Hey WSOers, I am still trying to rank my desks for my SA. I have exhausted the search function. I am looking for more info on "Structured Equity Derivatives Desk" and "Convertibles Desk". Both are in the Equities area and I am seeking trading positions for my SA. Just want to know if anyone has any insight into what SAs what actually be doing on the desks, and the future outlook for the product.

So Far my ranking is

1.Derivatives Trading(Single Stock Options)
2.Convertibles Trading
3. Cash Equities Trading
4. Derivatives Sales (Single Stock Options)
5. Equity Sales(Research Sales) or Structured Derivatives

I want to be a trader, Just threw in a few sales positions to mix it up. They'll assign me the top 3 that are available obviously. My top priority is to be hired at the BB im an interning at and go buy side in a few years.

Comments (5)


In order to help you, I need to know a bit about what you "want" to trade.

First, do you care what product you trade? i.e. does it matter if its really interesting, pretty vanilla, etc.
Second, do you care if one particular trading role is more "dispensable" (relatively speaking).

Financial Modeling


I'd like to trade Equity derivatives or Equities. I would like to trade an interesting product, but nothing that requires me to be a mathematician. I do care about being dispensable, I would like some measure of job security. Also something that places me on the path to owning a hedge fund would be nice hehe.


Good to hear.

In all honesty, there's nothing indispensable about being a cash equity trader. I would let that slide further down your ranking. Furthermore, cash equity market making isn't an overly "interesting" product. So based on your preference, that's 0 for 2.
As I've said before (at least on my desk), it is far easier to replace our spot FX market makers than it is to replace our Exotic Structurers. Having said that, I'd move structured derivatives further up your list. Not to mention, they are pretty damn interesting.

An SA, in structured derivatives has much more opportunity to prove how valuable they are than an intern who's helping out with cash equities. In the derivatives role, you can come up with fantastic ideas, learn/get help pricing them and confidently explain why such a structure would be a great sell to your clients. That will differentiate you from the other SA's. I've seen tons of SA's come through Cash positions and their challenge always revolves around being able to prove that they can handle it. The reason is, in that role, you basically have two jobs, don't mess up my book during the day and make sure it's closed properly at night. (that's assuming the person overseeing you allows you to close the book daily).

Above I said, you can come up with ideas in derivatives, price em' and pitch em'. As a cash trader, it's really not your job to pitch anything, that's the cash equity sales role (dont step on their toes by pitching ideas to clients directly lol , i've seen this go very wrong). I'm sure you get the idea though.


Know what your bank is good at. Usually the strongest desks are the more interesting positions and the most difficult seats to get, I'd rank their best desk at least in the top 5, if not top 3.

I to know where you're going to be at, but don't know what their top desk is these days, I know they've lost a lot of their talent to other banks and are turning over their older Traders.

I.e. you have a good opportunity to get hired if you can make a name for yourself this summer.

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