What does Treasury Sales do??

smithcovering's picture
Rank: Chimp | 10

Hello everyone

Would really appreciate your thoughts on this.. have searched through the threads but to no avail....do they sit on the trading floor like other S&T people do (target clients are treasury departments of corporates)??

I heard that this is a rather boring product area and the Sales do earn as much comparing to say equities sales, is that true?

Any advice would be highly appreciated! Many thanks

Comments (109)

Apr 22, 2008

apologies meant to say "Sales do NOT earn as much"...

thanks again for any advice!

    • 1
Apr 22, 2008

i may be totally wrong about this, but is this possibly similar to money market sales? FYI I summered at a BB last year and am going back to a diff one for FT - but in my experience, for S&T - almost all sales bonuses are the same for analysts - at least first year out. Obviously there are buckets - but variability of bonuses doesn't become significantly tied to group performance until you're a bit higher up the food chain.

On our desk, the primary clients are money market funds, which tend to be short term investors with relatively small appetites for risk, who invest in securities w/ short maturities (i.e. ~ 80% of our business is securities that mature in 13 months or less.) The portfolio managers that we cover buy a variety of fixed-income products, including commercial paper, treasury bonds, agency discount notes & coupons, mortgages, short corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, etc. Commercial paper trades almost exclusively on the money market desk, and is one of the oldest securities in the financial markets. Commonly referred to as "C.P.", it is a short term obligation of a corporation: companies borrow money from investors (i.e. money market fund portfolio managers), and in return, the investors receive 'paper agreements' issued in the company's name, specifying the date at which the investor will be repaid the principal amount of his loan, as well as the rate of interest the investor will earn for having loaned that corporation its cash for that specified amount of time.

In addition to money funds, we also cover a lot of securities lenders, which act as depositories for their clients (i.e. hold securities on behalf of their investing clients.) In their role as a depositors, the securities lenders have the right to loan out securities (for the specified amount of time in which the positions are in their possession) and often borrow cash in exchange for the loan (as a cheaper alternative to a loan from a commercial bank.) The money market sales team facilitates securities lenders by loaning them money in exchange for borrowing bonds, in order to cover positions that the firm is short (i.e. if we are unable to obtain a bond that we are short in the primary marketplace, we often call securities lenders to locate the position - they benefit by borrowing cash 'cheaply', we benefit by covering a firm-short.)

Finally, we also have a few corporations and hedge funds as clients, however, they are certainly in the minority, as they tend to have a greater appetite for risk and therefore invest in some products that are not actively traded on our desk.

Apr 22, 2008

under my desk than trade Treasuries

Apr 23, 2008

many thanks for the inputs!

Apr 23, 2008

Bump. Any insight anyone can give today would be awesome.

Apr 23, 2008

.

Apr 23, 2008

Same group, different bank. But pure sales/RM rather than BO.

Apr 23, 2008

anyone?

    • 1
Apr 23, 2008

oh and I will try to get back to you as quickly as possible

Apr 23, 2008

I'm interested to learn more about your career path

Apr 23, 2008

How do you add value? Do you also do some rates structuring or is your main function maintaining client relationships?

Apr 23, 2008

I think it would be great if you could do a quick run down of your career and how you ended up in your seat. And just to get the ball rolling.

  1. What skills do you think are the most important to have in order to be successful?
  2. How would you describe what you do as opposed to other sales roles in less liquid products?
  3. Do you have any good war stories? Client related or just something that has happened in the UST market that a normal student might not know about? (An example would be that during QE2 everyone would buy UST in the morning because they knew the Fed would come in and buy the bonds at the end of the day. One day a large bank (I believe MS) sold 2 yards to the Fed in the morning so they didn't need to buy anymore that day which left everyone hanging.
Apr 23, 2008

I have an interview coming up and have a list of questions that I prepared answers to. Do you mind reviewing it and critiquing my answers?

