Sales and Trading Analyst AMA

Hey Everyone,

I've been a longtime reader of the forum and just want to thank everyone for all the helpful information I've found throughout the years from undergrad to my first internship and onto to being a sales and trading analyst. I feel like there's quite a few day in the life threads for banking and I wanted to create something similar for sales and trading at the analyst level. Let's hear it.

All the Best,
Winston Wolfe

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Comments (50)

May 5, 2016

what do you feel its the best asset to go into for trading right now and in the near future?

May 6, 2016

I know this comes off as a bit of a non answer, but I think attempting to time a sector to begin your career in is akin to trying to time the top or bottom in a trade. The hottest market today might be slow in a few years, and the slowest market could pick up just the same. Ultimately I think the biggest thing to consider is how drastically different desks can vary in market size, liquidity, volatility, etc. In choosing a sales and trading path the "fit" on the desk become more important than the current attractiveness of the market. For instance, sales v. trading, flow v. structured products, etc.

May 6, 2016

While i second his answer that "fit" is more important, in general, choose products that have the smallest opportunity to get absolutely wrecked by increasing regulations (e.g structured credit)

May 6, 2016

@tradingonwheels feel free to chime in with any of the questions here

May 6, 2016

wtf is a "sales & trading analyst"? Are you in sales/trading/sales-trading?
What kind of desk are you on? How's the current flow in FICC?

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May 6, 2016

While at any one time you're either a sales or a trading analyst I appreciate the extremely productive contribution to the conversation. I'm currently on a trading desk, but was on a structured products sales desk before that. The flow is not the best it's ever been as you can imagine, but better than the media often portrays it. While there's no denying the fact that banks aren't expanding like they used to in S&T, the business will always be around and is doing well for the time being.

May 6, 2016

What advice do you have for summer analysts to get the most out of their internship and be useful to you and more senior guys? Around what % of S&T interns do you normally see get full time offers?

May 6, 2016

I would advise to make the most of having the title of an intern. As an intern you'll have plenty of time to sit with traders, ask people to go for coffee, and meet as many people as possible. Once you're a FT analyst you won't have the free time you did as an intern. Additionally it's important to get into a project that you can really prove yourself with. As an intern in S&T your job will vary quite a bit from being a FT analyst, unlike in banking, so it becomes more difficult to determine who would be the best analysts.

May 6, 2016

Please learn Excel/VBA before you start the internship so you can be useful to me.

May 6, 2016

Do you see yourself going to the buyside anytime soon

May 6, 2016

I've definitely thought about it at times, but probably not right away. As opposed to banking, more analysts tend to stick around in S&T. Also the ultimate goal in S&T is to have revenue to your name whether that be building a client list in sales or attributing PnL to your name in trading. Leaving before becomes a senior associate becomes difficult as you'd still have to prove yourself at the next shop, whereas recruiting as an experienced trader/sales person becomes a different arena than as an analyst/junior associate.

May 7, 2016

What is something you wish you knew before you started FT or for your internship. How has your perspective changed over time with your work, your bank, your role(s)....and if you or your perspective hasn't changed since college - what are some ways you approach your work and office relationships that has helped you be successful?

May 6, 2016

Appreciate the thoughtful question. Before I started I wish I had taken some of the advice given to me. While traders might say things like learn vba/learn how to program, etc, it can not be stressed enough how useful these skills are when you actually hit the desk. If you actually know what you're doing with vba, python, matlab, and/or excel add-ins the sky is the limit. I would say my perspective has changed from being an intern to being an analyst as you aren't aware of office politics as an intern. Hitting the desk you gain a better understand for where people stand and the thoughts behind moving different analysts to different desks. It's always good to take a step back and think if I was head of this group how would I move people around and position yourself accordingly.

May 7, 2016

What are your thoughts on investment grade credit trading?

Always wanted to do trading, but never really considered IG credit. Seems like it would be the least interesting, or at least a different skill set than I would have originally hoped for. This was the only spot I was offered though, and am excited for the role.

Thanks

May 6, 2016

Thanks for the question, I'm not too involved with the desk, so I'll let someone else take a stab at this one. As for the spot, I would say take whatever you can get at the end of the day. It's always smart to be positioning for the best spot possible, but all things considered being an analyst in the FO at a bank is still a good place to be.

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May 8, 2016

do you have your own trading book? what product do you trade? (rates, swaps, options, FX, MBS, Agencies, ect...)

Have they actually let you take risk yet, or are you still just the excel project guy?

May 6, 2016

I don't have my own book, but have been given some room to put on small trade and execute some positions. It really depends on the desk when/ if you'll get to trade. For the most part, I'm still the project guy. I would say the transition goes from supporting the desk --> research analyst/project guy --> trader

May 19, 2016

what product(s) does the desk you support focus on?

May 6, 2016

how much did you clear last year?

May 6, 2016

Stub bonus and pay was the same for all 1st years, S&T and IB

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Best Response
May 8, 2016

What desks use the most steroids?

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May 9, 2016

What is your opinion about legit prop firms like Optiver, Flow Traders, Jane Street...?

May 6, 2016

They're good firms but be aware that the cull is fairly agressive. If you have an easily transferable skillset (eg if you are easily able to switch to tech in case you don't make it) then it's certainly an interesting experience. Easier to make money "fast" there if you are in fact very good.

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May 9, 2016

Would you say most people like black coffee or is there some milk and sugar mixed in there?

