Sell Side and Buy Side Trading Career Path

Rank: Baboon | 166

I am very interested in becoming a trader. Could anyone post about the career path of a trader. And how many years on average will they be in that position until promoted?

What is the Career Path of a Trader?

The answer to this question is different for different types of firms. Trading itself is the career path, but traders will hold different positions during their time at a company.

Trading at Sell Side Firms

Sell side firms such as Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley have large, prolific sales and trading arms that have hierarchical levels just like the investment banking side of the business in which analysts become associates who then become VPs, Directors, and finally MDs / Partners.

creditderivatives - Sales and Trading Analyst:

Many firms have something similar to the following:

Analyst->Associate->Vice President->Director->Managing Director

(Vice President, Directive/Executive Director can all be the same "level" depending on the firm)

You can see a sample hierarchy below - however, in most cases an MD will between VP and group head.

Proprietary Trading Firms Firms

Prop trading firms are much flatter in structure and therefore reward people with money rather than titles.

MasterBlaster01 - Sales and Trading Analyst:

Prop trading firms: assist trader -> trader

Once you're a trader, there won't be any more promotions in terms of position name. you will continue to get salary raises and your bonus will be dependent on your's or your group's performance. very flat hierarchy.

Career of a Portfolio Manager

The career path of a PM is more of a journey and much less of a structured path as there are many ways to get to the point of running your own book for a firm.

Bondarb - Hedge Fund Partner:

On buyside there are all sorts of jobs where the person doing them probably wants to run money/trade himself one day. Everything from research analysts who crunch numbers, to strategists that usually focus more on trade ideas or portfolio management, all the way down to trading assistants who book trades and middle-office guys who make sure they settle right. Every one of them along the way sees themselves as one day making "the big call". Of course most never will. There is no one career path but I can give u mine...

back-office/reconciliation----> Trading Desk Assistant-----> Assistant Trader/Analyst---->same but with more of a strategy bent...ie less running numbers and more coming up with ideas, advising PMs on position sizing and risk management, etc.---->managing my own money/balance sheet (and also still acting as a strat for other guys on my desk)

Once you get to the point where you are managing money then promotions have to do with capital and autonomy. But that doesn't mean those aren't promotions...a young PM with tight risk limits has a lot different potential to make money and a much different job then the guy who runs the fund who is allowed to take as much risk as he wants and doesn't have to answer to anyone. Also more senior PMs will be the ones who interface with investors when necessary at large funds...at a small fund every PM will likely have to spend some time in front of the investors.

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Comments (107)

 
12/16/09

Traders don't become something else just because you're promoted.

What's your question exactly?

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12/16/09

Most of us would like to become a trader...but saying it is easier than doing it.
1) What skill sets can you provide?
2) Do you understand stocks, commods, futures, or forex?
3) Have you invested personally?
4) Above guy is right....there is no promotion for a Trader. Based upon performance you either get more/less money to trade with.
5) How much chart work do you know?
6) Have you ever created a statistical trading model?
7) I could go on for forever based on your basic question. You need to hone that in.
8) It's similar to putting down - I want to be CEO of Barclays Bank...what should my career path look like.
9) There was a post earlier - a day ago about a an entry level prop trader...you should go back and read my post. It's pretty solid and lays out a career path.

 
12/16/09

Are there any levels to a trader? For example, as an undergrad out of college, you're first an analyst, then associate, then something else. And what books would you recommend to better understand what a trader does day in/day out, the different types of commods, futures, forex. In essence, any book that would help if you would like to become a trader

 
12/16/09

Many firms have something similar to the following

Analyst->Associate->Vice President->Director->Managing Director

(Vice President, Directive/Executive Director can all be the same "level" depending on the firm)

There are books out there that will tell u a lot about sales/trading for straight equities (because its the oldest product), etc. but there tends to be limited info regarding the more "sexy" stuff

so google some of these terms if you want

In the Equities Division, some examples are:

