Advice I give to my incoming analysts

Posted this in another thread, but I thought others could benefit from a broader topic standpoint. I am a hiring manager for our analyst pool and run a FI product trading book. 

Here is my advice to you.

Trading is still a massively old school game. If you want to succeed half of the battle is living out this concept with every cell of your being. I cannot emphasize this enough. It is not up to your manager to gauge if you are succeeding. It is up to the entire desk. You have to build a reputation and the best way to do that is to keep your mouth shut and free up trading hours for the entire desk while working IB hours as needed.

Be assertive. Take on as many projects as you can handle to provide value. I care about few things more than my P&L. Every second that I have to focus on something besides trading is costing the firm, and me, money. You're going to have the lowest hourly rate to the firm on the desk - understand this and find ways to free up time for everyone senior to you so they can produce. Be assertive.

Ask questions - traders are always busy and I will gladly tell you if it isn't the right time. I won't go out of my way to carry you across developmental stepping stones though - I want you to prove to me that if I'm amortizing P&L on you it's +EV for the desk.

Write everything down. If I have to teach you something twice I'm going to spend less effort teaching you. If I don't and you take my prior advice I will give you everything I have towards your development, because strong support networks are the lifeblood of a strong desk.   Of course, you will encounter pricks that don't understand this - you must still support them. Many will test you solely on your ability to know your role. Even the best analysts will get buried and feel worthless.  This is part of the evolution, LEARN FROM IT.

Persevere or die. If you make it, always pay it forward. Despite how many will act, nobody can make it without good mentors. Being a prick will land you on the buy-side.

Of course, the obligatory excel advice already given is relevant. You have to be as efficient as you can possibly be to thrive on a desk in any role. You also must buy a hard copy of Fabozzi and treat it as your bible. Read every single word and write down everything you don't understand and research it or ask your mentor(s). Keep it on your desk and research any topic that comes up for your peers. You will learn most aspects of your product in the trenches, but having a grasp of Fabozzi will significantly flatten your learning curve and ability to grasp complex concepts. Be assertive.

Nothing (even P&L) is more important than networking. Use your on-boarding program to connect with everyone you can across the org at every level and especially on other trading desks. If you can get on other associates etc calendars without pissing off yours it will massively pay off 10 years down the road.  You want everyone to know who you are, but not necessarily for any reason if that makes sense.

Best of luck. Nobody on your desk wants anything other than for you to succeed, because then we all get better. My DMs are always open.

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Comments (38)

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Feb 19, 2021 - 3:54pm

Literally have never known any research analysts who came from trading in my offense (traders have a different skillset which is valuable) but most are on average 30 IQ points below your average research person. Most traders could not hack it in research.

More likely than not, you're really just sending people to research who did not have the right skillset/fit for trading just like most people who would be good traders probably couldn't hack it in research.

Feb 20, 2021 - 9:15am

That's a relative question that everyone should answer themselves. There's pockets of each sector that have positives and negatives that you should weigh based on your personality traits and life goals. My goal is not to push you towards a certain path or to pitch a trading career, it's to help when you get there.

Most Helpful
Feb 16, 2021 - 7:02pm

This guy gives valuable, thoughtful advice and people on this forum still manage to be jerks. No wonder not many people actually in the industry post here. And news flash: some people are interested in stuff like central bank policy etc and not working until midnight everyday on random Powerpoints for the sake of "prestige" and risk aversion.


  • 44
Feb 16, 2021 - 8:55pm

hey im not interested in trading but wanted to thank you regardless. ppl like yourself make this forum what it is and some of the commenters above would likely do well to remember that. though perhaps they take issue with the tone in which you tried to convey your msg.

regardless, very interesting read and i must ask, do you think it is possible for someone who is currently very slow at their work and/or feels naturally slower than the rest to improve? would that book you recommended help?

Feb 16, 2021 - 11:46pm

My man! Great read, excellent write up. Wishing you the best of luck. Hopefully some kids on here sink this in and take this advice. I would emphasis just being a nice person, networking, and staying organized. It's the simple things in my opinion but doing that day in, day out.

  • 1
Feb 17, 2021 - 2:21am

sage advice. fuck the trolls

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 1
Feb 18, 2021 - 9:38am

Thanks for the write up.

My best friend went into trading (started off in clearing trades) and for a period of time his personality changed from being pretty chill to him becoming more irritable and aggressive towards me in social settings.  I believe the way he was treated at work both internally and with counterparties really hardened him, to the point it spilled over outside work.   

That was a long time ago and things are a lot better, but I noticed this scenario play out indirectly and OP's message reminded me of those times when he was starting out.

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life
  • 2
Feb 19, 2021 - 11:06pm

Maybe you missed the part where i said I couldn't succeed without developing successful analysts. I welcome your input, we all do, but if you're going to act like you're actually in PE and you've never shit on analysts then you don't belong here. The point is to give real advice to those that need it. Not to act like an associate bitch that's never actually hired anyone or managed any real risk outside of creating a PowerPoint.

Feb 22, 2021 - 4:42pm

"if you're going to act like you're actually in PE and you've never shit on analysts then you don't belong here"

Quasi on-the-spectrum comments like describing your team's professional development as "+EV for the desk" fall well foul of my "no asshole" rule. I can honestly say after taking my fair share of shit as analyst I make a point of not doing it to the next generation.

  • Trader in S&T - FI
Feb 19, 2021 - 11:36pm

1st year Trader on a desk, every word you said is 100% true. 

Feb 20, 2021 - 10:40am

Hi guys, sorry a little off topic here but I understand that working in S&T means we'll have to face certain restrictions on our personal trading accounts e.g. no shorting of stocks etc. Does anyone know whether we're allowed to hold actively-managed ETFs (e.g. ARK ETFs)? Or are we only allowed to hold passive ETFs? Thanks in advance! 

Feb 21, 2021 - 4:07pm

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