Best Banks for Sales and Trading?

bms227's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | banana points 89

Best banks for Sales and Trading? Perhaps a ranking?

S&T Bank Ranking

When looking at banks with sales and trading operations, it is important to remember that their standing on the street can change over a given period of time. Desk heads change firms, loose steam, or changing markets can change what desks are profitable and effect the strategy of the firm.

Also - it is important to think of desks rather than just firm prestige. For example, while Citigroup is not usually considered on the level of GS and JPM for trading, their emerging markets platform is one of the strongest on the street. If you know you are interested in fixed income, you should be looking for a bank with a strong fixed income platform and the same can be said for commodities, equities, etc.

boomboom - Sales and Trading Analyst:

For fixed income:
Tier 1: JPM, DB, Barcap, GS, CItI (if commodities isnt considereD)
Tier 2: BAML (might be even in tier 1), CS, UBS, MS

CS is not good for fixed income. It is known for equities.

maximus307:

Tier 1: GS, JPM
Tier 2: CS, DB, BarCap
Tier 3: MS, Citi
Tier 4: BAML, UBS

It should be noted that these rankings were posted by users in 2010 and their opinions are likely different today since the market and the position of these firms have changed.

Reputations of Sales and Trading Firms

In 2015, user @glen ross, a sales and trading analyst, shared a detailed post about firm reputations:

glen ross - Sales and Trading Analyst:
  • GS: Strong nearly everywhere. Legendary commodities shop, mortgage desk got famous in '09, underwrite a ton of IPOs so equity desk is very good, well thought of in the High Yield (HY) & Investment Grade (IG) credit space. Weaknesses in fx/rates, structured credit
  • MS: Legendary commodity shop and an equity power house (also underwrite a ton of deals). High Yield (HY) & Investment Grade (IG) credit businesses are good not great. Weak in fx/rates and structured credit business, mortgages basically non-existent
  • CS: Great at equities. Very strong in mortgages as well. HY & IG credit business not good, aren't involved in commodities at all any more
  • UBS: Chopping traders at a steady clip. Traditionally very good in fx/rates, good in equities. Weak in HY & IG credit. Not a player in commodities, mortgages or structured credit at all
  • Barcap: Legacy Lehman traders under stodgy British control. Great in distressed & HY credit. Weaknesses would be the fact that the bank CEO has vocally committed to shareholders that he is going to exit riskier businesses steadily over the next few years
  • JPM: Biggest balance sheet in the world. Great in munis, structured credit & IG credit. Good in HY credit, fx/rates. Commodities business is rolling down hill. Solid in equities. Weakness: I had a friend who interned here and he said although JPM has the biggest balance sheet in the world the traders always bitched about the conservative culture at the place. JPM does not have a bad desk. Most well rounded shop for S&T on the street)
  • Citi: Big balance sheet, still living with the stigma of their huge bailout in '09. Great FX/rates business and structured credit business. Strong in HY & IG credit, munis and mortgages. Weaknesses: equities & commodities
  • DB: Best rates desk on the street. Also very good in fx. Solid IG & HY credit shop. Weaknesses: I haven't heard anything about their mortgages, structured credit, commodities or equities business. (side note: DB was one of the few shops aggressively adding traders last year. Bank seems committed to their S&T arm, very much appear to be moving in the opposite direction of their big Euro counterpart Barcap in this regard)
  • BofA: Big balance sheet, best mortgage business on the street. I know Merrill were the structured credit kings of the street, so I imagine BofA is still strong there.

Read More About this Topic on WSO

Looking to Break into the Hedge Fund World?

Want to land at an elite hedge fund use our HF Interview Prep Course which includes 814 questions across 165 hedge funds. The WSO Hedge Fund Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to land the most coveted jobs on the buyside.

Hedge Fund Interview Prep Course

Investment Banking Interview Course

  • 7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. Crowdsourced from over 500,000 members.
  • Technical, behavioral, networking, case videos, templates. All included.
  • Most comprehensive IB interview course in the world.