Apr 23, 2008

1.) As far as Career path its actually a good story. I came out of undergrad with a degree in economics, and I really wanted to get into finance, so I actually interviewed in a bunch of different places, but my grades were shit and I didn't know a ton about finance, my school name got me the interviews. So no one would take me and I had a buddy who was basically working a "brokerage house" that was about as close to a pump and dump boiler room as you can get without getting shut down. (These guys were real scumbags, they would front run clients and all that good stuff, but they were smart enough to never get caught) So I worked there for about a year when I was cold calling one day looking for a new account and I happened to call up the MD of Lehman's treasury desk, as we had somehow acquired his info, and i guess he was in a good mood, so he let me pitch him, and he liked my style enough that he invited me out for a drink and told me they had a spot on the sales desk to fill and I could come work for him. From there my career path was pretty standard, and now I should be up for a directorship this year at my current bank, (I bailed out of Lehman a few years before the crash, and build enough of a client base at my current firm, that I survived the layoffs although they still aren't really over).

2.) My main role is basically client relationships, however treasuries are often used in some of the complex securities our PHD's are always dreaming up, so am usually working in an advisory role letting the structuring desks know what different bonds might cost them, helping them out a bit actually designing the securities, but most of what I do is making markets. Recently I was working on developing a new trading software and I made the rounds selling it (or giving it away to the bigger clients) to our clients, so different tasks will come up now and again.

3.)Honestly if you want to work sales in really any market except equities, you have to know your shit inside and out. I'm on the phone all day with some of the brightest hedge fund managers, and it is there job to try to screw me over and my job to try to do the same without pissing them off too much. You need to be able to do math quickly, speak with confidence, and be informed about the market. But honestly there is not a ton you can learn in school. If you wanna work Sales I would definitely recommend a major in finance (economics is fine too but it helps to have a basic understanding of different products when interviewing). But other than that VBA is useful but we have guys to basically set you up, so I would recommend a broad based finance major and good GPA to you perspective monkeys.

4.)My role is extremely different from less liquid roles. The mortgage guys happen to sit about 20 feet from our desk so I'll compare them to us. Those guys are in an hour after us and leave an hour earlier, sometimes more. They don't even do a ton of structuring so its not more quanty or anything like that, they just have less constant buying and selling (I would say volume but thats not really accurate as they have a shit ton of volume it just comes in less frequent bursts). So I would say our desk is a little more "active" and maybe there is a little less to actually know. I think you basically deal with the same caliber client in any part of fixed income (even something as relatively simple as treasuries) as a more complex product does not mean a more sophisticated client, and often it is the exact opposite. (Who buys a security when a lot of the time the senior sales guy doesn't even know what the fuck it is?)

    • 2
Apr 23, 2008

Coolstorybro-just post them up.

Apr 23, 2008

I'd like to keep it private, can I pm them to you?
Only about 4 questions I have prepared so far so it shouldn't take any more than a couple of minutes to glance over

Apr 23, 2008
coolstorybro:

I'd like to keep it private, can I pm them to you?
Only about 4 questions I have prepared so far so it shouldn't take any more than a couple of minutes to glance over

Who gives a shit bro, it is not like your questions are going to be some magical bullshit. This site was designed to help prepare students and seeing actual feedback from a working professional falls into all those categories.

Sellthefed, it is up to you, but for the other posters I wouldn't answer the questions unless he posts them. And trust me if you start excepting PMs like that, will get a lot more. Better to have them in the open.

Apr 23, 2008

sure go ahead

Apr 23, 2008

Welcome to WSO!

Have you ever participated in your firm's recruiting process, and, if so, what qualities do you typically look for in candidates? What is the entire process like from beginning to end?

How many nights a week are you out with clients?

Apr 23, 2008

I don't actually look through resumes but I do interviews whenever we are hiring. I am like the 3rd or 4th interview you'd probably do. Honestly we first look at whether we have anyone who has "recommended" a candidate (ie a connection), and how important that person really is. (believe it or not having an analyst on the desk pulling for you is surprisingly helpful provided people like the analyst). After that it is probably work experience and then GPA with school name affecting both of those. But again I do not read resumes so I am sorry I cannot be more helpful. In the interviews I can say I want someone who I like and who is smart. I don't have a specific list buy just try to be personable. Those stories about the assholes from Lehman in Liar's Poker are not true in my experience. Most guys on Wall Street are good guys and hard working and not looking to screw you over. Just try to relax and make him like you. Thats the most important thing honestly.

