I’m back. CUNY to Banking. AMA

FinancialDemigod's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,695

Been a while since I've posted here. It all started a long, long time ago. 2006, by my count. Here it is 12 years, two home and three kids later. It's been a hell of a ride. I started in ops making around $35k a year. I've added around $225k to that number since. I've done that by being genuinely interested in what I do.

I started on this board as AssociateGuerilla. Then came AVPGuerrila. Now I'm a VP, hopefully getting promoted this year.

I was a fresh CUNY grad, humanities major, planning to go to law school. The bank had a job open in ops. I applied to bide my time while I studied for the LSATs. I didn't know the difference between a stock and a bond. But I guess I got lucky. They picked me up as an ops analyst, basically reconciling two systems all day every day. Down to the dollar. I was a checker. My job was to flag the no-checks, and move on to the next check.

It was awful. But I did my job, and worked hard. It was around the time I got into Seton Hall and St John's Law that I learned about our banks commodity business.

I'd always been interested in Commodities. My folks were both metals traders. Maybe I'd make it into the Commodities business some day. Why not? To hell with law school. I can do this. I told my manager - I wanted to be a Commodity Banker. Ha! He laughed. People don't make it from ops into banking. It just doesn't happen. Not here, not anywhere.

Watch me.

I could write a book about the ensuing twelve years. Maybe one day I will. Suffice it to say, I made it out of ops and into the Commodities business. I'm now helping manage our business development group. It's hard to say exactly what I do, but I'm part banker, part investment advisor, part corporate advisor. I work exclusively with family owned businesses. I help generate revenue for the bank, be that through lending, corporate advisory or new wealth management relationships. I love my job. (Most days.)

Ask me anything.

Comments (32)

Apr 17, 2018

How is your daughter doing?

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Best Response
Apr 18, 2018

Dude. You win. My daughter is doing miraculously well. The darkest days of life have turned into sunshine. Thank you for asking.

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Apr 18, 2018
AVPGuerilla:

Dude. You win. My daughter is doing miraculously well. The darkest days of life have turned into sunshine. Thank you for asking.

Great to hear that. It puts the bulk of what's discussed on this site into perspective.

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Apr 29, 2018

What made you decide to ultimately not apply to law school?

Apr 17, 2018

Did you get a silver banana trophy?

Apr 18, 2018

welcome back and thanks for doing the AMA, PM me if you didn't get a banana trophy we'd love to get you one https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/wso-silver-...

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Apr 19, 2018

Thanks for doing this.

What do you like most about the job?
What is a typical day in your job?
What is the next step in your career?
What do you do for fun?

Apr 24, 2018

No problem.
1. I get to do something new every month or so, so I'm always learning. My role focuses on helping family owned businesses in the physical commodity/logistics sectors with either corporate advice or capital. One month I'll be underwriting a term credit deal to join a syndication that funds the construction of vessels for the Coast Guard. Next month I'm be structuring a working capital facility for a crude marketer that combines family personal wealth with corporate equity and puts leverage on it. I just won a buyside/acquisition engagement for a frac sand transloading facility that's in the market. So - always something new. It's a unique aspect of the role I have at the bank.

  1. 5:30 am wake up, make lunches, get kids ready
    7am Put Kids on bus
    7:30 train to city
    9am at desk, first thing I do I refresh my to-do lists in quadrants of: relationship origination, deal development, internal stuff, and marketing stuff
    9-noon usually catch up on shit I didn't get done from the prior day
    Noon-2pm I like to take a proper lunch at least 3x/week, otherwise I eat at my desk
    2-7pm juggle balls
    7:20pm train Home
    8:30pm get home, say goodnight to kids
    8:30-10pm try to get stuff done around the house and keep my marriage intact lol

I also run a t-Shirt design business (for amazon) on the side that clears me $2-3k a month, I spend about an hour a week doing that at night. Side hustle/passive income stuff. Check out Merch.amazon.com

  1. Make SVP and be named Head of Business Development for the group.
  2. Tbh man I need a good hobby. Life gets crazy though, less 'fun' as it goes along, but a lot more purposeful. So if you'd ask me what I do in my down time that Is fulfilling, I hang with my kids and spend as much time with them as I can! They are the reason I do this anyway. I'm not some crazy Patrick Bateman banker- I'm just a family guy who likes what I do, works hard and lucked out With the whole career thing.
Upman:

Thanks for doing this.

What do you like most about the job?
What is a typical day in your job?
What is the next step in your career?
What do you do for fun?

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Apr 24, 2018

Hi,

I'm more interested in the t-shirt business you run haha. What exactly are you doing? Just creating random designs and then putting it onto Merch by Amazon?

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Apr 25, 2018

Great job that allows you to have a great life outside of work. Sounds like the American Dream!

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Apr 19, 2018

12 years is a long time. So did you end up trading commodities during this period?

Apr 24, 2018
DeltaDecay:

12 years is a long time. So did you end up trading commodities during this period?

I've never traded physical (that's a full time job) but have definitely traded commodity linked ETFs in the personal account based on what folks in the industry are saying.

Apr 20, 2018

Just saw this... Welcome back and great to hear your daughter is doing well!

Thanks for the AMA

One question I have is what was your first big break coming out of Ops?