Comments (67)

Feb 17, 2010

rankings are pretty much pointless, especially for S&T, since your particular desk strength is what counts. however, the following is my understanding of BB's and their current strengths based on recent performance. I am not someone who works in the field so some (if not most of the following) may be incorrect, but these are just my impressions:

GS (very strong in fixed income, good in equities)
JPM (building strong base in commodities)
CS (great in fixed income)
DB (known for FX and credit)
BarCap (FX, algo, and not sure what else they strongest at)
MS (not sure what their best at, performance has been lagging lately)
Citigroup (quant trading)
BAML (clawing back market share)
UBS (strong in equities and FX but fixed income has been decimated)

Feb 17, 2010

I thought algo trading is GS's crown jewel

Feb 17, 2010
wukong:

I thought algo trading is GS's crown jewel

Not true. They have a prop desk that does algo trading, but, its relatively small. You probably just heard a lot about Sergey Aleynikov and the code theft.

Feb 17, 2010
the real deal:
wukong:

I thought algo trading is GS's crown jewel

Not true. They have a prop desk that does algo trading, but, its relatively small. You probably just heard a lot about Sergey Aleynikov and the code theft.

You might be right. Please excuse my ignorant assumption.

Feb 18, 2010

The real deal is actually the wrong deal. Ever heard of the Global Alpha Fund? Aka one of the largest hedge funds in the world? Its an algo fund owned by Goldman sachs. It accounted for 10% of their profit in 2005. Algo and stat arb can most certainly be considered among Goldman Sachs crown jewels

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Feb 18, 2010

does anyone know enough just to give a general ranking? obviously it would be really rough, but it would be useful

like what should be the ranking of best analyst/associate programs to get into, unconditional on the specific desk you end up being placed on

Feb 18, 2010

They have both prop and agency algo trading desks. Not sure if the hassle with prop trading from the gov will affect algo prop trading tho

Feb 17, 2010

If you insist, here is a rough ranking from my pov (again, based on recent performance):

Tier 1: GS, JPM
Tier 2: CS, DB, BarCap
Tier 3: MS, Citi
Tier 4: BAML, UBS

Again, the marginal difference between the tiers and most of these firms is basically negligible imho.

Jan 10, 2011
maximus307:

If you insist, here is a rough ranking from my pov (again, based on recent performance):

Tier 1: GS, JPM
Tier 2: CS, DB, BarCap
Tier 3: MS, Citi
Tier 4: BAML, UBS

Again, the marginal difference between the tiers and most of these firms is basically negligible imho.

Depends on product group, but I agree with the above list.

CS stands for Credit Suisse.

Feb 19, 2010

Trading isn't about ranking or prestige its all about how good the individual is. Who cares if u are at GS and doing horrible rather than being at BAML and doing great. The good trader will get 10x what the bad one gets no matter what firm ur at.

Jan 10, 2011

CS stands for Credit Suisse?

Jan 10, 2011

i thought baml trading was solid no?

Jan 10, 2011

it seems that people have no clue what they are chatting about here.
for fixed income
tier 1: JPM, DB, Barcap, GS, CItI (if commodities isnt considereD)
tier 2: BAML (might be even in tier 1), CS, UBS, MS
CS is not good for fixed income. it s known for equities.

Jan 10, 2011
boomboom:

it seems that people have no clue what they are chatting about here.
for fixed income
tier 1: JPM, DB, Barcap, GS, CItI (if commodities isnt considereD)
tier 2: BAML (might be even in tier 1), CS, UBS, MS
CS is not good for fixed income. it s known for equities.

this is accurate

Apr 24, 2013

[x]

Jan 10, 2011
boomboom:

it seems that people have no clue what they are chatting about here.
for fixed income
tier 1: JPM, DB, Barcap, GS, CItI (if commodities isnt considereD)
tier 2: BAML (might be even in tier 1), CS, UBS, MS
CS is not good for fixed income. it s known for equities.

I said it depends on the product group and I could maybe see CS and Citi switching places, but overall the list from above is correct from the S&T side.

You do realize your list only has two tiers right?

Jan 10, 2011

From what I've heard/read in terms of FI, E, Commod, FX
MS:poor/poor/?/?
CS: okay/great/?/?
UBS: terrible/okay/?/?
Barcap: amazing/?/good/?
JPM: good/?/good/?
Citi: good/?/?/good
DB: ?/?/?/?
BofA:?/?/?/?