I go out probably on average 2-3 nights a week. Not a great job if your married but damn did I have some fun on the corporate card while I was still single.

Apr 23, 2008

I also just promoted this to the front page. Someone else can add a picture. The last time I tried to add a picture I broke the computer.

Apr 23, 2008

Welcome.

It's nice of you to take the time and help out.

Apr 23, 2008

What exactly is it that you do on a day to day basis? Can you please explain exactly what the sales job entails?
You mention you are on the phone all day with HF managers etc, what exactly are you 'selling' them. Since you do not trade, how do you generate P&L?

Apr 23, 2008

Uh Ill have to review my prior posts but I don't believe I said I specifically generate P&L. If I said that I was mistaken. Basically we get paid a spread on each sale to a client. Those get tallied and I guess that is sort of a sales P&L. Basically I get in around 6:15, 6:45 the latest so I can let the Hong Kong guys hand off the book. Then I take my seat fire up my computer and I am on the phone or Bloomberg chat all day taking orders and making markets. Ill sometimes head off to help the structuring guys or work on a project but mostly what I do is sell bonds. The other aspect of my daily job is sales meetings with clients. We meet the guys buying bonds from us, address there concerns, get them set up. Now sometimes we will take on direct risk. (ie someone wants to short 10's and at that moment there is not enough volume for their order so we will buy the bonds and lend them) This means we would have to hedge our position. We usually end up making money when we take these trades. Then as previously mentioned I'll take clients out for drinks, or a game or whatever is on the agenda, get up the next morning and do it all over again. Thats pretty much all there is day to day once you have a client base. Let me know if you want more specific details of my daily job. I'm usually out by 5:30 - 6:30. Sometimes later but not usually.

Apr 23, 2008

Sellthefed, thanks for doing this Q&A. I have a question -- give the VOL in the market right now, are your days more hectic and your clients more animated / harassing you to make markets / do trades you wouldnt normally do, etc? If you can't tell, I know near zero about S&T, just curious.

Thanks,
Patrick

Apr 23, 2008
WallStreetOasis.com:

Sellthefed, thanks for doing this Q&A. I have a question -- give the VOL in the market right now, are your days more hectic and your clients more animated / harassing you to make markets / do trades you wouldnt normally do, etc? If you can't tell, I know near zero about S&T, just curious.

Thanks,
Patrick

Hahaha it has been absolutely insane lately. We are seeing some swings I haven't seen since Lehman collapsed. I don't know if there has been pressure to necessarily do trades we wouldn't normally do, however we did suggest to a couple clients they should get short bonds as a hedge or an outright bet as a few guys legitimately thought bonds had to reverse eventually so we have been fielding some pretty angry calls from guys who are getting squeezed. But we have clients who like getting paid to lend to the shorts so it works out well for us!

Apr 23, 2008

I am looking to get in to trading and was wondering what your thoughts were on how hiring into S&T is looking for full-time positions this fall?
I have heard that hiring in general into IB is going to be pretty light given the state of the economy but especially light into S&T...

Any info would be helpful.

Thanks

Apr 23, 2008
Dr3456:

I am looking to get in to trading and was wondering what your thoughts were on how hiring into S&T is looking for full-time positions this fall?
I have heard that hiring in general into IB is going to be pretty light given the state of the economy but especially light into S&T...

Any info would be helpful.

