Prop trader vs. BB Trader

Hello All - So I recently received two offers, one to be a trader in a prop firm (think the following tiers :Wolverine, Belvedere, Group One), and the other in a mid tier Bulge Bracket ( think BOA, Barclays, Citi). The salaries are slightly comparable, but the BB one is slightly higher. Prop firm is obviously in Chicago, and the other one in NYC, so accounting for COL, I would probably make more money in the Prop firm. Wanted to get all of your thoughts/insights onto what I should keep in mind when making the decision.

Also as a side note do you happen to know the average bonus (discretionary bonus) for a trader in a BB?


Comments (10)

May 22, 2022 - 4:03pm
CAPM Arbitrage, what's your opinion? Comment below:

mediocre prop firm < mediocre bank < good bank < good prop firm

Wolverine is a strong prop shop (significant player in automated equity options) and probably shouldn't be lumped in with the likes of Belvedere and Group One. 

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - FI
May 23, 2022 - 7:49am

I'd personally put them in good prop firm. Quite significant in ETPs (not sure about this in US though). I'm based in HK, and almost everyone here at BB who wants to take some risk apply to flow traders only to get dinged. But last year they didn't have much fun though, and comparably don't have top-notch tech compared to IMC or DRW. 

Among good prop firms I would put FT as bit lower tier,

May 30, 2022 - 4:35am
racconz, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey man! I'm joining HK summer for S&T/Capital Market and received FT over from prop shops like Flow/SIG/Akuna. What's your opinion in choosing between two very different paths? Can I DM you to learn more about desk culture in HK? 

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  • Analyst 1 in S&T - FI
May 30, 2022 - 11:19pm

Lol can I buy ur job? Anyway I don't have much insights about props shops because i don't work there.(got dinged at some of the shops that you mentioned on the final round, and felt they have a great culture. I kind of envy them)

If it was either FT vs FT or intern vs intern, it would have been a different issue, but for your case i don't see any reason for a debate. I would take the prop shops without hesitation. The firms you mentioned are great places. i don't think there are trading desks in HK BB where it can match the rigorousness/exposure/learning opportunities of those firms. 

Just some flashback on my SA experience here:

If you don't really care that much about job securities and don't want to get pissed with some corporate bs, you would be extremely disappointed at some points while ur internship at BB S&T. The average return offer rate(ex; its said to be 50% so if I'm better than half of fellow intern I will get the offer ) is just a dumb overgeneralization that many incoming interns tend to have. If SA program is non-rotational then what matters is ur team's headcount. no matter how well you do if the desk have no hc, ur lost. The shitty thing is that the manager normally wouldn't tell u that fact, and its up to you to figure out that, and try to network with other team while doing the team's task. Rotational program is kinda different but it could also be stressful because they usually don't assign you all the rotational desks(Not sure about all BBs but I know some of them do that for sure), but only the first rotation. During the 1st rotation you need to network as much as possible with other desks so that you could be selected for the desk u want. Unfortunately if they don't need you, you're literally fucked and would have to count on ur luck for other random desks' generosity. but that already implies ur low chance of getting return offer. 

In terms of trading roles, (this is restricted to my experience so please keep this in mind; other banks could be different) many of our traders were like "commercialized Traders" I don't think this is a bad trader at all. But many traders I've seen grunted about their roles not being  satisfactory. Only desk where every trader was satisfied was D1. Think they had the most quantitative background. 

I intentionally wrote some shit parts of SA to point out sometimes you could be helpless regardless of your intellectual ability, so keep this in mind. Whether the SA experience would be good or not is up to you, basically. But try to read other posts about what MMs do, there are many insightful posts, and you'll realize the business model is not that different btw Props and Banks S&T. 

For parts about culture in Hk desks, sorry I can't answer those cuz I also don't know much about them. Might give u some very misleading information.

May 31, 2022 - 9:48am
traderguy123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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