Junior Canadian STIR/FX trader -> Offer from Chicago Corp?

Hi everyone,

Any advice/comments are appreciated.

I have to be a bit vague to avoid being recognized. Please PM if you'd like any details!

I work in Toronto as in STIR/FX for a Canadian organization, say around 3 years in.

I'm on a pretty solid team with upward potential. While I do get piled with a lot of grunt work, I'm able to take on responsibility that I probably don't deserve. People like me, and I'm at the point where I'm treated fully like a member of the team. The one dicey bit is that while I have the opportunity to make money, there's not a strong correlation to bonus time, even at the senior level. Politics is big, which I'm not great at. From what I hear, this is quite common in Canada.

A former trader I used to work with (did a rotation on his team) reached out to me and wanted to know if I'd work for him. He's now the head trader of a trading desk at a blue chip corporation. The desk hedges fx and short rate risk, but is explicitly a prop desk as well. He's based in Chicago, and offered me a role "equivalent to that of a VP". I know he was a bit salty that I didn't become his full time analyst (a choice made by HR) which is why he's giving me the look now. I like the guy. I know that with the move, he broke the 7 figure pay mark.

The offer is for $150k base, and he's told me the first year comp target is around 250-300k all-in (USD), and there are hard payout ratios if I make $$. To start I'd have slightly smaller risk limits than what I can do now, but I'd be able to trade a much wider range of asset classes & products (will be able to trade just about anything in global FI/FX).

For reference, in the second full year of my current role (ie after the "stub bonus and first full year), I made C$160k.

I feel like I'm too junior to put this back to my boss and ask for more money. At the same time, I'm also a bit too junior to move for the big $$$ (like he did). I know though that if I didn't take it, I'd be regretting it at the next bonus season.

I've only had a few chats with him. He's asked if I am interested, and if so he'll get HR to get the ball rolling.

Any advice is appreciated.

Pros:
After considering exchange rate and taxes, it's a 75% pay bump.
Explicitly a prop trader w/ own PnL
Much wider range of products to trade
US work experience for MBA if trading doesn't pan out
Slightly better hours (~65 -> 55/wk)
Three year visa

Cons:
Would be leaving a stable career path
Moving from a big team, to a small team (I'd be more on my own)
Move to a city where I don't know anyone
A few people on my team would be mad at me for leaving

Comments (2)

Best Response
Feb 18, 2018 - 10:32pm
kanon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

On paper right now it seems like it'd be a great move (more money, title bump, joining smaller team to allow for more impact / growth, US city and exp for MBA if that's what you want, etc). I'd probably ask myself a few questions (re: opportunity, growth, culture, risk/return):

  • How comfortable are you with the responsibilities that you'll be taking on in the new role? (Are you ready for it, or feel that it's something you can grow into when pushed into the deep end?)

  • Is it something you are interested in and want to do in the future? (How much better does the new role positions you for your LT goals vs current role? How long would it take you to get to where you want to be in current role?)

  • What's this trader like (personality, reputation) - is he a good guy? Will he be a mentor or the type to throw someone under the bus if shit goes south?

  • Position / job security - Are there resources / support devoted to the growth of the team? How risky is this? Conversely, how is the growth trajectory of your current team and how much would politics get in the way (and can you navigate that well enough, or have champions to back you to have upward momentum)

I think if this is something you like, you're fairly confident in yourself, and your new boss is a good guy, I'd take it for the growth opportunity. The sizable pay bump is awesome of course, but I think good upward trajectory (from greater responsibilities, impact, good boss and recognition) is a greater factor in the decision.

Feb 20, 2018 - 4:49pm
faceslappingcompilation, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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just google it...you're welcome
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