Thanks

Yeah it's pretty bad out there. We are only hiring about half the amount of analysts we normally do I believe. Best thing you can do is build connections to get in. I had to fire 2 guys last thursday and it just blows. Nothing you can do about it though. My bank doesn't have a hiring freeze and they can pretty much always afford analysts, but they are cutting back to be sure

Apr 23, 2008

We fired one "associate" and one VP. We have already had massive layoffs but the boys upstairs told us anything else we would do would be appreciated which is code for fire someone. The associate was doing an ok job at best and started showing up late and we even caught him watching a tv show on his ipod under his desk about a week ago so that was an easy decision. He was escorted out by a security guard immediately and given some severance. Quick and painful. The VP lost a lot of clients in the last few months, and he's fucked up. But the guy works hard he's just not a salesman. He came over as part of a package they stole from another firm, and he had connection near the top protecting him but we just couldn't justify keeping him. He doesn't earn his spot anymore. But it's rough cause the guy has two kids and a mortgage and we all like him, but we just had to cut costs and his name was the most obvious. He was really the last justifiable firing on the desk and now we are down to the bare bones of the operation. He was given a week to come in sit as his desk and call head hunters but he no longer has access to his computer except for limited access to his email account to help him get a job. We have all tried to put in calls for him cause he is really like the nicest guy you'll ever meet and absolutely hilarious when we go drinking. So the process pretty much depends on rank and whether or not you are well liked to be honest.

Apr 23, 2008

Question-

Have you ever thought about changing to a different finance career path or a non-finance one?

Apr 23, 2008

How do you find new clients? Industry conferences? Meeting people? As a VP, are you required to bring in a certain amount in sales each year?

Furthermore, what is the breakdown of your clients based on the type of fund, such as pension funds, hedge funds, endowments, regional banks, etc. I'm not looking for exact percentage, just a general idea of where you focus your energy.

Apr 23, 2008

In meeting a lot of different people. What traits do you think are most important for sales vs trading? What makes a great sales guy vs an average sales guy? What personal characteristics make you good at your job? I realize that was a lot of questions that were similar in scope, but any advice you could give on one or all of them would be very helpful to the site.

Apr 23, 2008

What's your opinion on the future of S&T, both for traders and sales?

You mind telling us a little about the pay at the VP/Director level for guys in sales?

Once youre in sales, are you stuck in sales?

Apr 23, 2008

Ill answer the last four in order.

1.)I think you'll find that once you hit a certain level of seniority most guys wouldn't switch products. As a sales guy all i could really switch to is another bank or I guess something like raising capital for a HF, which in no way appeals to me. And other than that I have had those dreams of starting a blog or website like this one and monetizing it. Some cross between marketwatch and WSO and make enough money to buy a nice house in Aruba and live out my days there hahaha but no I have never seriously considered quitting finance. It pays too well.

2.)Actually our bank has the recognition of a BB and therefore once they have enough money clients line up to trade with us. For one we are the only ones who can handle the volume and it is sort of a rite of passage for them I guess. I am not required to bring in new clients but I do need to get my clients to trade as often as I can and I'll call them up with new swaps or products we have and sell those but basically I take orders. Although the structured product sales side of our business is starting to pick as some of the pension funds get back into the swing of things and want more complex AAA rated securities. (Which now I guess are more reliable than the US Govt', HA what a joke). Most of our clients are Hedge Funds. They trade the most and therefore we focus on them the most. Probably 55-65% are HF, maybe 20-25% Pension/Mutual and some scattered regional banks.

3.)A great sales guy can bullshit. I can be interested in any number of insanely boring topics, and act like I give a shit. You have to be confident and always seem to know what you are talking about. And honestly one of the most important skills I guess i should have mentioned before is you HAVE to be up on sports news, movie quotes, and political jokes. You would probably be shocked how often I quote Caddyshack, Airplane, and Top Gun to clients. Its like a weird skill that sales guys seem to posses. As to Sales vs Trader, Traders are always selling. They have to sell their positions to their bosses and Sales guys on why their shitty bonds are actually a great deal for our clients. The skill sets are extremely similar except in general traders will be a bit more individualistic (kind of fruity but thats the best word for it) and a bit more quant-y.

4.)Prop traders are going to be spun off. You have our president to thank for that. No two ways about it. The model just does not work with the new regulations. But sales desks and flow traders will always be there and they will continue to take prop positions and call them "hedges". Now after this round of layoffs I have to think that these numbers will hold until things pick up and desks will undoubtedly swell again. They will prosper when the economy turns around and the market stops giving me motion sickness. I think this is likely the bottom for job prospects and in 12-18 months things should be picking up again barring any new regulations and provided these idiots don't fuck up writing the Dodd-Frank rules too badly. (Most banks have already priced in a normal level of government fuck up into their hiring decisions).

