12/23/11

I have an interview coming up for a trade support position. Can someone elaborate on what type of questions they might throw at me? I really want the job and would like to be as prepared as possible. Right now, I'm reviewing my international finance textbook (swaps, forwards, options, etc.) and reading through "Heard on the Street: Quantitative Questions from Wall Street Interviews". It's not a trading position but I'm preparing for the worst.

Here is the job description:

Responsibilities
Operate and monitor existing trades during Asia market hours
Adjust trading and risk parameters to suit market conditions
Monitor market trends with an eye for possible trade enhancements
Develop tools and scripts to conduct more detailed post-trade analysis
Reconcile PNL for trading strategies with internal accounting
Gather data for new and existing markets

Comments (18)

Best Response
12/23/11

Current work in TSG at a BB, didnt have technical questions. Just wanted to know about previous work experience and what I knew about the firm / financial services industry. If you want to prepare then know the processes for after a trade is made (drafting, docs, settlements, clearing, etc).

FT? 1st year analyst role?

I say fuck change, I don't chase dimes

12/23/11

Thank you for your response, I will look further into the post-trade process. This interview is for a FT role at a HFT firm. It's a quant shop so I'm thinking theres a good chance their gonna throw some technical/brain teasers?

12/23/11

Trade Support here, graduated in 2011 and interviewed at a few banks

I doubt you'll get anything technical, just have an opinion on the market and know the basics of how a trading desks work (i.e. different desks fx, equities, high yield etc) and how trade support works under them. Have a general idea of what trade support does! That was important. A great buzzword to use is "trade lifecycle."

That means that after a trader books a trade, we take it, clear it through the back office, validate with the counterparty, and send it through to payments/funding. Also know why you want to be in support.

Finally, you'll absolutely be asked this question on your interview - do you see yourself being in the front office in a few years? Say unequivocally no, or you're not sure. They don't want guys who are going to immediately leapfrog to a trading desk - one, because it's a threat to them (every back office worker secretly wants the prestige) and two, they'll waste precious time training you. Let them know either that you want to be in the back office to learn how everything works, or that you're not sure.

Hope this helps.

12/23/11

That helps tremendously! Thanks man. How do you like your position thus far? I assume you're learning a great amount which is similar to what I'm hoping for. What are your hours like, do they make you do overtime a lot? The position I'm applying for is during Asia market hours so I'm going to be doing the grave yard shift (6pm-2am) but it's okay cause I'm a night owl anyway.

12/27/11

I like the position, I'm working in derivatives so it's a steep learning curve. A lot of people like to dump on BO jobs, but it has its benefits. Like any other monkey I'm trying to make it to the FO, but I'm enjoying my time here. I work from around 8:30 to 5:30 or 6, M-F. Overtime is minimal, I think you'll find that most guys working in trade support are pretty laid back, type B people. Pay is solid, hours are manageable and the environment is downright friendly.

One recommendation I'd have is to immediately begin networking if you get the job.

12/27/11

Whgm45 is absolutely right. everyone is pretty laid back and friendly by me also. I actually think we have a similar position: 2011 grad and i cover derivatives too, but my hours are a bit worse. Usually 730 to 630/7. Definitely start networking if you want FO job. MO is not that bad though, we definitely get a harder rap on here than we deserve. I know i went to a target, top 5 businessweek ranked BSchool, interned at a BB PWM office, and just didnt know what i wanted in my senior year. MO sounded interesting with a wider breadth of knowledge of securities (i cover a ton of currencies and products) and although it doesnt carry the future dividends that a FO job might, im still making a very competative base with good signing. I'd like to know how this goes for you, keep us posted

I say fuck change, I don't chase dimes

12/29/11

I cannot thank you guys enough for the insight and advice. The interview isn't for another 2 weeks and I will definitely let you guys know of the outcome.

So far, I've gotten the trade life-cycle and post-trade processes down. But I'm having trouble finding anything on Google in regards to the differences in functionality of various trading desks, specifically, how different trading desks work and how trade support functions underneath them which was mentioned by Whgm45. It's obvious there are different desks for different products but I'm not sure on the post-trade differences between say, a commodities and a currencies desk.

12/29/11

I can't comment on commodities, but I cover FX and derivatives desks and the process is basically the same. For example, if I'm dealing with upcoming resets and payments for equity swaps (derivative) I have to value the swap payments using the notional amount, the start+end dates, and the rate+spread. Then I clear it through, blah blah blah. It's essentially the same with FX, but it's a lot easier. My trader sends me details (buys 7,600,000 USD vs CAD at 1.0239 value date Dec 30), I value it, and send it through. What I'm getting at is, in my job I value the trades manually in both circumstances then keep it going down the BO line.

Trade support responsibilities vary from firm to firm, but if you're interviewing at a BB I can assure you that your job will be very similar to what me and AnATLieninNY do. My firm is more manual than other firms, which can be a pain but it also makes us essential. I interviewed at a top hedge fund, and the BO was completely automated so they were relegated to making sure the systems work properly.

Again, in your interview, stress that trade support is a great way to break into finance and learn about the market. They might ask you where you see yourself in 5 years, NEVER say front office. Don't ever mention it. Say I'm not really sure right now, be very general, mentioning b school is alright.

Be sure to show genuine interest in the market, have a story. Mine was that I made my first investment when I was in middle school. At some point in the interview, he/she will outline the qualities they're looking for in a candidate. Don't be afraid to say that you possess those qualities and provide examples to back it up.

12/29/11

I know that for low level jobs they give a test at the interview in which bond calculations are a lot of the questions.

Not sure if this helps any at all!

Good luck

Yours truly,
The Young Investor

12/29/11

Whats the job description? Trade support can be a very broad term

12/29/11

Trade support as in P/L calculation
Recon/risk management
etc.
for weatlh management division

any info would be helpful
thanks

12/29/11

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12/29/11

HR won't be able to have much say in whether you choose to move to FO-- but it's not really going to be a cakewalk to get there, especially in PWM. If it were IB Trade Support, that'd be another story and the chances are a bit higher (particularly if your Ops group is on the trading floor with the traders).

Regular 9-5 hours, typically-- I don't know about the pay or other exit opps from a FT position, to be honest.

12/29/11

thanks for the info...

should there be any quesiton on fixed income that I should focus on?
or would it be more of a "fit" type of interview?

anyone who has previously interviewed for a trade support role?

thanks

12/29/11

If this is the company I am thinking of it is a very operations related role. You will answer a lot of calls from financial advisors and internal employees. Very little contact with actual traders and you're not really supporting them

12/29/11
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