Longevity of Equity Derivatives Trading

Hi,

Just finished my internship at a BB and was offered a spot on their equity derivs trading team. Although I'm really excited for the opportunity, I've struggled with getting a better picture of what the future looks like for a derivs trader. I tried asking people during the internship but didn't want to be so blunt as to put them in a position where they had to tell me if there is still a career to be made.

To give some background, I'm non-target and don't program (at all). I just hustled my way through the internship and they liked me enough to give me an offer.

So, is there a future in equity derivs trading for someone like myself? I've been thinking of leveraging the offer to get into IB or something with better prospects/exit opps.

Thanks

Comments (4)

Aug 12, 2019

Also in a similar position but doing Sales. I've heard the more illiquid/specialized the product, the less of a chance it has of becoming automated. EQD sounds like a pretty solid desk compared to other "more flowy" desks. Take this with a grain of salt though because I also just wrapped up my internship. Interested in hearing more insight towards this

Aug 14, 2019

Don't even think twice. Take the offer and don't look back. Commit 100% that you are going to do your best and give it a fair shake.

I work for a derivatives desk and honestly the truth is none of us can predict the future. We can all sit around and guess what tomorrow will be like and likely be wrong about it or we can take what is in front of is now in the moment and move forward. In terms of automation, derivatives desks are quite complex and thus it's a lot harder to automate everything but look automation is a good thing. The less boring manual work I have to do the more time I can spend doing things that are more important. Sure headcount will be reduced but if you work hard and evolve with the technology you should be fine. Not sure if this answers you question about longevity but if you want to talk about burn out that's a differnt topic

Most Helpful
Aug 14, 2019
benso8:

Don't even think twice. Take the offer and don't look back. Commit 100% that you are going to do your best and give it a fair shake.

I work for a derivatives desk and honestly the truth is none of us can predict the future. We can all sit around and guess what tomorrow will be like and likely be wrong about it or we can take what is in front of is now in the moment and move forward. In terms of automation, derivatives desks are quite complex and thus it's a lot harder to automate everything but look automation is a good thing. The less boring manual work I have to do the more time I can spend doing things that are more important. Sure headcount will be reduced but if you work hard and evolve with the technology you should be fine. Not sure if this answers you question about longevity but if you want to talk about burn out that's a differnt topic

This.

In the end, financial services is a very cyclical business so in any downturn few people are really safe. As I have said before, look at the seniors around you and feel free to ask them how things have been changing in recent years and if they are older, about pre-crisis times. They will tell a fair few stories, and I am sure mention more than a few bodies that have come and gone, many of which are no longer in the business. The older guys on the desk might be good, but remember that they are survivors above all else.

As for transferring within the firm, it depends on your bank, bosses, culture, the market and obviously you (these are broad answers, I know). Given the cost pressures, particularly trading and the juniorization of many desks (especially with less/no prop), banks will always be happy to cut. The last few years have been savage for all kinds of trading desks, EQD included.

But you can't fear the future. One can try to prepare, or be flexible. Until then, work hard, be liked, network, learn, see, hear, listen, do and keep getting better. Strive to be a better person at work and even more so outside of work. Hopefully you enjoy the ride.

Good Luck

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Aug 15, 2019
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