    • 1
Apr 23, 2008

Oh sorry didnt answer the second part of the fourth question.
Uh once you are in sales at any kind of senior level, yeah you are pretty much IN SALES. I have seen some guys branch off and become investors o traders for HF's or lateral back to trading in the bank, but generally guys stay in sales. I gotta say man I think it's better. You get a lot of great perks (some people get tired of taking clients out but honestly it's freaking story trading and booze paid for by my company, what could be better), great pay, and at the end of the day when the world blows up its not your money on the line. You make a bad call, you lose a client, and as long as you keep your job you don't lose a minute of sleep over it after a while. So being "in sales" is a pretty good deal. Uh VP/Director basically means people start handing you huge clients and you get to partake in all the fun stuff like dealing with HR problems, interviews, and firings. Other than that there is also a substantial pay increase involved

Apr 23, 2008

The general consensus on here is that in trading, your only real exit opp is trading somewhere else--from your view, once you have been a trader for 8-10 years, are there a lot of other exit opps out there/what would they be? (i.e. going to a HF, AM, switching to sales, etc...)

I know you are in sales, but I guess from your experience/what you have seen the traders do when they leave/get fired?

Apr 23, 2008

When will 10s30s finally steepen?

Apr 23, 2008

Again last 2 in order.

1.)Once you are 8-10 years in odds are you aren't switching to sales. Plenty of guys go over to HF's, AM, some even start their own funds, other guys say fuck and just trade there own money, which by 10 years should be considerable. (Only at least decent traders last that long). If you are a good trader your opportunities are endless. Banks and funds will line up to get there hands on you. But most guys will stay in trading at least in my experience.

2.)I'm not totally sure if you are asking my opinion or testing my knowledge but either way here goes. The only plausible mathematical way for the yield curve to steepen would be for 10's and bonds to rise (in yield not price) as short term rates won't go negative. Now this whole shit show following the downgrade was that investors freaked out and sprinted for a flight to safety. Anything to avoid equity volatility and just earn something on their money and give them the peace of mind that it would be there tomorrow. Now this was total panic buying that pushed bonds (btw bonds = 30 year treasury) and 10's up (again in price, yields have declined as they are inverse to bond prices), but honestly with this kind of volatility I just don't see them coming back down in the next few weeks. Now obviously these prices are unsustainable but I would say that until we see some kind of bottom in the equity markets no one is willing to cash out of treasuries. So to answer your question I would think the curve will stay flat and maybe go a bit flatter if volatility in equities remains at current levels. I don't want to put a time frame on it though cause things are just too damn uncertain right now.

Apr 23, 2008

Thanks; wasn't testing your knowledge, just curious your opinion. Sounds pretty in line with consensus I think.

I think the real story is front end spreads, I had a guy in equities ask me about the negative basis in x-ccy euro swaps, which is when you know it's a real top in the market vol. Sounds like you cover fast money guys, so you do more of the rel val swap stuff (invoice, headline, IMM, off the runs) or the macro funds?

Apr 23, 2008

And I hate to disagree but there are PLENTY of traders who move to sales even after 8-10 years. Couple of months ago there was a huge name in mortgages who moved over to the sales side (guys on the street will know who this is).

Apr 23, 2008

How do you think that the sales side will be affected by the dodd-frank/upcoming swaps regulation? I had spent some time with swaps traders this summer and they were all pretty pessimistic about things, so I was just curious as to how this might affect the sales side (if at all). Also, how do you think the regulation will effect the industry as a whole (obviously this depends a lot on implementation and the number of changes its likely going to be going through until december), but just curious to see how you think things will shake out

Apr 23, 2008

To bear flatten-I have heard some stories as well, and honestly I am not all that up to date on the stats here so you could well be right. Most of the guys on my desk who are there 8-10 or more years have been life long treas salesmen. I was kind of just assuming based on my own experience.

