Sales & Trading Lifestyle and Salary

G Spread's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 296

I'm wondering.. how many hours do you work per week on average in S&T (as opposed to ibanking)? Also, is the WSO salaries database accurate? And what about the lifestyle; to what extent is it more (or less) exciting than preparing pitch books all day? I'm trying to choose between both.. I'm currently considering working 2 years in ibanking/consulting and then switching to the buy side. I'd really appreciate any thoughts or comments at all.

Why Should I Do Sales And Trading?

For those comparing sales and trading to investment banking, there are a number of critical differences that we discuss below. These differences include work type, hours, and compensation.

S&T Compensation Progression

On Wall Street compensation is one of the top concerns and S&T employees are paid well. You can review the figures below.

  • Analyst $ 80K - $ 150K
  • Associate $ 180K - $ 250K
  • Vice Presidents $ 300K - $ 500K
  • Managing Directors/Partners $1MM+

Sales and Trading Salary vs. Investment Banking

When comparing IB vs. S&T salaries when starting, analysts will start at a very similar level but investment bankers quickly begin to make more. At the senior level (VP, MD) - the range of salaries is wider in banking. The bottom end of the range is similar between the two divisions but the IB salaries still skew higher.

Investment Banking Salaries

  • Analyst - First Year: $70k - $150k
  • Analyst - Third Year: $120K - $350K
  • Associate - First Year: $150K - $350K
  • Associate - Third Year: $250K - $500K
  • Vice President: $350K - $1.5MM
  • Managing Director/Partner: $500K - $20MM+

Sales and Trading Hours

While the workday of an S&T employee will depend a great deal on the desk that you work on - a good rule of thumb to operate by is 6 am - 6 pm from Monday to Friday. There will rarely be weekend work. If you are client facing (sales), you will likely spend some evenings out entertaining clients. Overall, this would equate to 60+ hours a week.

S&T Work Week vs. Investment Banking

While the compensation for S&T can be lower than it is for investment banking, S&T employees will consistently work fewer hours. Investment Bankers across the experience spectrum will work between 75 - 85 hours a week with the occasional 100 hour work week. You can read more about IB hours in this thread on WSO. This can be one of the key things that attract junior employees to S&T vs. IB.

Sales and Trading Skill Set

One of the defining characteristics of S&T is that each job is different. Despite this being true, there are a few skills that will be developed by people in any role.

From a sales perspective - you will develop strong sales skills as well as interpersonal skills. In particular you will learn how to connect with clients, learn their needs, and then pitch them applicable ideas. You may get experience doing idea generation or you may simply be passing along bank research. You will also learn how to follow a specific product or group of products in the market. Sales people will also learn how to manage the expectations of their clients.

From a trading perspective - traders will learn how to make quick decisions, talk to clients about their product, and will learn a large amount about the product that they specialize in. They will also learn how to manage risk in their books.

You can learn about what salespeople and traders do in the video below.

S&T Exit Opportunities

While there are many people that choose to stay in sales and trading from analyst to senior level employees, there are those that choose to jump to the buyside. The most typical exit opp will be to a hedge fund that you have connections with from your work on your desk. As a sales persona and too a lesser extent as a trader you will be working with buyside clients on a daily basis and if you go above and beyond in idea generation or connect with them well on a personal level that can score you an interview.
Certain desks will have more pull into the hedge fund community as they will be considered as having a more quantitative skill set. For example, a structured credit trading would have more quantitative experience than an equity sales trader and therefore, the structured credit trader may have a clearer path to buyside recruitment.

Read More About S&T on WSO

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Comments (30)

Feb 15, 2012

Personally, I prefer S&T. For me, the markets are more exciting on a daily basis. Each day is different. In IB, you could work months on a merger, only for it not to even close. Not fun. Plus, the prestige of banking is why many people are attracted to it. In other words, they think it's sexy. But, how sexy is it when you're stuck at work at 2 AM working on some pitchbook or model? I mean, the S&T men get to leave like the rest of corp. America to go home. 4:30, 5ish on average.

Also, market news is constantly coming out and overall S&T is more action. I can't comment on compensation but those in sales can make more than lots of other people in the bank. In sales, after work, a cpl times a week, you meet with institutional clients for dinner, baseball games, etc. Trading is a similar lifestyle of coming in early and leaving relatively early while the bankers are still working hard into the night. Trading is really about the P&L. Personally, I prefer sales because I like the markets but don't want the pressure of managing a P&L.

Institutional Sales is considered a really good area to work in. Great pay, great work/life balance, center of the market. Also, in Ibanking, you'd likely lose your gf since you'll repeatedly break dates to stay in the office, travel etc. Not exactly conducive to a personal life. S&T averages coming in about an hour to hour and a half before the market opens and leaving on average between 4 and 5.