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Apr 24, 2018
WallStreetOasis.com:

Just saw this... Welcome back and great to hear your daughter is doing well!

Thanks for the AMA

One question I have is what was your first big break coming out of Ops?

My break out of NJ was a result of me showing a ton of interest to the NY office manager who was then responsible for training and onboarding relationship assistants for our PWM business. I'd call him once every two weeks asking if a spot was looking like it would open up. At that point I was just focused on getting out of NJ. The spot at PWM opened up and I jumped at it. Rest is history!

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Apr 25, 2018

Awesome story. Love your perseverance. How did you manage your relationship with the NY office manager? I would imagine that he/she would get tired of your biweekly calls and start to ignore you.

Apr 20, 2018

Interesting....as somebody working in the commodities sector I would love to hear a bit more detail around what you do.

Do you work in hard or soft commodities. Obviously quite a difficult point of the cycle at present...what do you see the medium to long term outlook of the sector looking like?

Apr 24, 2018
Zatopek:

Interesting....as somebody working in the commodities sector I would love to hear a bit more detail around what you do.

Do you work in hard or soft commodities. Obviously quite a difficult point of the cycle at present...what do you see the medium to long term outlook of the sector looking like?

I work in structured trade finance, generalist on sectors. Very hard to generalize on the industry but I can definitely say we have seen dealflow pickup at healthy multiples. Most of the physical marketing/gathering/blending folks I speak with (mostly metals/energy) tend to see the worst as having passed us. The energy complex is pretty strong if you ask me.

On the logistics side, the marine/Jones Act side of the business is overbuilt. Shipyards and river operators are seeing margins compress. Yards are in the worst spot. River operators less so but still, Intense competition there. Likely to see more consolidation post Higman/Kirby

Could go on.......! Gotta get to work though.

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Apr 24, 2018

Great to hear someone in structured trade finance, I have few friends working in it. Never understood what they actually do.

Apr 24, 2018

No questions. Just here to say congratulations. Stories of perseverance are always encouraging and very much needed in this forum.

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Apr 24, 2018
BDWK:

No questions. Just here to say congratulations. Stories of perseverance are always encouraging and very much needed in this forum.

You know what happened to the guy who sold himself short?

Nope. Nobody does. Because he fucking sold himself short!

Some call it arrogance, others call it perseverance. It's probably somewhere in between the two. But if you don't genuinely believe you can accomplish marvelous, life-changing things (a trait perceived as arrogance) then you probably won't try.

Go do it.

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Apr 24, 2018

Thank you. Bookmarked and SB'd

Apr 25, 2018

Let me be your right hand man. I am a stellar analyst and I too would like to venture into commodities (from M&A Investment Banking). Perhaps we can make the move in unison, similar to how Ken took some of his best lieutenants with him when he started Moelis. I interned in O&G IB and found it much more interesting than the very lucrative but very boring deals i'm working on now. I want to continue working in New York as the night life is great and I never see the light of day in this profession. When I starting greying, I'd very much like to start my own commodities firm in Texas. Then i'd like to settle down and marry a Texan woman and purchase a ranch and a couple horses. We could start this firm together both non-targets to legends. Eventually we'd be in a movie similar to the Wolf of Wall Street.. Denzel Washington to play me and Russel Crowe will play you (for the record I am not black but Denzel is a superb actor).

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

Apr 25, 2018

Congrats and thank you for coming back to update us!

Question on your current role...Are you still on the PWM side offering a specialty service to clients? Thoughts on the future of PWM and your perspective on being an asset gatherer vs a "specialist" in trade finance/derivatives/real estate, you name it.

Apr 25, 2018
kimbo:

Congrats and thank you for coming back to update us!

Question on your current role...Are you still on the PWM side offering a specialty service to clients? Thoughts on the future of PWM and your perspective on being an asset gatherer vs a "specialist" in trade finance/derivatives/real estate, you name it.

I'm in private banking business development. I don't technically work in PWM but my mandate is to provide capital and/or corporate advice to wealthy families that operate in commodity-logistics industries, with the ultimate objective of managing their family wealth. I know enough about our PWM biz to cross sell it, of course.

Long term viability-wise, well... I answer a lot if questions about betterment, and why active management/PWM beats a roboadvisor fee structure (it can't). The answer (what keeps pwm alive) is in the value-add services - free corporate advice, estate planning, direct investment flow, etc.

My clients can go to betterment, but they won't get in on the ground level of a mobile-robotic rail car tank cleaning business, now will they ;)

Wealthy ppl love direct dealflow. It's like the cracks

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Apr 25, 2018

Your job sounds fascinating, thanks for doing this, got a couple of questions. Apologize if I am totally off base here.

  1. How wealthy do you have to be to get a look on these types of investments?
  2. Is it your responsibility to market an investment like this directly to wealthy individuals or would you be marketing to someone who is on the PWM side of the business to sell to them.
  3. What part of the capital structure do you find easiest to sell right now? I see a couple of online platforms offering a lot of interesting stuff (legal settlements, marine finance, small business debt) on the debt side, which makes sense with where rates are. Finding equity opportunities in these types of asset requires a bit more work and a larger wallet.
Apr 26, 2018

Why do you start with '' I started in ops making around $35k a year. I've added around $225k to that number since. I've done that by being genuinely interested in what I do.''?

Apr 29, 2018
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May 5, 2018