To LeveRAGE-As far as legal has informed me there aren't any new regulations on the actual sales of treasury bonds that would shrink our market share. Now the swaps guys are gonna have some problems as the entire derivatives industry comes under scrutiny. A lot of the structured products guys are going to see their margins evaporate. So I would be feeling pretty pessimistic too. Luckily my racket should survive the regulatory purge. To how it affects the industry as a whole, I am speaking in a very general sense here and I could well be wrong, but from what some of my trader buddies have said they think we could see a big growth in prop shops and start ups. The start ups would avoid the regulations (with under I think its 15 investors) and the prop traders have to go somewhere. I think we will see a decline the profitability of trading at banks (they are trying to structure it to keep prop traders, or spin them off into a separate entity but it just seems like too much trouble for the traders honestly.) and a rise in smaller funds/shops as well as a rise in the amount of massive hedge funds as great talent becomes available and somewhat cheaper as they might soon find themselves in need of work. It is a matter of time before some fund puts together a "superstar team" that goes the way of LTCM, and then the public anger machine will turn their attention back to hating hedge funds and maybe leave banks alone. (Not that there isn't enough anger towards hedge funds already)

Apr 23, 2008

How easy was it to catch on when you first started? I know you said you had a degree in economics, but you said you had a shitty GPA, so I don't know if you knew a lot going in. Was it pretty difficult to become a top performer or average performer?

Appreciate all your input so far. Thanks.

I think that we are all clinging to a great many piano tops...

Apr 23, 2008

By the time I got to Lehman I had been a broker (had to pass the test) so I had a basic knowledge of finance and good knowledge of equities. I never got an MBA, but as I started with Lehman I began to start studying for the CFA and I would it probably took me 2-3 months to get really well informed on treasuries and maybe 1.5-2 years before they would let me anywhere near the big clients. But for more complicated desks it could easily take a year or more be well informed on the product, although the recruits seem to get smarter and more driven each year. Honestly to get to the top you do have to work hard but there are a lot of politics involved, especially surrounding bonuses and promotions, but in the end the top performers will usually rise to the top because sales skill is pretty measurable. (Not to the same degree as trading but still easily trackable).

Apr 23, 2008

I've been reading about companies offering software to trade fixed income electronically, instead of over the phone. Obviously, this might affect you and the spreads you can make. If the industry moves in this direction, with smaller spreads and electronic trading for fixed income, would your job change from focusing on treasuries to focusing on structured products and other high value-add products? Is your bank working on a platform like this?

Apr 23, 2008

how many hours a week do you work?

Apr 23, 2008

Hello, and thanks in advance for answering my questions.

I'm currently working as an intern in treasury for a large corporation. I work in the trading room, although I am primarily responsible for investment analytics and I am also responsible for the collateral management process of our interest rate swaps.

Given my current position, and my interest in being involved in financial analytics, I've been looking at some other full time treasury positions at BBs and large corporations (I graduate in December 2011). However, my ultimate goal is to go into investment banking.

Would you recommend treasury as a good start towards a career in IBanking if I can not find an IB analyst position out of college? In your area of treasury sales at a BB, what are some of the ups and downs for incoming college grads?

Apr 23, 2008

hey, so i actually interned this summer in rates and spent a lot of time with the salesmen,,,in terms of areas where i feel that i still have a ton to learn, i would say its basis stuff and the whole process of the auction roll (when the salesman asked the trader, Where do you do the 5 yr roll? or when the trader was speaking about rich/cheap (he would say roll-adjusted, the 5 trades too rich to 2s, 10s...

if you could briefly explain this it would be greatly appreciated

Do you recommend anything to really learn the roll and its language well?
I picked up Garbade's fixed income analytics and am starting to read that, but am looking for other stuff

also, i did my 2nd rotation on an EM credit desk (and actually found that side of the business much more simple and easy to understand (as fundamental and mean reversion trades were extremely popular) and was able to add more value in my opinion
thx

IVY for Life

Apr 23, 2008

Are there any users on here that people talk about in your bank/circle?

