regulations which should help them going forward. As a side note I would lean towards CS of the 2 just because I can't stand DB's dungeon like trading floor...

    There is a droning, humming sound at DB that is pretty intense. Culture-wise I vastly preferred the CS folks to DB.

  • In reply to DChedge
    Tupac's picture

    DChedge:
    nyrangers11:
    For a S&T fixed income summer internship, which firms do you all believe are best positioned for now/ a career: GS, CS, DB, or BAML?

    I would eliminate BAML as their market share has been going down. I know you will be worked hardest at GS because they have very few to no trade assistants, so there is that (but you get the GS brand name). I would say CS or DB because as non US based firms they aren't subject to as many regulations which should help them going forward. As a side note I would lean towards CS of the 2 just because I can't stand DB's dungeon like trading floor...

    aren't european banks retreating from the US due to dodd frank...

  • In reply to Tupac
    marcellus_wallace's picture

    Tupac:
    marcellus_wallace:
    monty09:
    Dr. Shakalu:
    Physical Energy Trading:

    1. Vitol
    2. Trafigura
    3. Glencore

    Vitol has been very strong for a very long time. Glencore has fallen off after their IPO in 2011 and subsequent move to Stamford. A great deal of talent cashed out at that point, but it could represent a good opportunity for openings. There are a number of smaller players in those markets that I've found intriguing as well (i.e. Gulfstream, Louis Dreyfus).

    very wrong

    We talking that whole continent called North America right? Monty as usual lays down the law. If he cares he could add his point.

    I will keep it short, Glencore and Traf do not belong on the list for NAM Energy Desks, we talking North America right? Koch ain't what it used to be.

    Also disagree that the pure trading houses are the main last goal for most people. Most people would rather go to a hedge fund or somewhere that gets more deal flow than so the so called "pure trading houses". Again we talking North America right?

    Not necessarily just North America, don't know why we would limit it to that.

    Maybe skimmed your initial post. But that is most likely where monty's comments came from and would come from the same. On Global scale totally different ballgame. This is just a North American focused forum usually and folks are usually looking at oppurtunities in North America. Totally different if we talking Global harder to judge.

    My point to hedge funds exactly meant what you said, most people would rather end up at a hedge fund where you get paid long-term and control your fate specialized in something or other vs trading massive size at a major/physical trading house and having to deal with all the other stuff.

  • In reply to marcellus_wallace
    Tupac's picture

    marcellus_wallace:
    Maybe skimmed your initial post. But that is most likely where monty's comments came from and would come from the same. On Global scale totally different ballgame. This is just a North American focused forum usually and folks are usually looking at oppurtunities in North America. Totally different if we talking Global harder to judge.

    My point to hedge funds exactly meant what you said, most people would rather end up at a hedge fund where you get paid long-term and control your fate specialized in something or other vs trading massive size at a major/physical trading house and having to deal with all the other stuff.

    Makes sense. So I guess to clarify, the focus is on juniors and the best place to get your first experience, with a lean towards North America but open to anywhere.

  • BuySidePrussian's picture

    After Lehman went under, Deutsche bank aggressively courted as many Lehman FI people as they could. Looks like the talent transitioned well. They've been doing this for other groups as well. Their FX ranking is unsurprising. Deutsche Bank has always been strong in FX trading, going back to Germany's Imperial days.

  • In reply to DChedge
    nyrangers11's picture

    DChedge:
    nyrangers11:
    For a S&T fixed income summer internship, which firms do you all believe are best positioned for now/ a career: GS, CS, DB, or BAML?

    I would eliminate BAML as their market share has been going down. I know you will be worked hardest at GS because they have very few to no trade assistants, so there is that (but you get the GS brand name). I would say CS or DB because as non US based firms they aren't subject to as many regulations which should help them going forward. As a side note I would lean towards CS of the 2 just because I can't stand DB's dungeon like trading floor...

    Thanks for your help. I was under the impression that American banks w/ big balance sheets like BAML/JPM would be ideal places to be as a young grad. Also thought BAML was gaining market share with it beginning to successfully integrate Merrill's securities business into its own.

    Thought CS was struggling in FI as of late and that new regulations coming into place might hit smaller and leaner shops like them, MS, and GS a bit harder.

    Any of this accurate?

  • In reply to nyrangers11
    Tupac's picture

    nyrangers11:
    DChedge:
    nyrangers11:
    For a S&T fixed income summer internship, which firms do you all believe are best positioned for now/ a career: GS, CS, DB, or BAML?

    I would eliminate BAML as their market share has been going down. I know you will be worked hardest at GS because they have very few to no trade assistants, so there is that (but you get the GS brand name). I would say CS or DB because as non US based firms they aren't subject to as many regulations which should help them going forward. As a side note I would lean towards CS of the 2 just because I can't stand DB's dungeon like trading floor...

    Thanks for your help. I was under the impression that American banks w/ big balance sheets like BAML/JPM would be ideal places to be as a young grad. Also thought BAML was gaining market share with it beginning to successfully integrate Merrill's securities business into its own.

    Thought CS was struggling in FI as of late and that new regulations coming into place might hit smaller and leaner shops like them, MS, and GS a bit harder.

    Any of this accurate?

    all I can really say is I'm not too sure where people are getting the idea that BAML shouldn't be up there... i believe it's near the top in commodities too?

  • In reply to Tupac
    DChedge's picture

    Tupac:
    nyrangers11:
    DChedge:
    nyrangers11:
    For a S&T fixed income summer internship, which firms do you all believe are best positioned for now/ a career: GS, CS, DB, or BAML?

    I would eliminate BAML as their market share has been going down. I know you will be worked hardest at GS because they have very few to no trade assistants, so there is that (but you get the GS brand name). I would say CS or DB because as non US based firms they aren't subject to as many regulations which should help them going forward. As a side note I would lean towards CS of the 2 just because I can't stand DB's dungeon like trading floor...

    Thanks for your help. I was under the impression that American banks w/ big balance sheets like BAML/JPM would be ideal places to be as a young grad. Also thought BAML was gaining market share with it beginning to successfully integrate Merrill's securities business into its own.

    Thought CS was struggling in FI as of late and that new regulations coming into place might hit smaller and leaner shops like them, MS, and GS a bit harder.

    Any of this accurate?

    all I can really say is I'm not too sure where people are getting the idea that BAML shouldn't be up there... i believe it's near the top in commodities too?

    BAML isn't bad, it just isn't what it used to be. ML was a bunch of old-school b.a. fixed income guys but most of them went elsewhere once the merger occurred. Still not a bad place, just know they have lost market share in the last year. I will say that their trading floor is one of the nicest on the street.

    As far as regulations go, it could really go either way. Just giving my opinion. Seems like US based firms are getting hit the hardest with regulations and are the being the most conservative as far as the risk they are taking in their books. Non US firms aren't constrained by Volcker rule so they can still have prop desks.

  • CaR's picture

    What makes you say GS for commodities? Just out of curiosity

  • In reply to CaR
    Tupac's picture

    CaR:
    What makes you say GS for commodities? Just out of curiosity

    I'm still not sure they fully belong - I have yet to hear anything positive out of J Aron recently.

Pages