Feel free to change these/fill in some blanks

Jan 10, 2011
ambition56:

From what I've heard/read in terms of FI, E, Commod, FX
MS:poor/poor/?/?
CS: okay/great/?/?
UBS: terrible/okay/?/?
Barcap: amazing/?/good/?
JPM: good/?/good/?
Citi: good/?/?/good
DB: ?/?/?/?
BofA:?/?/?/?

Feel free to change these/fill in some blanks

MS; bad in FI, decent in E, excellent in Commod, bad in FX
UBS; FI (bad in credit, decent in rates), good in E, does not have commod business, the best (along with DB) in FX
Barcap; good in FI, terrible in E, excellent in Commod, decent in FX
JPM; strong across the board, lacking in FX though UBS and DB are the only two primary players

thats what i know for sure

Feb 17, 2010

To add some more color, MS and UBS have gotten a lot stronger in equities last year. GS and MS are very strong in commodities. DB is great in FI and FX, weak in equities and commodities. JPM is great in FI, especially derivatives. Again, these strengths and weaknesses are prone to change very quickly so I wouldn't worry too much about rankings.

    • 1
Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Jan 10, 2011

GS:?/great/great/?
MS:poor/okay/great/?
CS: okay/great/?/?
UBS: terrible/okay/?/?
Barcap: amazing/?/good/?
JPM: great/?/good/?
Citi: good/?/?/good
DB: ?/?/?/?
BofA:?/?/?/?

Jan 10, 2011

GS:?/great/great/?
MS:poor/okay/great/poor
CS: okay/great/?/?
UBS: terrible/okay/none/amazing
Barcap: amazing/bad/good/okay
JPM: great/decent/good/decent
Citi: good/?/?/good
DB: ?/?/?/amazing
BofA:?/?/?/?

Jan 10, 2011
Jan 10, 2011

wait, so volcker doesn't apply to foreign banks' US operations?

Jan 28, 2011

For Summer Internship, say equities, CS or BoAML?

May 29, 2013
Feb 8, 2015

Is trading a dying job?

Feb 8, 2015

Is trading a dying job?

Feb 8, 2015

College Confidential is leaking again.

Feb 9, 2015

It's a question we've never seen hundreds of times before and is very creative and something we've never seen before. Lay off him

Incoming Spring Discovery Day Participant at J.P. Morgan Stanley

Feb 9, 2015

Any thoughts or comments on Wells Fargo? Are they good in any of the divisions in S&T?

Feb 10, 2015

there are numerous threads like this on here, so best to get your shovel out and go digging through. S&T isn't like IB, there are no league tables updated daily. so asking what the best bank is for trading is a much more subjective question than asking what the best IBD groups are on the street. with that being said, here are some general things I've heard about where certain banks are strong/weak (doesn't mean they're right, ask 5 people probably will get 5 different views):

GS: strong nearly everywhere. legendary commodities shop, mortgage desk got famous in '09, underwrite a ton of IPOs so equity desk is very good, well thought of in the HY & IG credit space.....weaknesses would be fx/rates, structured credit

MS: legendary commodity shop like GS and an equity power house (also underwrite a ton of deals). wish i knew more about their HY & IG credit business, but from what I understand good not great....weak in fx/rates and structured credit business, mortgages basically non-existent

CS: great at equities. hear very strong in mortgages as well. don't know anything about their rates/fx business....HY & IG credit business not good, aren't involved in commodities at all any more (bank has been trying to move away from some FICC businesses)

UBS: from what I hear they are chopping traders at a steady clip. with that being said, traditionally very good in fx/rates, good in equities.....weak in HY & IG credit. not a player in commodities, mortgages or structured credit at all

Barcap: legacy Lehman traders under stodgy British control. great in distressed & HY credit. don't know much at all about how their mortgage, structured, fx/rates, commodity IG credit or equity businesses are faring these days....weaknesses would be the fact that the bank CEO has vocally committed to shareholders that he is going to exit riskier businesses steadily over the next few years and look for more stable revenue streams. as a trader not what you want to hear