What banks/hedefunds do traders/sales fear the most in terms of your bank losing money by trading/selling with/to them?

Apr 23, 2008

Do you believe Meredith Whitney is correct on her municipal bond call?

Apr 23, 2008

Hi sellthefed, thanks for your advice so far :)

Are there summer internship positions available for undegraduates at the major BBs for sales? How is the recruiting scene on Wall Street for NYU Stern graduates w.r.t. sales positions? Also, what is the pay scale for entry-level salesmen?

Apr 23, 2008

Hi Sellthefed,

  • I am about to enter into a masters in finance program in the UK, and I was curious as to how the street perceives masters students and whether they are a useful asset to a desk or deadweight?
  • Also since I am doing a masters (and looking for thesis ideas) I was kind of curious as to what you see as the next big trend in finance and how academia could contribute to that trend?

Thanks in advance for you comment and/or advice.

PK

Apr 23, 2008

I'll ask the obvious question - what is the comp of sales guys vs. traders on the same desk? Do you mind sharing some recent bonus amounts post crisis?

Also, how common is lateralling into Sales at the Associate + level coming from non S&T roles. (I'm in consulting, but I have an MFE and decent product knowledge). I'm interested in making a move to Sales but I don't want to start at the bottom.

Apr 23, 2008

Thanks a lot for this, much appreciated.

  1. One thing I always wondered, what exactly makes a client 'yours' ? Isn't it possible for a HF manager to buy/sell securities from multiple banks? Or for him to deal with multiple sales guys at the same bank? If he calls you up for advice and you tell him to buy security X, couldn't he just buy that from someone else? Is there any legal binding between you and your client? Or is it all ad hoc?
  2. Similarly, how exactly do you get new clients? Since you work at a BB, do you have buy side guys lining up outside your door and giving you a call to make orders? Do you end up cold calling buyside guys or working your contacts?
Apr 23, 2008

good thread, thanks for taking the time sellthefed

Apr 23, 2008

Question - how much do sales guys respect the risk management team?

Apr 23, 2008

Hi selthefed, thanks for the post. My question is:

remember when you were in undergrad. Did you know for sure S&T is right for you. Was the high pay/lifestyle/prestige enough to motivate you to work hard and go for it? Everyone knows getting into BB S&T/IB etc is difficult, even more so if non-target. (well, i'm from Canadian non-target which is much worse, the route right now for me is TAS big 4 => break in, but that's a different story).

Now, looking back i'm sure you believe this job is ideal, considering the perks, and the difficulty of obtaining the position. But do you think it justifies the time you spent working hard to get where you are today. Perhaps when you were young there were something you really wanted to do but, instead chose to try to break into finance...

I'm assuming you're in your mid/late 30s, soon there will be that period called the mid-life crisis when you may have to examine whether the high pay/perks are enough to justify your life. I just want to hear your honest opinion (from someone who worked hard, has the smarts to get there) whether or not you're honestly happy. Not from the money/perks perspective, but from using that part of your life (age 20 to now) to get where you are today and looking at the opportunity costs of what you could not do during that time.

Thanks for your response. I'll be graduating soon, and is quickly realizing the potential out there. While i'm still young there's much I can try to accomplish. Not sure if spending 8-10 years in S&T (if i break in, which is unlikely) would end up with a life of no regrets.

Considering what else is worth pursuing, but honestly, from the monetary perspective, nothing else comes close. From the personal enrichment perspective, my goals may be too ambitious and there's no structured path of progression not to mention very high risk.

Apr 23, 2008

What's the logical path for you mid- or longer-term? Keep on keeping on and be a client-facing salesman at the director and MD level, work towards being head of sales, etc? Other than good client skills what (if anything) helps someone advance at the director/MD level on a BB sales desk?

Apr 23, 2008

Hey. Things have finally slowed down here so I will answer the questions in two parts. First page questions first then second page questions in order.

1.)Honestly I am not totally sure how that will change things. I know that i still take orders via bloomberg now, but only time will tell how automated everything will become. Sorry I can't be more helpful on that one.