-Structured Equity
-Equity Derivatives (variance/volatility swaps, equity swaps, OTC equity options)
-ETF Trading
-Portfolio Trading
-Program Trading

In the Fixed Income Division, some examples are:

-Structured credit
-interest rate swaps, T-bills, notes, LEAPS
-high grade credit
-convertible bond trading
-FX vanilla, exotic options

so many things people don't even consider, do some searching on the above products

CD~

 
12/18/09

what's "structured equity"?
(this is a serious question)

creditderivatives:

Many firms have something similar to the following

In the Equities Division, some examples are:

-Structured Equity
-Equity Derivatives (variance/volatility swaps, equity swaps, OTC equity options)
-ETF Trading
-Portfolio Trading
-Program Trading

In the Fixed Income Division, some examples are:

-Structured credit
-interest rate swaps, T-bills, notes, LEAPS
-high grade credit
-convertible bond trading
-FX vanilla, exotic options

so many things people don't even consider, do some searching on the above products

CD~

 
12/18/09

From my understanding, structured equity is essentially creating a portfolio of equities (using derivs, straight stock, or both) that suits a specific risk apetite. It's a balance between an actively traded portfolio and an index fund.

 
12/21/09

prop trading firms

assist trader -> trader

once u're a trader, there won't be any more promotions in terms of position name. you will continue to get salary raises and your bonus will be dependent on your's or your group's performance. very flat hierarchy.

 
12/21/09

it depends on what u mean by "trader"...i think u r more talking about the sell-side but i will answer from the perspective of a buyside "trader" or portfolio manager.

on buyside there are all sorts of jobs where the person doing them probably wants to run money/trade himself one day. Everything from research analysts who crunch numbers, to strategists that usually focus more on trade ideas or portfolio management, all the way down to trading assistants who book trades and middle-office guys who make sure they settle right. Every one of them along the way sees themselves as one day making "the big call". Of course most never will. There is no one career path but i can give u mine...

back-office/reconciliation----> Trading Desk Assistant-----> Assistant Trader/Analyst---->same but with more of a strategy bent...ie less running numbers and more coming up with ideas, advising PMs on position sizing and risk management, etc.---->managing my own money/balance sheet (and also still acting as a strat for other guys on my desk)

Once you get to the point where you are managing money then promotions have to do with capital and autonomy. But that dosent mean those arent promotions...a young PM with tight risk limits has alot different potential to make money and a much different job then the guy who runs the fund who is allowed to take as much risk as he wants and dosent have to answer to anyone. Also more senior PMs will be the ones who interface with investors when neccessary at large funds...at a small fund every PM will likely have to spend some time in front of the investors.

 
8/14/12

Hello Bondarb, hope you are doing well.

I have read a lot of the posts on WSO as well as a lot of yours, they have been quite helpful. But I still need some advice, so I have sent you a PM.

But the gist of the question/background:

I graduated college with a Finance degree from a Top 30 School in May 2012. I realize that one day I would like to end up in a Macro/Forex Hedge Fund. But obviously I am not going to be able to get in now, so I have looked at some of the common paths to get in there: Sell Side Research, Buy Side Research, and Sell Side Trading. Ideally, I would like to work as a Sell Side Trader in Forex, because as you mentioned in one of your posts it shows you can manage money. Also, after trading on my personal account, I find it to be quite exciting. However, I missed the boat for Sell Side Programs at Bulge Brackets and Boutiques, because I was not sure what I wanted to do then. They seem to be quite structured and I do not think I can break in now.

So I do not know where else I can apply now or how I can get in? What are some feasible options or options I may not have considered?

 
8/14/12

"I want to be CEO of Barclays Bank...what should my career path look like."

...oh the irony.

