Stay on commods desk at BB or move to glencore/trafigura?

I've been on my desk (metals) for two years. I like it here, i still feel like i'm learning, and i do think i could have a successful career here into the future. I don't want to name names but it is considered in the top tier in commodities. However, i have an opportunity to move to a top trading house in the physical space. What would you do? I think the pros and cons are pretty clear for either but i'd like any opinions on the topic. Thank you.

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (35)

May 5, 2018 - 3:11pm

I'd switch to glencore/traf.

Commodity trading is their business. To the banks it's not a core function and funding/risks can disappear if the bankers lose faith.

The only reason to stay at the bank is to switch jobs out of industry later but you've already got the name on the cv.

May 5, 2018 - 4:21pm

Whilst I have a strong physical inclination, I think that if you are happy where you are AND your still feel like you are learning AND you are in a top-tier player then I think its worth sticking it out till any of these three points no longer hold true. Just in the interest of personal career development, if you are in a sweet spot, which it sounds like you are, then it is best to maximise your experience and learn everything you can for however long you can take it. Considering that you are already good enough to be considered by a top trading house with just 2 years worth of experience, you will be even more valuable and attractive to a trading house once you gain even more experience at your bank.

Moving jobs is always a big task and you should always go for the option that suits you best but I thought I might be able to chime in with some advice. If anything I say does not ring true then feel free to disregard :)

May 5, 2018 - 4:33pm

Okay pharma guy is talking out of his ass. Clearly knows nothing about commodities. Trafigura and glencore immediately recongized in commodities. Senior traders there are very well compensated and typically more than at a bank. There a reason many traders at hedge funds have a physical background.

You should ask yourself if you prefer to trade physical commodites or futures? Physical trading is more about location and time arbritrage. You have to consider things like where to source ore for a refiner and where to make forward sales to lock in the highest margin for the plant. Things like that. It's pretty exciting just a different skill.

Read the below link to give you a better idea.

https://www.commoditiesdemystified.info/en/#Commodity-trading-and-finan…

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
May 6, 2018 - 11:33am
G-I the pharma guy:

I'll refer you to this post where another OP also states that Trafi aren't well known and most others agree: https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/glencoretrafigura-vs-msjpm-deriv…

Granted, the post talks about entry levels but the fact that not many know about Trafi applies

You are getting into exit opportunities for traders. The exit opportunity for traders is trading. For that trafi/glencore/Vito's etc are the best. If you want to go into the exit opps ibankers talk about then the name of a bank looks better. Within industry those are big names. For moving around within commodity trading there is no difference in prestige. The big multi strats will consider you; launching a hedge fund is game on.

Realistically it's 50-50 for opp to move on. It's better to get more experience where you are at, but also getting into a shop early career with the physical assets is a huge benefit too. I'd lean on switching but it's really a coin flip

I'd also agree compensation is likely better at the physical guys so getting to a trading position there sooner would be a big deal to me.

May 6, 2018 - 12:41pm

What is the job role at the BB, what is the job role at Traf/Glencore?

Trading? Ops/Ex? Risk? Sales?

Pretty crucial information.

  • 1
Best Response
May 10, 2018 - 3:23pm

Okay thats clearer - a junior trade role at Glencore/Traf is likely to be somewhat ops/execution heavy (especially as you haven't done physical before) and you will need to learn that side of the business. The likelihood is you would act as a support style role to the senior traders and slowly take on risk over a few years.

Now given the choice I would say trading metals at Glencore/Traf would be a more interesting career role than what I assume is a more derivative focussed, client flow type role. Physical is just way more interesting, entrepreneurial and challenging and can be just as if not more lucrative.

THAT being said the two key things here:
1) you say you are still learning at your current job
2) you have risk and are actually trading

If you don't feel yourself plateauing any time soon then I would stick with the BB for a little longer instead of exchanging for what will be an ops/execution/contracts/trading mishmash role.

