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.
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.
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:
- 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.
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