 
 
8/14/12

It's possible but much less likely

 
8/14/12

If you really want PE/VC, go the banking route or you'd be shooting yourself in the foot

 
8/14/12

Trading --> Venture Capital? You have no idea how these things work. Also, why would you need an MBA if you're a trader moving to a hedge fund? http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/16/business/16mba.h...

http://www.drmarkklein.blogspot.com/

 
8/14/12

A lot of trading-oriented funds look down on MBAs - if you were good at trading, why would you stall your career and go back to B-School? It's a tremendous waste of time, money, and the experience you miss; you learn a lot more from working. The only real conclusion is that you're trying to make a career switch, or you needed a break - my impression is that B-School is a lot more popular with bankers than traders.

Deciding to go the trading or the corp fin/PE/modeling route is a big decision to make. Starting as an analyst - in any division - is a good first step. If you like where you're at, keep at it. If you want to switch, try an in-house move after 2 years or go back to school. Foregoing school and being promoted directly to associate within your group sort of locks you in.

 
 
8/14/12

Don't laugh...but this is the 30th+ time that this question has been asked.
If you get into one of the top prop firms - there is no exit opportunity because if you are any good they will give you a hedge fund. Why not let them raise the money for you? Striking out on your own to get that extra 10-20% is kind of absurd when you think of the costs of running a bd and all of the regulatory crap that goes along with it. Here are the steps:

1) Asst Trader
2) Trader
3) Hedge Fund Trader
4) Retirement
5) Death

If you have an opportunity with one of the top shops...I would suggest that you take it.

Good luck and have a happy new year!!!

 
8/14/12

Death??? I didn't sign up for this!!

 
8/14/12

What is the career path for a trader at a bank (i.e. not a prop firm) ? What do most people do 5 years down the road? 10 years? How do your responsibilities change; is it just being able to work with more capital and being able to take on more risk?

 
 
8/14/12

There is no "golden" path to having a $x00 mm book/fund. There are guys 1 year out of school with their own books and there are guys who need over 4 years to get one. This variation is because this is dependent firstly on your skills in making money, secondly on your manager's confidence in you to make money, and thirdly on the overall demand for your product. The former two are much more important than the last one.

Trading is as close to a meritocracy as they come at a large bureaucracy (like a bank). Go in there, learn a ton, find mentors to teach you, impress them, and slowly they will ramp up your responsibilities.

 
8/14/12

Really appreciate the advice! Thanks aintnospam and baddebt.

 
 
8/14/12

What do you mean by trading? Prop/Flow/Execution? Buyside/Sellside? Which markets are you interested in?
It's generally very very competitive, and your academic record will make things more challenging for you, but once you have a clearer idea of what you want, I'm sure you can get some good advice to get you started.

-MBP

 
8/14/12

i would like to do prop/flow, i currently tend to follow quities, comodities and forex. thanks

 
8/14/12

first you get an internship in college working at a prop firm... do well .... graduate .... get hired or apply to other firms... not much more you can do.. Just make sure you trade and show passion as prop shops love to see passion. I believe proprietary trading is an entry level job right in the trading world? Of course, if you want to work in other trading arenas like banking i think you need to be a trading assistant first.. but i dunno i just wanna be a prop trader myself.

Trading is my LIFE. Everything else is just micky mouse bullshit.

 
8/14/12

Im graduating next week, ive worked for everything I own except for the roof my parents put over my head and will take that hard working attitude into my career, but I need to get my foot in the door. Whats the best way guys?

 
 
8/14/12

From what i've seen people tend to make their own company once they reach the top of their firm/or move onto a bigger firm until you cant get bigger.

If you make money,you get paid, if you make a lot of money, you'll get a % of it. If you make an astronomical amount of money, you'll get a tiny % of it, and they'll let you close the door on the way out.

You won't find accurate earnings figures anywhere on the internet, think how that information came to exist...

Finally, maximum comp is not that. I know a BB derivatives trader who lives in Mayfair (most expensive square on the monopoly board), you cant do that off 500k USD.

T

 
8/14/12

Man I need numbers, I want to know if i should go to trading.

I want to be richer.

