Should I make the move : Sales vs Trading ?

Hello, decent user here, posting anon for privacy as some coworkers/coworkers' friends might be here as well

I got contacted by HH for a new Sales position at a Cantor type of place, coverage should be HY & Distress bonds. Had a few calls with HH & MD at the firm. MD looks interested in my profile and able to provide a solid base comp.

First issue here is that with the economic downturn coming for us, I have no view on how I would generate enough flow to make bank. Significant part of the job seems to be onboarding and source trades with new clients which could be very difficult if we enter a recession. 

Second issue is that I'm currently in a trading seat, and I lateraled from a sales seat. It was a grind and I have no guarantee that I would be able to bounce back like that again if Im not successful at the new place, especially in current economic condition. 

My background is approx : 6months trading -> 2.5yrs sales at a BB (SellSide Rates, Tier 1 city), then 1.5yrs trading at LO AM (Buyside Credit, Tier 2 city).

On the flip side, the position would be in a Tier 1 city that Im literally dying to go to (different that the one where I started). Other important point is that I don't trade my own book. I have PM track available at the AM but everything being very slow there, could be anything from 3 to 7 yrs to get there and comp seems unimpressive from info I gathered.

What kind of exit ops would I get if I jump ship ? I assume the Tier 1 city exposure could help as I was getting way more calls when I started vs now.

What do y'all monkeys think ?

Comments (7)

  • Associate 1 in S&T - FI
Jul 5, 2022 - 1:56pm

OP here, yes it is possible and it happens more than I expected. Usually at mid level and from Macro Rates Sales guy mostly. EQD guys could also make to jump at Equity LS every now and then. But keep in mind most of those buyside trading roles would be execution only.

Jul 5, 2022 - 12:04pm
BillyRay05, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Couple of questions:

  • Do you like sales?  Were you good at sales in your prior seat?
  • Do you enjoy investing (i.e. what made you leave your SS job)?

In my opinion, I would probably stay in your current seat.  It sounds like you'll be able to become a PM ( I assume with true discretionary investing responsibilities) before the age of 35 - 40, which is still really good.   

My biggest concern is the type of SS you're considering.  Those Cantor shops are incredibly cut-throat with a ton of sharp elbows.  If you had 10+ years of sales experience and a deep rolodex, I would say swing away because you would make a killing at these commission-type shops.  But as a younger guy, you are going to have to do a TON of onboarding.  And if they don't pan out, they will quickly cut you in a heartbeat.  

"Sounds to me like you guys a couple of bookies."

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  • Associate 1 in S&T - FI
Jul 5, 2022 - 3:00pm

Appreciated the detailed answer, many thanks !

Giving more color:

I like most aspects of Sales except cold calling. I am good with people and I am confident that the client entertainment/make them like you part would not be an issue for me.

Based on my reviews and feedback I got when I left, I would say that I was quite good even if I was junior, working MD's clients (ie no proper PnL pressure like VP and above). I handled everything short term tenors and/or below a certain size (cash & derivs), even for the tier 1 clients as I was trusted. I enjoyed the position and I left because they were massively downsizing the whole operation (quite niche) so better to leave before getting chopped. 

I never got a proper investing role but from my former SS desk, more of a correlation/spreads business, my type of investing would be a mix of illiquid mispriced products with correlation/basis plays that I would enter & exit, depending on mkt conditions. I am very open to learn more about other strategies but it is fair to assume that this is where I am the most knowledgeable. 

However, I know that my LO is not active in that niche and they have no interest into it (I already asked). Therefore the PM seat looks quite vanilla with unimpressive comp and lots a bureaucracy/internal politics (which I don't have with the trading team). My end goal is to go to HF so I don't think that the PM seat would help a lot for this, as I am in city with close to no HF compatible with my background. And the SS shop seems to have deep HF connections and its in a tier 1 city which could help for a future lateral move at some point. Also worthy to add that the city is my dream city for a lot of other reasons not related to work.

I discussed with some friends and the ones in finance (FO S&T mostly) were globally not really supportive of the move.

Also wonder about trading at these places as it was presented as a possibility further down the road.

Monkeys, you are welcome to chime in !

Most Helpful
Jul 6, 2022 - 11:34am
BillyRay05, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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"Sounds to me like you guys a couple of bookies."

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