culture on the trading floor....changed?

I was curious to know the culture of S&T? Friends of mine at BB have told me that trading floor isn't the quant-jock atmosphere that it used to be, and that human resources has regulated the trading floor ensuring minorities, females, and foreigners all get along, without the cursing, vulgar jokes, phone slamming, and stripclubs that once were defining aspects of S&T.
Part of me wants to believe this, another part of me doesn't, lol.

Can anyone give an honest opinion of the culture & atmosphere at their bank?

 

Depends where you are at and who's on your desk, it's been my experience (and yes I'm young but I've sat on two BB desks just shadowing and will be SAing at a 3rd company this summer (reputable but not BB)) that it simply depends. Bigger trading floors actually are more regulated than the small operations I've sat on. The first thing out of most Traders I talk to on the desk is about how hot the girls are at my college, are they really the hottest in the country, with a couple of F words thrown in there.

At one large BB Trading floor, I won't say who (not GS though), the culture was still "fratty" but with out the swearing and R-Rated stuff simply because there were a good amount of women and minorities, mostly asian. More playful, less Tucker Max.

I liked both cultures a lot but prefer the more '80's/90's style trading floors...I can't wait to do it for a whole summer and see what it's really like in the long term.

I'd be interesting to hear form someone who's sat on a floor throughout the past 10 years and see if they have seen a change..........?

 
Best Response

I've seen quite a few of the BB trading floors and I don't think its much of a secret which ones are a little more "fratty" than others. You need to realize though, that even within a BB, the culture of the desk changes as well depending on the particular product area.

Here are a few of the cultures I picked up on:

Credit Suisse-Equities (particularly Cash). Quite fratty. I was in there when the Tiger Woods news broke ( you can imagine the atmosphere was even more loose-tongued with respect to the topic of hot girls)

Credit Suisse-Fixed Income (Interest Rate Products)-more buttoned down/less trash talk, which makes it a little more comfortable for women and minorities.

Morgan Stanley -Equities (Equity Derivatives)-this one surprised me. You'd figure that the guys pricing and trading variance swaps/gamma swaps and other exotics would be a little more focused with less time to trash talk. Not the case. The few girls that were there, definitely knew how to "hang with the guys".

Deutsche Bank-Equities (Structured Equities)-This one is a little more typical. These guys were brilliant and no-nonsense. Very tolerant atmosphere, but very focused. These guys argued over the correct pricing approach for equity swaps as opposed to which March Madness bound team had the best chance of winning it all.

CD~

 

things nowadays are totally corporate. yes u will here curses and guys will talk about girls but thats about the extent of it. I would say that the most "fratty" or as i would call it "meat-headed" culture was Lehman, but they are now history of course. The most corporate culture in my experience is Goldman...when i am out with goldman people and somebody tells a joke they all look at the most senior GS person there to see if they are allowed to laugh.

 
Bondarb:
things nowadays are totally corporate. yes u will here curses and guys will talk about girls but thats about the extent of it. I would say that the most "fratty" or as i would call it "meat-headed" culture was Lehman, but they are now history of course. The most corporate culture in my experience is Goldman...when i am out with goldman people and somebody tells a joke they all look at the most senior GS person there to see if they are allowed to laugh.

That surprises me I would have pegged GS to be at the opposite end of the spectrum, interesting.

 

The legendary cultures of the past were generally the old bond-dealerships that didnt have big investment banks and were on the smaller side...all have been acquired and corporatized. Salomon Brothers, Greenwich Capital, First Boston, BZW, DLJ, etc. I was lucky enuff to work at one of these shops in the "last days", ie as the culture of the parent bank was begining to take hold and as the old gaurd was leaving, and it was really a great experience that unfortunately no longer exists on wall st. Nowadays guys will have the occasional eating contest and that passes for a "wild" culture. If you ever run into an older trader/salesman who worked for one of the above shops try to get them to tell you some stories over a beer one day!

 

this is not a BB, but when i used to work at the chicago mercantile exchange, there were a lot of crazy stuff. traders routinely doing coke in the bathroom, old irish guys hurling racial insults, fights, and sleeping with their hot female clerks. this was back in 2005, and my co-workers told me that things were actually a lot crazier in the earlier part of the decade.

 

This is an interesting thread... definitely would like to hear more about stories at other BBs and shops.

No wonder I got dinged after interviewing with one of the ex-Saloman, ex-Lehman guys... he was quite fratty and I obviously failed the fit test on one of my interviews last month. In retrospect, I should've reacted more properly (to his taste).

 

Hello mate,

I have a pretty loud high pitched tinnitus, developed when I was 13 and had it everyday since for the last 10 years.