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8/14/12

Search around WSO, plenty of threads on this. General consensus seems to be exit opp for trading is trading. Getting an MBA would probably be the first step in making a big career move out of trading.

 
8/14/12

is wealth management a better career path, or should I take trading instead (I have an offer)? I'm from a non-target school with a non-target major (poli sci).

 
8/14/12

yes the wealth management would be full time as would the prop trading.

 
8/14/12

For me personally, it would come down to which prop shop and how committed you are to trading. A good prop shop could be a rewarding experience, but might take an MBA to jump into IB. But at the same time, I'd guess it would be an almost equally hard move to jump from PWM to IB or PE as well.

 
 
8/14/12

A lot of HFT people leave the industry (if they leave) for tech (Google, Facebook, etc.). It pays pretty well, benefits are great, and it's generally a pretty chill career.

 
8/14/12

what you heard is completely wrong. i am getting my 2nd MS degree part time right now at UIUC in CS.

 
8/14/12

In modern world trading has become a new option of making money. You have to research the market knowing about TRADING PLAN, a BUSINESS PLAN and then invest your money. You should surely get back your money. It's a new way of earning money which has gained huge popularity.

 
8/14/12
directiontrader:

In modern world trading has become a new option of making money. You have to research the market knowing about TRADING PLAN, a BUSINESS PLAN and then invest your money. You should surely get back your money. It's a new way of earning money which has gained huge popularity.

I have no idea what you're talking about and it doesn't sound relevant to HFT.

 
 
8/14/12

Systems operator at ppl def sounds like better route to understanding how the grid functions..the physical side is something that a lot financial players don't fully grasp and if you can come into an interview for a cash trading role (which is what it sounds like your end goal is) and impress them with your knowledge you could have a leg up on your competition..

 
8/14/12

Thank you. PPL is what I am leaning towards because it just seems that I would be learning a whole lot with managing the grid. I appreciate your reply.

 
 
8/14/12

depends on the firm and thus if you get a base or what.. but if you were just on purep erformance id say like 120-250 depending on how 'okay' you were

 
8/14/12

ok sweet thanks I do a significant base, and 100k is enough for me
time to sign

 
8/14/12

What does 'okay' firm mean? There are people here who don't include SIG/Timber Hill/etc. as top firms.... I know people at those firms who are paid shit compared to friends at much 'less respected' firms.... Size/rep of firm does not correlate that strongly with pay. A smaller firm generally has more room for growth and you will be given more responsibility quicker than you would at a place like DRW/SIG/etc., which can mean a chance to make more money.

 
8/14/12
Jerome Marrow:

What does 'okay' firm mean? There are people here who don't include SIG/Timber Hill/etc. as top firms.... I know people at those firms who are paid shit compared to friends at much 'less respected' firms.... Size/rep of firm does not correlate that strongly with pay. A smaller firm generally has more room for growth and you will be given more responsibility quicker than you would at a place like DRW/SIG/etc., which can mean a chance to make more money.

Yeah ok but places like IMC/SIG/Optiver/DRW, while maybe not 'top' like JSC still pay 6-figures starting, which is a lot more than was being mentioned.

 
8/14/12
Trade4Life:
Jerome Marrow:

What does 'okay' firm mean? There are people here who don't include SIG/Timber Hill/etc. as top firms.... I know people at those firms who are paid shit compared to friends at much 'less respected' firms.... Size/rep of firm does not correlate that strongly with pay. A smaller firm generally has more room for growth and you will be given more responsibility quicker than you would at a place like DRW/SIG/etc., which can mean a chance to make more money.

Yeah ok but places like IMC/SIG/Optiver/DRW, while maybe not 'top' like JSC still pay 6-figures starting, which is a lot more than was being mentioned.

lol bullshit. I happen to know quite 'intimately' you could say the first year salary at one of those firms mentioned and it isn't close to 6 figures (perhaps after a bonus that would be average, but that is performance based, so you certainly can't count on it and plenty are fired before a year) and the same for at least 2 others. If you are including bonus AFTER your first year of trading (which could mean after 2 years at some places), then you could list basically every single prop out there as paying well over 6 figures because almost everybody I know at any prop is making more than that after a full year of trading.