JPM: biggest balance sheet in the world. great in munis, structured credit & IG credit. good in HY credit, fx/rates. don't know much about their mortgage business. last I heard Blythe got pushed out of the Commodities arm and the business was rolling down hill, could be wrong. solid in equities.....weakness: I had a friend who interned here and he said although JPM has the biggest balance sheet in the world the traders always bitched about the conservative culture at the place. being the biggest bank in the world they felt like they got watched closer than any other bank. who knows if water cooler talk is accurate, maybe they were just bitching cause P&L was down (with that being said JPM does not have a bad desk. most well rounded shop for S&T on the street)

Citi: big balance sheet, still living with the stigma of their huge bailout in '09. great FX/rates business and structured credit business. strong in HY & IG credit, munis and mortgages......weaknesses: equities & commodities

DB: best rates desk on the street. also very good in fx. solid IG & HY credit shop....weaknesses: I haven't heard anything about their mortgages, structured credit, commodities or equities business. might be due to my ignorance. might be to the fact they aren't worth talking about that much. (side note: DB was one of the few shops aggressively adding traders last year. bank seems committed to their S&T arm, very much appear to be moving in the opposite direction of their big Euro counterpart Barcap in this regard)

BofA: big balance sheet, best mortgage business on the street. don't know much about their other businesses. I know Merrill were the structured credit kings of the street, so I imagine BofA is still strong their. wish I knew more about their HY & IG credit, equity, fx/rates businesses

Feb 10, 2015
glen ross:

there are numerous threads like this on here, so best to get your shovel out and go digging through. S&T isn't like IB, there are no league tables updated daily. so asking what the best bank is for trading is a much more subjective question than asking what the best IBD groups are on the street. with that being said, here are some general things I've heard about where certain banks are strong/weak (doesn't mean they're right, ask 5 people probably will get 5 different views):

GS: strong nearly everywhere. legendary commodities shop, mortgage desk got famous in '09, underwrite a ton of IPOs so equity desk is very good, well thought of in the HY & IG credit space.....weaknesses would be fx/rates, structured credit

MS: legendary commodity shop like GS and an equity power house (also underwrite a ton of deals). wish i knew more about their HY & IG credit business, but from what I understand good not great....weak in fx/rates and structured credit business, mortgages basically non-existent

CS: great at equities. hear very strong in mortgages as well. don't know anything about their rates/fx business....HY & IG credit business not good, aren't involved in commodities at all any more (bank has been trying to move away from some FICC businesses)

UBS: from what I hear they are chopping traders at a steady clip. with that being said, traditionally very good in fx/rates, good in equities.....weak in HY & IG credit. not a player in commodities, mortgages or structured credit at all

Barcap: legacy Lehman traders under stodgy British control. great in distressed & HY credit. don't know much at all about how their mortgage, structured, fx/rates, commodity IG credit or equity businesses are faring these days....weaknesses would be the fact that the bank CEO has vocally committed to shareholders that he is going to exit riskier businesses steadily over the next few years and look for more stable revenue streams. as a trader not what you want to hear

JPM: biggest balance sheet in the world. great in munis, structured credit & IG credit. good in HY credit, fx/rates. don't know much about their mortgage business. last I heard Blythe got pushed out of the Commodities arm and the business was rolling down hill, could be wrong. solid in equities.....weakness: I had a friend who interned here and he said although JPM has the biggest balance sheet in the world the traders always bitched about the conservative culture at the place. being the biggest bank in the world they felt like they got watched closer than any other bank. who knows if water cooler talk is accurate, maybe they were just bitching cause P&L was down (with that being said JPM does not have a bad desk. most well rounded shop for S&T on the street)

Citi: big balance sheet, still living with the stigma of their huge bailout in '09. great FX/rates business and structured credit business. strong in HY & IG credit, munis and mortgages......weaknesses: equities & commodities

DB: best rates desk on the street. also very good in fx. solid IG & HY credit shop....weaknesses: I haven't heard anything about their mortgages, structured credit, commodities or equities business. might be due to my ignorance. might be to the fact they aren't worth talking about that much. (side note: DB was one of the few shops aggressively adding traders last year. bank seems committed to their S&T arm, very much appear to be moving in the opposite direction of their big Euro counterpart Barcap in this regard)

BofA: big balance sheet, best mortgage business on the street. don't know much about their other businesses. I know Merrill were the structured credit kings of the street, so I imagine BofA is still strong their. wish I knew more about their HY & IG credit, equity, fx/rates businesses

I would agree with this

Feb 14, 2015

Thanks for this, that was very helpful. Wouuld you (or anyone) also happen to know similar information for the Canadian banks?