What's the most common lunch order?

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May 6, 2016

Most coffee with milk haha, and lunch orders will change, but wings and burgers are always a crowd pleaser

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May 9, 2016

where are you based?

May 6, 2016

Major U.S. city is as far I'd go

May 9, 2016

This may be a stupid question, but what's the difference between what a BB S&T division does and a prop shop like Jane Street? What do you guys do that they don't? I know a lot about how various advisory functions and firms differ, but don't know anything about how it works in the S&T world.

May 6, 2016

A prop shop will by definition engage in proprietary trading, trading the firm's own money and trade accordingly. These firms will differ in the markets they trade in, but are increasingly becoming intertwined with HFT. BB used to prop trade, but having been pulling back more and more in this increased regulatory world and will make money based on making markets. So if you're a institutional client asking to trade a large block of stock you would call up a BB Equity trader and he would execute the trade on your behalf. There's subtleties to the spectrum from pure prop trading to pure execution trading, but that's the general idea.

May 9, 2016

So I did 2 years in M&A boutique, then went to a mutual fund in EM Equities. I can code in Python, VBA or whatever is needed, I'm almost MSc in Math Econ (think econometric's). The downside, I live in Eastern EU (think Balkans). Is it possible given such a background to move somewhere like London or NYC to the same position, or I'm not prestigious enough?

You killed the Greece spread goes up, spread goes down, from Wall Street they all play like a freak, Goldman Sachs 'o beat.

May 6, 2016

I think you could do it, but it depends on the firm. A polished fund, whether it be a mutual fund or hedge fund, will mostly hire candidates from the best school because they can and want to have the best image possible. On the other hand, prop shops are more willing to give someone a chance who can prove their trading prowess. I've found that in trading, there's much less of a typical route and you can always be hustling to find something.

May 9, 2016

so are you a trader or sales guy? do you have an account package? are you basically just everybody's bitch for now??

what does S&T analyst mean? your either doing institutional sales or trading right? is this fixed income?

May 6, 2016

I'm on a trading desk, and if this question is similar to an earlier one about having a book, no I do not as of yet. And you're correct in that you're dealing with institutional and corporate clients and trading on their behalf. It is fixed income, but in a small group, so I don't want to get overly specific yet.

May 9, 2016

How sales differ from trading? Is it all about relations and clients or do they conduct any heavy quantitative computations? And would you also recommend getting better at vba for a summer analyst position in sales?

May 9, 2016

Can you give some color on what to be aware of as an intern specific to office politics? This could include but not be limited to mentorship programs, whose advice to take, what to avoid/hone in on...

Much appreciated!

May 6, 2016

I think the most important thing to be aware of as an intern is to figure out who the decision makers are. At the end of the summer the desks heads and some others will talk about their thoughts on the different interns. You'll want to have made enough of an impression on at least one of these decision makers to earn an analyst gig. Another thing I would advise is to sit down with as many traders and sales personnel and see what they look at day-to-day.

May 10, 2016

Do the skillsets vary between a sales desk and a trading desk? I've read some comments in this thread saying that python and VBA are very useful on trading desks, but are those same skills needed on a sales desk? What does the sales side look like nowadays on a day to day basis?

Thanks for all the info in this thread, very helpful!

May 6, 2016

At the junior level, the roles are actually quite similar. Excel skills are absolutely necessary.

May 6, 2016

I would say it depends on the desk, generally they are quite similar, but can also differ quite a bit. On a desk with quite a few traders the day can become quite busy booking trades, analyzing positions, PnL, etc; whereas certain sales desk might be more presentation focused.

May 10, 2016

What is the reason institutions have BBs trading for them? If PIMCO or Bridgewater needs a trade executed, why wouldn't they just do it themselves for a faster fill and to prevent leaking information, given that they probably have the resources to do so? Also, what is the role of traders at buy-side firms then?

May 6, 2016

Good question. Remember that bulge brackets aren't just brokers, they are broker-dealers.. The bulge bracket will provide prices much tighter than the customer can source on the screens/floor, if those even exist (note that most products trade OTC)

May 10, 2016

Bro they totally should. You're well-researched questions mean the end of all BB trading operations!

But like seriously - come on, there is a difference between being a licensed member of an exchange, and a market maker in the OTC market. But I'll give you a hint, it's called liquidity.

PIMCO wants to sell/buy some bonds - where they gonna get that from? If there's no BB's making markets, they'll buy/sell from Bridgewater. What if Bridgewater doesn't want to sell? What if they dont' want to sell in the same size/time etc? Ta da here's your BB traders.

May 10, 2016

How do you see programming knowledge come of use on trading desks? Specifically C/C++ or Python, not VBA.

May 5, 2016

You mentioned that you are now the project guy, could you please give us some examples of different projects you've worked on? or any of your experiences working with programming projects thanks!

May 6, 2016

Projects involve analyzing flow by client and client type, potential new clients, working with the desk analyst for internal supply/demand balances, sentiment data. Other programming related projects can involve aggregating data from various sources and a lot of fixing models for pricing.

May 14, 2016

Do you see the implementation of various forms of FinTech as a large threat to the S&T space? If so, is becoming more essential to be a quant? Or vise Versa?

May 15, 2016

i agree with Winston Wolfe. there are nice discussion. it will be helpful to everyone. thanks for sharing it.

May 17, 2016
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May 17, 2016
May 17, 2016