 
8/14/12
Jerome Marrow:
Trade4Life:
Jerome Marrow:

What does 'okay' firm mean? There are people here who don't include SIG/Timber Hill/etc. as top firms.... I know people at those firms who are paid shit compared to friends at much 'less respected' firms.... Size/rep of firm does not correlate that strongly with pay. A smaller firm generally has more room for growth and you will be given more responsibility quicker than you would at a place like DRW/SIG/etc., which can mean a chance to make more money.

Yeah ok but places like IMC/SIG/Optiver/DRW, while maybe not 'top' like JSC still pay 6-figures starting, which is a lot more than was being mentioned.

lol bullshit. I happen to know quite 'intimately' you could say the first year salary at one of those firms mentioned and it isn't close to 6 figures (perhaps after a bonus that would be average, but that is performance based, so you certainly can't count on it and plenty are fired before a year) and the same for at least 2 others. If you are including bonus AFTER your first year of trading (which could mean after 2 years at some places), then you could list basically every single prop out there as paying well over 6 figures because almost everybody I know at any prop is making more than that after a full year of trading.

By pay I mean all-in 1st year comp. I.e. Base+Signing+Year End Bonus, where Year End Bonus is variable except for places that keep their ATs for a year. At the firms listed which have performance based year end bonuses, you would have to essentially receive zero year end bonus to not make six figures...

 
8/14/12

I would be interested in knowing the name of the firm if it wouldn't put you out too much. It would let me know who is hiring...and if you send my resume their way I don't think I would protest TOO loudly :P

 
8/14/12

Monkeysama dude, go back to school. Your resume is solid and you seem like a smart guy, but it is unlikely to get a real look over the hundreds of resumes received through OCR from seniors @ top targets with equally great resumes. You should have no problem getting into a good MSF/MFE/etc. type program.

 
8/14/12
Jerome Marrow:

Monkeysama dude, go back to school. Your resume is solid and you seem like a smart guy, but it is unlikely to get a real look over the hundreds of resumes received through OCR from seniors @ top targets with equally great resumes. You should have no problem getting into a good MSF/MFE/etc. type program.

Yeah, and I get out and find out I can't get a job again, and now I'm 26 and am in debt. Why would I do that?

 
8/14/12
monkeysama:
Jerome Marrow:

Monkeysama dude, go back to school. Your resume is solid and you seem like a smart guy, but it is unlikely to get a real look over the hundreds of resumes received through OCR from seniors @ top targets with equally great resumes. You should have no problem getting into a good MSF/MFE/etc. type program.

Yeah, and I get out and find out I can't get a job again, and now I'm 26 and am in debt. Why would I do that?

  • You would 'do that' because you want a trading job so bad that its all you can seem to talk about
  • You wouldn't 'get out and not be able to find a job again' or at least you shouldn't as you would have another crack at OCR.
  • Do you want it bad enough? I mean enough to shoulder that debt and everything else.
  • Don't undervalue the fact that you can get an unpaid internship while doing your msf. Go to Anthony's website and really take a long hard look because its pretty clear what you're doing isn't working.
    -How long are you going to beat your head against a wall before you actually do something beyond what you've already done?

I don't mean to be a dick, but you're obviously driven and want this bad enough to go for so do it.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

 
8/14/12

Not true. And at least 3 of those firms don't pay their bonuses @ the same time people start (I know this bc I am at one and best friends are at another 2), so you can't even receive a bonus to reach 6 figures by that point anyway. T4L, get out of college and get a job at one of these places before you make-up shit like that. What you are saying is simply false--no reason to continue debating it.