  • 10
May 6, 2018 - 12:59pm

If you're not trading right now then which do you feel gets you closer to a trading seat? I wouldn't join the Traf/Glencore if it's not in a trading role unless there's no path into a trading role at the BB.

May 7, 2018 - 5:49pm

Not an easy decision then. I imagine the trading house route holds more upside for you as you could potentially move to phys. Try to learn about the team you'd be joining from brokers/CPs/etc who deal with their phys guys. The move could make sense but you're entering a cut throat environment and I would want max info possible.

  • 1
May 6, 2018 - 3:48pm

I've only been frequently these forums recently but I see there's a LOT of commodity related stuff now. I'm not really familiar with this area, what's behind this recent surge? A lot of movement in this area?

May 6, 2018 - 10:31pm

Dont go to traf/glencore unless you're already trading. I hear they rarely promote within. They tend to hire experienced traders externally.

May 7, 2018 - 9:21am

Out of interest, what would be the difference between trader at GS and a trader a Glencore/Trafigura? Isnt it a different business model so how much do the skillsets overlap?

May 9, 2018 - 3:57pm
LaNoob:

Out of interest, what would be the difference between trader at GS and a trader a Glencore/Trafigura? Isnt it a different business model so how much do the skillsets overlap?

depends on role but could be some overlap. GS will provide a more rounded experience early in your career..... a trading house further into your career.

May 7, 2018 - 9:16pm

G-I the pharma guy is a fucking moron - obviously if you're already trading that is obvious to you too.

For one, I'm extremely jealous of you. Sounds like you are in a great position. I honestly think this is a situation where you should just go with your gut.

Array
May 11, 2018 - 4:57am

It depends your long term goals really. Look at Ray Dalio, he started as a commodity trader then after a few changes he set up his shop. The only reason for a change may be that as the firm is considered top tier in commodities, most of the work would be "firm driven" meanwhile if you go to a "top trading house" you might have to have more skin in the game and make a name for yourself. You might start again from the bottom before you get a desk but it'll set you up nicely, in my opinion.

May 11, 2018 - 10:09am

I think that in the commodities space, trading houses offer some of the most interesting work, and the compensation is very good as well once you get a bit of seniority. I would suggest that you wait a bit before making the transition, but not too long. The skill-set required to trade at a physical shop is pretty different from the paper desks at banks, and therefore you would be best served making the transition relatively early into your career.

May 11, 2018 - 10:56am
CorpFinHopeful:

I think that in the commodities space, trading houses offer some of the most interesting work, and the compensation is very good as well once you get a bit of seniority. I would suggest that you wait a bit before making the transition, but not too long. The skill-set required to trade at a physical shop is pretty different from the paper desks at banks, and therefore you would be best served making the transition relatively early into your career.

strongly disagree

May 12, 2018 - 12:19am

Dolorum eligendi hic optio architecto rerum neque est deleniti. Aut ullam nulla maiores labore recusandae.

Rerum voluptatem sed voluptates sed qui voluptatem eaque. Magnam qui incidunt molestias. Ullam rerum quos magni ipsum iste velit.

May 12, 2018 - 11:41am

Quis numquam modi explicabo veritatis rerum quia. Nobis quia rerum animi voluptates.

Officia debitis nostrum rerum aut neque repellendus. Sunt officia aut dolore at.

Et qui placeat provident atque nisi magnam sit. Pariatur non explicabo architecto et harum. Saepe voluptatum accusamus nesciunt omnis provident non sit. Quos vero rerum atque odio incidunt porro ut. Ipsum a sit quo voluptas sit eligendi quisquam. Dolor pariatur voluptatem possimus blanditiis aperiam. Doloribus omnis qui facere velit.

Start Discussion

Popular Content See all

Total Avg Compensation

September 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (38) $367
  • Associates (220) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (133) $153
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (30) $147
  • Intern/Summer Associate (103) $143
  • 1st Year Analyst (484) $135
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (376) $82