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Comments (5)

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Mar 3, 2017 - 6:41pm

Are you comparing grad schemes at Trafi/Glenc to grad schemes (analyst entry) at MS/JPM?

The reason those backgrounds aren't as common is because physical commodities isn't full of prestige whores is because it's a very misunderstood/opaque industry.

If you want prestige, MS/JPM are better known names around the world (so many people don't know who Trafi are). I would however argue that physical guys know a hell of a lot more about their markets then their banking counter parties, although only speaking from mine and a few others experiences, you can't compare the knowledge a physical trader who is backed by a huge asset footprint to that of a guy at a BB - it's just not the same, but then neither is the job at hand.

Both will be intellectually challenging, but in completely different ways:
Physical commodities is real world problem solving & supply chain management, get X from A/B/C/D over to E, process it into F/G/H/I, market it to H/J/K/L. I enjoy the whole process of shipping something all the way around the cape of good hope from Australia to supply my assets in NW Europe, liaising with sales people, origination teams, logistics teams, customers themselves etc. Exotics trading on the other hand will be incredibly technical, you'll need a sharp mathematical/statistical brain to really grasp it and do well at it (not necessary in physical commodities, which is relationship driven -- you still need to be able to do maths though).

In terms of admin work:
Plenty of that in physical commodities, plenty of that in most junior roles, no one likes it but it's just something you have to do. The one thing prevalent in physical commodities is that you will spend a number of years learning risk/contracts/logistics etc - all admin heavy roles - before you even get to trade. The path to trading in physical is long and absolutely not guaranteed, you need to graft and your admin work needs to be sharp throughout. Cant speak for the derivatives side of things on this.

In terms of future prospects, I'd back physical all day long - less regulated, less shrinkage, less automation. On the flip side MS/JPM are leaders at what they do. Pay will also likely be better initially at JPM/MS - although I'd wager long term prospects for pay would be better at Glencore/Trafi, if you're good.

I personally am physical all day long, but aspects of your post make me think you'd be more in your element in an exotic derivatives environment, not a bad place to be at all.

  • 8
Mar 5, 2017 - 9:11pm

What GMG said.

Also, 2 years is definitely on the low end if you want to be trading at Glencore/Trafi. Oil guys tend to have supermajor backgrounds and metals guys have put in a number of years. There are definitely some HYP backgrounds in the mix but no one cares about prestige (save perhaps that banks' involvement in commodities is often looked upon as an annoyance).

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