 
8/14/12
Jerome Marrow:

Not true. And at least 3 of those firms don't pay their bonuses @ the same time people start (I know this bc I am at one and best friends are at another 2), so you can't even receive a bonus to reach 6 figures by that point anyway. T4L, get out of college and get a job at one of these places before you make-up shit like that. What you are saying is simply false--no reason to continue debating it.

Well then...we'll have to agree to disagree, because I've seen offer letters for at least 3 of those four firms, and base+signing was between 70 and 100k.

 
8/14/12

It's just insane. I need to get a worthless degree even though I'm equally if not more qualified than a lot of people getting in just because they're connected through their university. You'd think these places were in the business of, you know, business.

 
8/14/12
monkeysama:

It's just insane. I need to get a worthless degree even though I'm equally if not more qualified than a lot of people getting in just because they're connected through their university. You'd think these places were in the business of, you know, business.

Dude, think that all you want but what has the last few months of looking for a job taught you?

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

 
8/14/12
monkeysama:

It's just insane. I need to get a worthless degree even though I'm equally if not more qualified than a lot of people getting in just because they're connected through their university. You'd think these places were in the business of, you know, business.

As someone who is currently pursuing a MFE, don't do it unless you are ready to commit. Kind of cliche, but if your heart isn't in it... It is tough even from coming from an engineering background, I have taken MBA level finance classes and they are nothing compared to MFE classes.
Don't know you, but from this post it sounds like we were in similar position strong background, passion for trading... etc. Even with my persistence and modest par networking couldn't secure interviews or just get a foot in the door. SO, I wouldn't say it's exactly worthless, going back to school has gotten me interviews and hopefully soon to come offers from energy trading firms. Is debt load more now? Yes. Will I be paid more than previous career? Yes. I am another year older and enjoying college? Yes
Tons of factors... just have to judge your own situation, point is I wanted to trade derivatives and figured with electronic and high frequency/algo dominated markets it would be useful and it would allow me to significantly increase my quantitative (in a pure mathematical not necessarily programming way).
Would not take back my decision.

 
8/14/12

And by worthless degree I clearly mean for my purposes. This isn't supposed to be a slur on it in general.

 
8/14/12

And by worthless degree I clearly mean for my purposes. This isn't supposed to be a slur on it in general.

 
8/14/12

That I should brush up on my burger flipping skills?

 
8/14/12

No, you haven't, T4L. Quit while you're behind and not being called out on more lies, bro.

 
8/14/12
Jerome Marrow:

No, you haven't, T4L. Quit while you're behind and not being called out on more lies, bro.

If you think IMC/Optiver/DRW/SIG are less than 70k in base+sign+guarenteed year end/relocation (i.e. the sum of all gaurenteed comp) then I don't know what to say.

Add in promotion based or performance based bonus, and six figures total pay is almost guaranteed unless you are fired before year end.

 
8/14/12

Jerome, the only support I've seen for 80% of your claims are to call people names or attack claims they haven't made. Do you think the rest of the forum isn't smart enough to notice this?

And most people here know that many of these top firms do pay > 70k if you count base+sign+guaranteed year end. You're not going to get anywhere with disputing that.

 
8/14/12

lol Juked, what would you like me to do? Show you paystubs from these places? E-mail you from a company e-mail? Seriously, quit being retarded--there isn't anyway to 'prove' it that is worth doing (anything you could do is going to get your ass fired really fast), but it is annoying to see silly comments from people not at any of these places.

And I didn't say they don't pay over $70k, I said that >6 figures isn't guaranteed. Realize that at some of these places a substantial portion of each class is let go before year end, so there is by no means any 'guaranteed year end bonus'.

 
8/14/12

It's more annoying when someone disputes correct statements and puts people down, then makes incorrect, unsubstantiated statements. Tell me how much you think first year comp at SIG or DRW is, if less than $70k all included.

No Jerome, you called T4L a liar when he said 70-100k. So you must know that it is either <70 or >100. Which is it? How do you know this counter consensus info?