I work on the trading floor of an interdealer brokers, and this can be somewhat louder than a bank's floor. However, I have never felt it gets to levels where it would be harmful to my ears or increase the loudness of my tinnitus. Hasn't crossed my mind in fact.

I spent a good few years being worried sick about my ears and it took a long time to come to terms with. However now it only ever crosses my mind if I am in a nightclub or concert, and not in a negative way, just aware that I shouldn't stand to close to a speaker.

Don't let it stop you from doing anything you want to do, if its really affecting you now, I promise you will become accustomed and it will bother you less and less until you wake up one day and relaise you havevn't thought or heard about it for a week. Then those gaps get bigger and bigger :)

If you want to talk about it feel free to PM me

 

Don't expect anything like Liar's Poker.

The "need" for shouting has decreased significantly past decades, at least for banks. Never heard of any screaming when I have been on the phone with the sell side (I know the phones are noise filtered to fuck, but can hear the typical murmur in the background). You made through college classes where you had probably 100+ people in the room waiting for the lecturer to arrive, you will make through bank trading floor as well.

 

Unless my neighbor was an inconsiderate, screaming lunatic, I've never had any gripes with the trading floors I've worked on. Of course, this falls in line with the floor's trading volumes & culture, but the noise levels generally don't compare vs going to a concert or having conversations in a crowded bar.

All the world's indeed a stage, And we are merely players, Performers and portrayers, Each another's audience, Outside the gilded cage - Limelight (1981)
 

It isn't louder than a screaming toddler. Of course there's a temper if shit goes south, but that depends on how well you do your job.

CNBC sucks "This financial crisis is worse than a divorce. I've lost all my money, but the wife is still here." - Client after getting blown up
 

Well the great thing about dealerboards is that you can turn up or down the volume of specific conversation so even if a counterparty/broker goes batshit crazy screaming to get a trade you can always turn it down a bit. Our trading floor is mostly quiet, you just hear the constant bids from OTC trades being made by voice. 99% of the time there is no screaming at all.

 

shocked by how quiet it was- if traders near you use a turret often, it might be noisy but usually there's not much screaming. it's not like the pits from the 80s. Most stuff done over phone calls, turrets, IM, or electronic platforms. Rarely a need to shout.

 

There´s no screaming, we have electronic systems. You speak with brokers through a turret and with internal sales through another. It´s noisy because this is being done by hundreds of people at the same time but it´s not noisier than big places with people speaking. Think very big restaurants or bars (the ones without music). Plus, the volume of your turrets is adjustable, so you can tone yours down. I have different volumes for each brokers as some as louder than others. There might be some screaming at some points it time, but it´s still nothing crazy.

 

I don't give a shit if the guys around me are slaying dragons or playing Dungeons and Dragons during the weekend. If you bring in money, you'll get the respect you deserve. Of course there's the usual banter and good nature taunting.

CNBC sucks "This financial crisis is worse than a divorce. I've lost all my money, but the wife is still here." - Client after getting blown up
 

I used to sit on a trading desk with very different personalities. In particular we had one director who was a real player, getting laid every other day with random girls and talking about it. We also had, couple seats away, a guy who could not communicate with the rest of the world, let alone girls.

They were both making north of 50m a year. Needless to say that with that, they couldn't care less about the banter and taunting. They even laughed about it because, at the end of the day, they knew that they had a tremendous amount of respect for each other - and only because of the P&L.

 
nonos:
I used to sit on a trading desk with very different personalities. In particular we had one director who was a real player, getting laid every other day with random girls and talking about it. We also had, couple seats away, a guy who could not communicate with the rest of the world, let alone girls.

They were both making north of 50m a year. Needless to say that with that, they couldn't care less about the banter and taunting. They even laughed about it because, at the end of the day, they knew that they had a tremendous amount of respect for each other - and only because of the P&L.

That's ridiculous - what desk was that if you don't mind revealing. Certainly can't be cash equities.

 

By experience, the awkward guy stays because the guy with social skills gets tired of having it all, except a loving wife and family. Realizing that (the other guy just doesn't understand the concept), he quits and starts doing something else ;)

It was an exotic product desk at a BB, and they made up to 70% of the floor's P&L some years...

 
nonos:
By experience, the awkward guy stays because the guy with social skills gets tired of having it all, except a loving wife and family. Realizing that (the other guy just doesn't understand the concept), he quits and starts doing something else ;)

It was an exotic product desk at a BB, and they made up to 70% of the floor's P&L some years...

Lovely. Hopefully we see those days again. Regularization is a massive bitch - if the investors are dumb enough to buy the products they should inherit the risk along with the return. Was that desk made up of math/quant folks, or did it also have English / Music major types?