FICC sales trading desk

Basically, I am trying to understand what are the key requirements to join a FICC Sales/Trading desk at a large IB.

How hard is it?
In particular, how hard would it be to get the job if you are NOT a young grad, already with some year or experience?

Would a BSc in business, a MSc in Finance, some CFA, deep Fixed Income product knowledge and passion for macroeconomic suffice, and match, to get the job?

Also, how rewarding is it in terms of career path?

Do you learn some useful technical stuff or you're just a "trading monkey"?

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Comments (21)

Most Helpful
Aug 13, 2018 - 1:29am

I'm pretty sure that two alumni I talked to were working in the ficc s&t desk at goldman out of college (I'm like 90% sure, can't recall correctly). Both had studied finance and a quant subject, so BSc should get you the job?

From my conversation with them, they definitely learned a lot of technical stuff on the job and were involved a lot too, so you probably won't just be a "trading monkey"

sorry if it doesn't help much, just wanted to put out as much as I knew

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Aug 16, 2018 - 4:45pm

Around 30, with specialised product knowledge gained through middle office roles in Institutional AM with significant exposure to investments (actually being part of Investment Teams) plus some specialised fund / manager research experience in WM

Aug 18, 2018 - 10:31pm

In general, BB trading seats are either

a) given to fresh grads who know nothing, but the desk thinks are very smart and thus teachable...
b) or they go lateral and poach traders from other banks / hedge funds with many years of experience of making large amounts of $$....they pay up for these people (guarantee of millions upfront) in exchange for the hope that they will be able to recreate their prior success. I've seen this happen many times. More often than not, the poached traders are not able to repeat their prior success...and then they bounce to the next shop willing to give them a shot. Once you make a large amount of money for a seat, that reputation will follow you for a very long time. I recall a trader from goldman who made ~1 billon dollars trading US treasuries...got poached to morgan stanley...took a few big swings and blew up losing hundreds of millions (i think he lost 50mm on a single TIPS auction trade)...and then was fired. He's still happily sitting on his personal fortune last i heard. That was an extreme example...but smaller versions are very common. There is very little inbetween. Probably something to do with human nature and how we predict the success/failure of others in the absence of perfect information.

just google it...you're welcome
Aug 20, 2018 - 4:13am
want2trade:

In general, BB trading seats are either

a) given to fresh grads who know nothing, but the desk thinks are very smart and thus teachable...
b) or they go lateral and poach traders from other banks / hedge funds with many years of experience of making large amounts of $$....they pay up for these people (guarantee of millions upfront) in exchange for the hope that they will be able to recreate their prior success. I've seen this happen many times. More often than not, the poached traders are not able to repeat their prior success...and then they bounce to the next shop willing to give them a shot. Once you make a large amount of money for a seat, that reputation will follow you for a very long time. I recall a trader from goldman who made ~1 billon dollars trading US treasuries...got poached to morgan stanley...took a few big swings and blew up losing hundreds of millions (i think he lost 50mm on a single TIPS auction trade)...and then was fired. He's still happily sitting on his personal fortune last i heard. That was an extreme example...but smaller versions are very common. There is very little inbetween. Probably something to do with human nature and how we predict the success/failure of others in the absence of perfect information.

Regarding point b).
I guess you are describing a 'prop' trader and not a simple sales trader?

Aug 20, 2018 - 8:39am

i was referring to market makers at a bank...what we call "traders"

the term "sales trader" is not a real thing. Either you take risk positions and you have a P&L, and are thus called a "trader" or you talk to clients and try to get them to trade with your firms traders (and you do not have a P&L), and you are therefore in "sales".

just google it...you're welcome
Sep 3, 2018 - 4:06am
Butterbean:

Getting on the s&t desk is hard. I'm pretty young, 5yrs exp, have three references at a large BB and the competition is still stiff.

So many applicants, so little roles. It's really tough out there.

With which kind of past exp are you trying to approach the job?

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