 
8/14/12

Moron, he said:

"Yeah ok but places like IMC/SIG/Optiver/DRW, while maybe not 'top' like JSC still pay 6-figures starting, which is a lot more than was being mentioned."

I already answer the question of what the compensation 'is', which is varied. There are many that make >$100k and there are many that don't make $100k. There is significant variation.

 
8/14/12

as someone who trades at one of these firms i want to line all of you would be monkeys up in a line and execute you when you ask what potential earnings are at prop shops.

IT IS FUCKING PROP TRADING ITS BASED ON HOW MUCH YOU FUCKING MAKE SKYS THE LIMIT FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK

asdfasdfasdfasdgakldfjaskdlfjakldsf

vent

there arel ike fifty threads going on asking the same fucking thing right now.

and monkey hes prolly right. debt and hope of good jobness>no jobness :x

 
8/14/12

Fuck it, I'll just join the military.

 
8/14/12

@shorttheworld - i get it, you get what you make, but i still jus wanted to make sure that if i wasnt a star, what i could still make is good enough to reject other "safer" offers even if they paid more

Also, when I said "legit" I meant a firm that gives a base salary (not say which one) and doesn't ask to put your own money... I interviewed with a couple and I am not saying which one I'm taking

I don't get a 100k base, but I guess based on what I'm reading on these boards I could be pulling that in a year or two.

 
8/14/12

dont go back to school. keep grinding and staying aggressive.

 
8/14/12

I think, from what admittedly little research I have done (talk to people in the industry etc), that the firm you go to has SOME bearing on how you do. If you're a straight manual trader you still have a support network of quants and trading strategists that give recommendations and trading strategies, on going education, etc. Once you get good at what you're doing or have some more experience then maybe this would be less important, but it might be more useful starting out. On the topic of compensation, you should probably worry more about not washing out than anything else IMO.

And thanks for the vote of confidence PnL.

 
8/14/12

Here's something I've been wondering. What do you guys think is profitable right now: market making or HF/algo trading positions. Based on what I've been seeing, it seems like the algo trading positions are paying the most, although I have anecdotal evidence to support that only.

 
8/14/12

if you suck you wont make it to month 6

 
 
8/14/12

If it's market making and/or HFT, then you have a career with upside that is proportional to your time and effort spent on the job.

If it's an arcade, good luck. You're really just paying the bonuses of guys at banks and market making firms as you play around in their markets.

 
8/14/12

If you're currently having success in your own personal accounts while working, what's precluding you from continuing to do so? I'm assuming you are headed into an arcade shop. Forgive my brevity since I've answered this exact question a few dozen times but I offer you the following hypothetical situation:

Three to five years from now, you are only making OK money. "OK money" is entirely subjective but assume it's less than you thought or hoped. Or what if you stop making money? What do you do in either scenario?

It isn't pretty and if you start to lose money it can get ugly fast, at least in terms of your options. Three to five years out is recoverable, but what about 7-10 years out? Literally imagine what that would mean for yourself, finding a job would be brutal. How would you even spin that or get through a resume screen?

On the other hand, had you stuck with consulting and pushed yourself up the ladder... Where would you be in 3-5 years? Or 7-10 years from now? Now assume you were able to generate reasonable and consistent returns while working. It's hard to imagine that situation ending badly, even if your trading failed, which if it did fail you'll be happy as hell you stuck with your job. From what I understand consulting is very lucrative with some cushy (and also lucrative) exit opportunities.

With all of that being said, it might be worthwhile if you are at a point to go off to b-school. Take part of a year off and give it a shot, if it doesn't work out maybe you could re-brand yourself and continue on your way without too much headache. Though you'd still be subject to long term career risk. The successful independent day traders I know have all of their bases covered and long histories with trading prior to taking the plunge.

 
8/14/12

These are all very valid points. I guess the attraction comes from working for an HFT MM where everybody basically wanted to look for the nearest bridge to jump off, I have been a little hesitant to get back into that side of the business.