Choose an area that you like. What product interests you if you were in S&T? Are you more of a macro focused person? If so, FX, govt bonds (US or foreign), etc. may interest you. If you like individual companies, try equities, eq. derivatives, corp. bonds etc.

S&T rocks and is my first choice.

    • 4
Feb 15, 2012
TraderDaily:

Personally, I prefer S&T. For me, the markets are more exciting on a daily basis. Each day is different. In IB, you could work months on a merger, only for it not to even close. Not fun. Plus, the prestige of banking is why many people are attracted to it. In other words, they think it's sexy. But, how sexy is it when you're stuck at work at 2 AM working on some pitchbook or model? I mean, the S&T men get to leave like the rest of corp. America to go home. 4:30, 5ish on average.

Also, market news is constantly coming out and overall S&T is more action. I can't comment on compensation but those in sales can make more than lots of other people in the bank. In sales, after work, a cpl times a week, you meet with institutional clients for dinner, baseball games, etc. Trading is a similar lifestyle of coming in early and leaving relatively early while the bankers are still working hard into the night. Trading is really about the P&L. Personally, I prefer sales because I like the markets but don't want the pressure of managing a P&L.

Institutional Sales is considered a really good area to work in. Great pay, great work/life balance, center of the market. Also, in Ibanking, you'd likely lose your gf since you'll repeatedly break dates to stay in the office, travel etc. Not exactly conducive to a personal life. S&T averages coming in about an hour to hour and a half before the market opens and leaving on average between 4 and 5.

Choose an area that you like. What product interests you if you were in S&T? Are you more of a macro focused person? If so, FX, govt bonds (US or foreign), etc. may interest you. If you like individual companies, try equities, eq. derivatives, corp. bonds etc.

S&T rocks and is my first choice.

dude aren't you still at school?

Moving tonnes of product. Making fat stacks.

Feb 15, 2012
rynofrowan:
TraderDaily:

Personally, I prefer S&T. For me, the markets are more exciting on a daily basis. Each day is different. In IB, you could work months on a merger, only for it not to even close. Not fun. Plus, the prestige of banking is why many people are attracted to it. In other words, they think it's sexy. But, how sexy is it when you're stuck at work at 2 AM working on some pitchbook or model? I mean, the S&T men get to leave like the rest of corp. America to go home. 4:30, 5ish on average.

Also, market news is constantly coming out and overall S&T is more action. I can't comment on compensation but those in sales can make more than lots of other people in the bank. In sales, after work, a cpl times a week, you meet with institutional clients for dinner, baseball games, etc. Trading is a similar lifestyle of coming in early and leaving relatively early while the bankers are still working hard into the night. Trading is really about the P&L. Personally, I prefer sales because I like the markets but don't want the pressure of managing a P&L.

Institutional Sales is considered a really good area to work in. Great pay, great work/life balance, center of the market. Also, in Ibanking, you'd likely lose your gf since you'll repeatedly break dates to stay in the office, travel etc. Not exactly conducive to a personal life. S&T averages coming in about an hour to hour and a half before the market opens and leaving on average between 4 and 5.

Choose an area that you like. What product interests you if you were in S&T? Are you more of a macro focused person? If so, FX, govt bonds (US or foreign), etc. may interest you. If you like individual companies, try equities, eq. derivatives, corp. bonds etc.

S&T rocks and is my first choice.

dude aren't you still at school?

No "dude." Grown folk like myself are done with school. I finished two degrees. I'm not a 22 year old college senior. I'm a graduate lol.

Feb 15, 2012

All the traders and sales guys/gals that I work with all come in an hour or two before market opens and leave around 5-6 like Trader Daily mentioned. My roommate, however, works in the IB division at my firm, and although he doesen't go into the office until about 10, he is never home before midnight and often around 3-4am. On weekends he is also in the office from around noon until about 8pm (this is every dam weekend, its a bit redicuous.

I actually wanted to do IB before I lived with this guy, but I do not think I will ever give banking a look after I graduate from B-school. No amount of money is worth that lifestyle in my opinion.

Feb 15, 2012

Thanks guys, that was quite insightful. I'm especially glad to know I'd actually leave the office around 6-7. And yeah, following the markets is definitely more interesting than starting at Excel/ppt all day. I'm math-oriented so I guess I was torn between valuation modeling and whatever math you use in S&T, as well as its fast-paced nature.
Guess I just need to land my first internship now... Any advice for that? All my technical/soft skills and GPA are solid, but my work experience is lacking.

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Best Response
Feb 16, 2012
Pancakes:

Thanks guys, that was quite insightful. I'm especially glad to know I'd actually leave the office around 6-7. And yeah, following the markets is definitely more interesting than starting at Excel/ppt all day. I'm math-oriented so I guess I was torn between valuation modeling and whatever math you use in S&T, as well as its fast-paced nature.
Guess I just need to land my first internship now... Any advice for that? All my technical/soft skills and GPA are solid, but my work experience is lacking.

