Career in CMBS / MBS

Does anyone work as a CMBS / MBS trader? Any insight on a career in this vertical would be appreciated? Do you find the work interesting? I come from a traditional real estate acquisitions background but am fairly intrigued by the space. Is there a lot of room for growth? Is comp strong? Is it a small space? Why don't more people head this route? Thoughts on which companies to pursue (aside from the banks) that have large CMBS operations? Thinking Cerberus, KKR? Any and all info is appreciated ?

 

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Anything at all fellas ? There must be some MBS folks here

 
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I’m a 2nd year on a MBS desk at a MM bank. I come from a similar background where I did Single Family Rental portfolio management & acquisitions for a private equity fund. Physical real estate/acquisitions work didn’t do it for me.. too slow paced which is when I started thinking about a lateral. MBS/CMBS allows you to retain your interest in real estate while being in a much faster paced front office seat.

Pay is solid, little bit less than IB, but also half the hours with nice bonus/commission structures depending on your shop. I work from 6:45-5ish typically and love the environment. The work is extremely entertaining and mind provoking unlike some other flow desks. Within securitized products there are so many different verticals you can go down but from your background I think you’d like CMBS sales/trading but I think you’d also find MBS/ABS/CLO’s interesting. If you’re a collateral person who enjoys diving into loans you’ll find a fit somewhere in sec prods.

The securitized product market is very small.. seems like everyone knows each other. My head trader is great friends with traders at many other shops, and that seems to be the case throughout most of the street. I think a lot of people don’t want to go into this sector because it’s becoming more automated, but securitized products are unlike other flow sectors. It’s much harder to click buy on a screen for a domino’s royalty ABS securitization than it is on an Apple Corporate bond.

I think the upside is huge for young talent. The MBS space seems to have skipped a generation. It’s either 50+ year old people on the desk, or 20-30 year old. I haven’t met very many 30s-40s people in sec prods. I could be wrong but that’s my take.

Hope this helps.

 

I noticed the missing generation as well. My MD says they are the middle mgmt people (VPs, EDs, and some MDs) that got fired during the GFC. Which is also why so many MDs on my spg floor made MD at an age younger than the firm avg

 

Do you have any insight into agency MBS trading for an in-house mortgage originator vs working for a broker-dealer? Any differences there compared to what you mentioned?

 

Hey there, OP here. Big thanks for taking the time to share more about your background and the transition you made. As referenced, I currently work at a real estate private credit fund originating bridge, mezz, construction loans, but want to make the transition to CMBS / MBS on the trading side. Do you have any concrete suggestions for next steps I can take? Books / guides to read, how to network in the space, recruiters to go potentially go through, etc? Would really really appreciate any further advice here.

Also, would be helpful to hear how difficult it was to make the transition and what you did to make it possible. It seems as if the nature of the work / material is quite different. I’m not sure that my direct real estate experience will be appreciated by interviewers. Hoping to make this transition and assume it will be a long road to get there so any and all advice helps. Thanks in advance man!

 

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