Feb 10, 2015

I wish I did. maybe somebody else will be able to chime in.

Feb 15, 2015

Follow-up on latest post pertaining to Canadian banks....how about RBCCM S&T in NYC?

Feb 16, 2015

something more quant, FI, derivs, etc. better yet, apply directly to the HFs now. many of them pickup their summers. both my roommates who are in HFs direct out of ug summered at their respective firms

Feb 16, 2015

depends on the fund - big funds (ie Citadel, Shaw) have a lot of strategies: rates, fundamentals, stat arb, option arb, etc. Decide what interests you.

Feb 16, 2015

also very interested

Feb 16, 2015

Don't even know where to start with the stupidity of this post.

Feb 16, 2015

Has nothing to do with a desk, has to do with the skill of the people on that desk.

Pay, Volatility of Pay, Hours and Stress are all pretty common in the field of trading.

Apr 24, 2013

Depends on the bank dude. Different banks are strong in different areas.

Jan 10, 2011

Dont know why it double posted.

Jan 10, 2011

Anything FX hands down. They have a 20% global market share. Their biggest competitor in the space is UBS which has 15%. GS, MS, JPM all have around 5%. They are the most innovative and most talent FX bank. Period. Getting FX from them is like getting JPM derivatives or GS S&T. You take it without question. They are also supposed to be good with some debt instruments. Overall, a weak IBD, but a very good sales and trading bank in terms of culture and expertise.

Feb 16, 2015

thanks, I appreciate your advice.
I was placed in the research division. Do you think doing Research in FX, and then trying to lateral to trading after a year is a good move?

Also how is FX research compared to Equity research?

Jan 10, 2011

I am not sure how easy it is to lateral from research to trading. I assume it can be done. I know of two examples where research lateraled into sales. I also know research people that went to HF, buts that more investing than trading.

I am not sure how FX research and Equity research compare in terms of prestige or what they do from day-to-day, but research works with sales and trading hand in hand so I assume their FX research is amazing as well. FX is driven by technical analysis, fundamentals in the long run, but technicals on a day to day basis. You have to check on what kind of "research" you would be doing, It might be very qualitative in looking for political events or other things that would drive the currency in the short term. Also very macro based on when interest rates would be expected to rise in a country.

Use your contacts to see how many people lateral from research to trading. If it is common/slightly possible, I would go with FX with the goal of getting into their FX trading.

Congrats on the offer!

Feb 16, 2015

Perhaps you should take a closer look at the report. Certainly UBS is expected to lose some market share over time due to their issues, but they have clearly remained in second place. Do you realize how substantial their lead was over the nearest competitor Barclays? In a highly competitive market like FX, that is a massive gap to be overcome.

1 Deutsche Bank 21.0%
2 UBS 14.6%
3 Barclays Capital 10.5%
4 RBS 8.2%
5 Citi 7.3%
6 J.P. Morgan 5.4%
7 HSBC 4.1%
8 Goldman Sachs 3.4%
9 Credit Suisse 3.1%
10 BAC/MER pro forma 2.5%
11 BNP Paribas 2.3%
12 Morgan Stanley 2.0%

Feb 16, 2015

You want to look into a desk called "Complex Equities" which does SSG-type of work at DB

Feb 16, 2015

Thanks guys! Appreciate the advice.

I get to rotate on 2 desks. I will def look into the complex equities group.

Anyone familier with the hours of doign research in groups such as FX, Commodities, and SSG? in comparision to trading?

Feb 16, 2015

DId you really just show me a matrix with half-coloured circles and use that as evidence of dominance in a particular asset class?
You do realize that the list I provided is NOT just europe correct?.... the reason the european banks dominate WORLDWIDE is because FX trading is centered in the UK!