Part of my thought process for switching to a prop shop vs trading out of my own account was just the learning potential of being in that environment vs limited research after hours and punching in my orders via my phone intraday. Assuming I had a substantial bit of starting capital (old gambling earnings), if I traded successfully for 3-5 years, I would feel more comfortable putting all those funds to work and trading independently. But this could be a pipe dream by a lot of standards.

Maybe it is worth looking at some of the algo firms again and seeing if the grass was actually greener at a less monster of a algo/routing house. What are some of the more respected firms to look at?

However, consulting is a pretty good racket I won't deny that either. Just not very exciting.

 
8/14/12

Please clarify. What type of firm are you going to be joining? For example, are you going to become a day trader?

 
8/14/12

As posters above said, if its a true legit prop shop (feel free to PM and I can try and chime in and if i dont know i can ask around for reputation in the market) and that is what is your dream then Yolo. If you know you can handle the stress (and tbh unless you are in a boiler room its not that stressfull, you quickly learn to disassociate yourself from the numbers, and they just become what they are, numbers).

Its like if a GM asked you to sign with an NBA team, and that was what you truly wanted, but you were content with the consulting gig and why risk it. Sometimes you need to swing the bat and see what happens. Just my 2c of life advice. You need to know your risk aversion.

 
8/14/12

Win, lose or draw an NBA player with a contract is going home in a Ferrari with at least three girls named Tiffany waiting for him.

 
8/14/12

Are you ColtsForTheWin (cftw) from the online poker days?

 
8/14/12

@3 handicap, haha not quite, I had a host of user names over my stint on stars and FT
@"derivstrading" I will dm you I would be interested to hear your thoughts
@archervice yes I believe I would be us equity options trader for the firm

 
 
8/14/12

Finding a prop firm which will take you straight out of undergrad AND pay you a base salary AND give you some funds to trade with is going to be highly unlikely.

 
8/14/12
Asatar:

Finding a prop firm which will take you straight out of undergrad AND pay you a base salary AND give you some funds to trade with is going to be highly unlikely.

I'm actually more interested in the their training program than getting paid. I guess I could find a part time on weekends so that I can earn some cash for transportation and living expenses.

It seems like most reputable firms have 18-24 month training periods. I want to make sure I have an extensive and excellent training experience. So far the only two firms that I know pay you a base during this long training period are FNYS and Trillium.

I saw a training program at SMB Capital that seemed rather comprehensive, but I know they have a division called SMB Training which I believe is a paid for education costing around $8,000.

I guess my question is which NY Firms have an excellent training program for new traders right out of college?

 
8/14/12

Anyone else have an insights? I would really appreciate them. Thanks.

 
 
8/14/12

First New York, Jane Street, SIG, DRW(7 world trade)

 
8/14/12

that's one heck of a switch. just curious, why prop trading?

if you dont already know, you should be VERY strong with math and VERY comfortable with stats. at least for interviews.

man made the money, money never made the man

 
8/14/12

The independence factor of prop trading is appealing. Handle my own trading, but use firm capital.

Bored out of my mind at my current job.

Looking for something more dynamic. (open to suggestions, folks)

"The American father is never seen in London. He passes his life entirely in Wall Street and communicates with his family once a month by means of a telegram in cipher." - Oscar Wilde

 
8/14/12

def possible to switch, i've seen assistant traders (assist trader -> trader) at top prop shops who are in their 30s

 
8/14/12

When do prop shops generally recruit? I am guessing that full time recruiting is already in full swing. What about summer internships? Anyone have any ideas?

 
8/14/12
 
8/14/12

campus recruiting for prop shops is happening currently (at least at my school). i imagine it happened a bit earlier for most other places.

 
8/14/12

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8/14/12

"The American father is never seen in London. He passes his life entirely in Wall Street and communicates with his family once a month by means of a telegram in cipher." - Oscar Wilde