I'd suggest having your resume done by a professional. If you have to pay for it, it will be worth it. They have a guide on there for acing the interview in S&T. Also, read the WSJ everyday. Read the entire Money and Investing Section, front page of the first section and the first page of the Marketplace section. Also, check out investmentbankinginterviewprep.blogspot.com for more tips on interviewing etc. Finally, check out this website where gekko21 made an old post about S&T interviewing. Search gekko21 and S&T. You'll know you found the right post because he lists a bunch of books on financial topics, interview skills and how to attack the WSJ daily to be prepared for your interview.

Hope this helps!

    • 6
Mar 28, 2019

Hi TraderDaily, dont know where you digit from but I would like to aks if you actually are in the T&S Industry and if yes where are you working. Thank you for your interesting insights btw.

"Take the best and leave the rest"
Feb 16, 2012

TraderDaily, SB for you, man.

Feb 16, 2012

depends on your rank. If you are senior enough, then market hours + 1 hours before and after each.
if you are junior a lot more than that

Feb 16, 2012

Completely depends on the product you're trading. Physical oil and oil options will have VERY different hours, for example....

Feb 16, 2012

have a question around the same desk (commodities S&T) i'm hoping for a potential opportunity on the oil desk (non-linear products) and most likely will start as an analyst mainly crunching numbers and massive excel sheet work. I have gained an intermediate level knowledge (v/h lookups, conditional/if statements, goal seek, etc..main functions and formulas from the excel interface) but definitely not advanced level (haven't learned vba) and i wanted to prepare myself in advance so was wondering if there is any advice you guys have on best spots to learn this? or a source that you would recommend as most useful? Also what do you think a first year analyst on an oil desk mandate would entail other than just excel crunching?

Feb 16, 2012

What excel crunching do you do on the floor?

Feb 16, 2012

bernankey - often times data scraping for S&T.

http://www.Amazon.ca/Excel-2010-Bible-John-Walkenbach/dp/0470474874 for recruder.

the hunger for more

Feb 16, 2012

can you give us a little run down on what exactly data scraping is, an example of its use and what kind of programming we would need to be familiar with to data scrape?

Feb 16, 2012

Do you mean just bs analyst work to keep you busy?

I dont know if you meant something specific for commodities...on the equities side you'd be lucky to find a handful of guys who actually know how to use excel

Feb 16, 2012

Commodities -- you'll do a lot of time-sensitive excel crunching for the structured deals. Some of the traders use their own pricing sheets for the more complex stuff, so you'll also have to do some reformatting to get data in whatever format they want.

if you're working on a somewhat-quanty desk (i.e. any derivative products), VBA is definitely helpful. If I only had time to learn one thing before starting, though, it would definitely be Stata.

Feb 16, 2012

"hungryhippo" Thanks!

Surprisingly I just got the 03 version by John Walkenbach on my desk a few days ago at work, we still use 03 xls as previous sheets are only compatible with this format...browsing through the book i guess i'll skip to the VBA section in the latter half of the book.

Feb 16, 2012

TraderDaily gave a nice little overview. You also have to remember, it is all based off the products you trade/sell and your desk. It is true that these guys are out earlier then bankers some desk will work late 8-9pm to really dive into their products.

S&T to me is far more interesting and the way to go. Seeing my banker friends work on weekends or sit on a conference call during a holiday is brutal, and glad I don't have to do it. Not to say that if you are a trade once you leave the office you don't have to worry about anything. You can watch positions you hold tank overnight or bad news come out from asia or europe etc before you even get the office.

In the end it comes down to what you are interested in, your type of personality and ultimate career goals

Feb 16, 2012

It is usually a lot harder to get into these smaller firms. They are more of an eat what you kill environment and is usually a place where more established guys go. If you have have a solid client list and consistant numbers you can make much more at these firms. There usually isn't any type of training program and if you don't produce you are gone.

Feb 16, 2012

Depends on how good you are, type of trading, firm, etc.

Feb 16, 2012

i'm also interested, how much does a 1st year trader make? coming straight out of college

Feb 16, 2012

i'm also interested, how much does a 1st year trader make? coming straight out of college

Feb 16, 2012

widely depends on the firm/group. There are firms I know of that put you as a clerk/trader assistant first and they only pay 30-50k a year. There's other more big-name groups I know of that pay 60-100. In the case that you're trying to see if coming out of college you're gonna make high six figures as a young trader - probably not gonna happen.

At the bottom of the page is a bunch of threads I'm looking at now while typing this..."Trading assistant salary" "Trading Salaries", blah blah. Also check out glassdoor and what people are reporting

Feb 16, 2012

Just to clarify, I'm talking about the progression within an investment bank. I know there are plenty of factors to consider but I was wondering if anyone could provide the general gist of what an associate, VP, Director etc. makes.

Thanks!

Feb 16, 2012
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Feb 16, 2012