Nice try though

GS and Citi simply do not have larger market share than UBS when it comes to FX.

Feb 16, 2015

lol nice one CreditDerivatives!

I think the fact that it said "Euromoney poll" confused Brown_Bateman.

Feb 16, 2015

haha! yeah CD's right. European banks dominate worldwide FX for that reason in particular.

FX has been UBS's claim to fame, regardless of their other woes.

Feb 16, 2015

that's exactly why Credit Suisse is targetting UBS, they figure its easier to peel off whole percentage points in terms of clients of a fellow Swiss bank , rather than going for fractions of a percentage point by targetting Citi, JPM, GS, etc.
if they manage to do that, expect them to bypass some of the others on the way up that market share list.

Feb 16, 2015

It's true, you go on to any FX desk even in New York, and ask the traders who the big dogs are in the FX market space. They'll always say DB then UBS because they were the only 2 who were well into double digits (Barclay has now joined them --just over 10%)

This chart actually shows you how the survey sample was done. It's representative of the fact that most FX volume is generated in London (Western Europe).

http://www.euromoneymarketdata.com/FX/Stub/Methodo...

Jan 10, 2011

That chart with the circles was pretty fun and useless in terms of understanding total market share, but it does do a good job of showing who the best FICC S&T banks are. GS, JPM, BarCap, and DB all hold considerable leads. I thought UBS was better, but apparently FX is the only thing keeping them alive.

Although there is a valid point made. London is the capital of FX so its sees the most volume. Is there a difference in the NY Market with ranking.? Obviously DB would still be number 1, but is it possible for GS to be a top five player?

Feb 16, 2015

Nice job there Bateman.

Perhaps the fact that I'm Canadian might help? and since when does working on an ETF's desk preclude someone from being knowledgeable about another asset class. FX derivatives was my talking point (and hence how i got interviews at US BBs). Nice try again.

Feb 16, 2015

hahahaha so in Bateman's eyes, Canadians aren't able to get a job at a US BB??
and if i trade equity derivatives, i can't also be proficient with FX derivatives? that's pretty moronic.

CD which Canadian school did you go to?

Apr 24, 2013

What does being Canadian or interviewing for ETF desks have to do with anything I said? My point was that if you were still going for SA/FT interviews 4 months ago, then you're still in school and not an industry professional.

CanadianTrader, get off his dick.

Feb 16, 2015

"I'd rather believe anything in a Citi and MS research report on FICC/IB.."... you mean the one line about GS CS DB and UBS... and the colored circles?.... as opposed to the survey of clients with assets of about 175 trillion?

mmmm.. i think i'd rather believe the buy side clients who give these FX sell-side desks their deal flow.

as i said! ask any Managing Director/Global Head of Fixed Income on any floor (yes even Citigroup) and they'll tell you UBS and DB run the FX market, i'm not even sure why this is up for debate?...

and it's funny how Bateman has tried to discredit CreditDerivatives, he's been putting up valid points for quite sometime now.

p.s. @CanadianTrader lol! yah there's no way a Canadian could get a US BB trading desk job rolls eyes

Feb 16, 2015

moving on from my citizenship, I'll point out a few things:

Gekko21, in regards to your question regarding New York rankings, yes, GS is likely a top 5 player.

Essentially you take the current ranking and remove HSBC and RBS because their NY presence in FX is marginal at best.
Then, we knock off a few percentage points from the euro BBs (DB, UBS and Barcap) and add a few points to GS, Citi and JPM). But again, NY rankings wouldn't hold much relevancein FX, since it still lags behind London substantially.

As for whether or not UBS would lose market share in the post 2008 world, the reality is that FX dealing is a low-capital commitment business with respect to other Fixed Income areas. That being said, due to the problems at UBS, they would be expected to take a big hit in more capital-intensive Fixed Income businesses (which it did), but it would be relatively easy to maintain a strong FX business.

They'll likely lose a few points to Credit Suisse directly, because for current UBS clients its the logical move if they get a little worried, but in any event, FX keeps UBS in the game, for the reason i just mentioned .

Bateman, no hard feelings or anything. I was on an FX derivatives desk for the last three summers in Canada, that's where my currency knowledge stems from

CD~