How many of you work in Philadelphia/the Main Line? What's S&T in Philly like?

I will be interning at a boutique commodities trading firm on the Main Line! It sounds like a fantastic opportunity, but I don't know about the location. I don't know the area but do know it's not Manhattan.

It's not an established internship program so it's up to me to figure this stuff out. The main thing I'm trying to sort out is housing.

I have a lot of questions. Feel free answer what you want, obviously; I greatly appreciate your take.

  • How do you like Philadelphia/the Main Line?
  • Where do you live?
  • Where would you want to live if you were a 22-year old single & social dude without a lot of expendable income (for now)? Should I try to live downtown & commute, or, say, sublet from Villanova?
  • What's the social scene like? Is it all downtown? How are the 'Nova bars during the summer?
  • What's the best way to get downtown? The train? Uber?
  • How do I network with other S&T guys in Philly?
  • What else should I know?
  • But mainly: What's Philly S&T like? How does it compare to NYC?

Your perspective is really valuable to me. If possible, I'd also love to meet with some of you for coffee and pick your brain. Thank you.

Comments (10)

Best Response
Apr 7, 2017

Born and raised in Philly here. Let me guess, Janney Montgomery Scott... Boenning and Scattergood, etc? Well anyway, in terms of S&T, there really isn't much in Philly except for Boutique firms like you've mentioned. A lot of them are in Conshohocken (right outside Philly) for some reason. At the time, I was a prop trader and I joined a group called ITAP (Invesment Association of Philly) for the hell of it, which was completely garbage and ran by a couple of major boutique firms there.

What is your budget? Living in Philly shouldn't cost much compared to NYC obviously (I moved here)... I say for overall, Villanova is probably a good area for your age. But Mainline overall is a nice suburban area, so if you don't drive, it might a little tough to get around places... One thing I regret is not having much of a social life and just focusing on school and work.

BlackRock has a trading desk in Philly (Used to work there), Vanguard has it headquarters near King of Prussia (Used to work there)... Aside from these two, I really can't think of any other firms, hence why I left for NYC. Best way to network is to hang out with the senior guys at the firm. It seems like they have an all men's club, typically aging between 40-55 and no where else to go... I don't know how to the culture is at these firms, I'm sure they were more close knit but the bank I work at is very relaxed and I practically go drink with VPs, Directors everyday. Might be different. Make sure you're hardworking and chill. These firms don't want people who has a stick up their ass.

    • 3
Apr 7, 2017

You're forgetting SIG's headquarters is in Philly, there are hundreds of traders based here, plus there are S&T offices from larger banks like Wells & PNC for certain asset classes. I work as a trader on the buy-side so I have a more limited view of the S&T space. I now work in Center City but my first job was at a boutique multi-family office in the burbs.

Most of the young people at that firm in the burbs lived in the city and did a reverse commute. At my current firm everyone who is single lives in the city. I'm not saying the burbs are that bad, though they do seem boring, I just never once really thought about living there. Philly is night and day cheaper than NYC. You can get a sick apartment in the nicest neighborhood for like $1500 a month. Beers, restaurants, etc is cheaper.

    • 1
Apr 7, 2017

SIG is highly respected, even in a city where it's not known for trading, I agree. I was hanging out with a few guys from there and it looks like they were expanding into private equity. It's a solid firm. I've been to the PNC building, I've met with a few people there for an interview. The floor seemed rather small actually. Wells, I don't know. But they are huge on private banking and wealth management there. Not sure about a trading floor. I've never heard that before.

    • 1
Apr 10, 2017

Live in CC and reverse commute if you can (i.e. if your office is walkable from one of the mainline stops).

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Apr 10, 2017


Apr 10, 2017

JPM has an equity sales group.

Apr 10, 2017

MS has EQ sales and if you're looking on the smaller side, I believe Janney Montgomery has made an effort to beef up both EQ and FI desks in the last few years

Apr 10, 2017

Use the company database.

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Apr 10, 2017

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