2.) 6:30-6 basically

3.)No one I've ever met goes sales --> IB without an MBA. Also most people who start out on the trading floor have a difficult time transitioning to the insane hours an investment banker has to put in. I would say probably not as a sales desk is not a great way to get into a good MBA program from what I understand. I would get a job that will get you into a business school if you cannot get an ib job out of college.

4.)Hahaha actually only me and maybe 2-3 other guys read this site, (2 are actually analysts and another VP) but Eddie has come up now and again when he writes something funny and we will pass it around the desk.

5.)As I said before summer internships will probably be alright. It doesn't cost much and they are quite useful for lunch runs. But in all seriousness as far as i know there will be only minor cuts to summer analyst hires.

6.)Uh junior salesmen and traders are paid about the same. Senior guys break down along similar lines as well. It is mostly just by merit but the very top traders are definitely paid more, however desks can't afford to lose top sales guys so their pay is nothing to turn your nose at. I'm not gonna put actual numbers on it sorry.I actually do know a guy on the mortgage sales desk who lateraled from consulting so it is possible for sure but I wouldn't necessarily call it common, but thats probably more because it is an odd transition more than a difficult thing to do.

7.)Well after a while a client will just call you directly and deal with you. Thats why I think it really can't be automated because it is about trust. They could of course trade with any bank and any salesman, but they don't because they trust you won't screw them over. There is no binding agreement though. They pretty much line up for reasons I previously stated.

Apr 23, 2008

Now for the questions on the second page.

1.)The risk management guys get respect for sure. I have seen them save idiot traders from absolutely retarded trades on multiple occasions. They are probably not as respected as a top salesman but it's not like anybody mocks them or looks down on them.

2.) It sounds like you are asking me what you should do. Ill say that I have no regrets and love being in finance, but no I didn't necessarily get a call from God telling me this is what i was born for or anything like that. Look if you work in finance it will consume your life and it's a tough thing to quit cause no one pays like a BB, so if you are not totally sure you want it then don't waste your time, but in all honesty I would rather be a 50 yr old MD with a ton of cash and mild regrets than a 50 year old Middle Manager wondering how much better life could have been.

3.)Well hopefully Ill be running the desk as an MD in the next 2-5 years. After that who knows. I don't have a ton of interest in any executive positions so I'm not totally sure to be honest.

I'm gonna get back to work. Sorry I couldn't give more detailed responses, but mondays are always crazy. Ill answer more questions later tonight or tommorow.

Apr 23, 2008

Great stuff - thank you so much for answering these questions.

Apr 23, 2008

How's your relationship with the guys you work with/around? Have they become your closest personal friends or more of work buddies?

Apr 23, 2008

What's your view towards research? Do you basically just follow your firm's research or are there other sources that you use? How do sales people interact with research people on a day to day basis, do you have any stories?

Apr 23, 2008

Can you tell us the base comp for an Associate ?

Apr 23, 2008

I have an interview coming up for a BB commodities trading position

What can I expect and how do I do well? Is the most important thing to make sure the interviewer like me?

Apr 23, 2008

I completed an IBD internship this past summer, but really want to get into S&T for full time. What do you think the best way to spin this experience on my resume in order to get an interview?

Also, how would you look at an interviewee that had banking experience and what would you recommend when going into an interview?

Thanks!

Apr 23, 2008

Any significance behind the name "sellthefed"?

Apr 23, 2008

Great thread, thanks sellthefed.

People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can't trust people Jeremy

Apr 23, 2008

Hey sorry guys. Was out with clients the last few nights. Last night was rough. Worst part of the job is when you go out with a really fun client....on a weekday. Next morning is by far the biggest draw back to a sales role.

But I only had a quick dinner tonight so again questions in order.

1.)Definitely. I met two of my best friends on the desk. They are some guys (and girls), and you definitely develop a real camaraderie with them.

2.)I'd say we are pretty close with the research guys. They let us know their views on the markets and we can choose to relay them to clients. A part of my job is actually selling firm research. But no I don't have any stories really. We have a good relationship with those guys, and I have some great friends in the research department.

3.)Uh I think there is a range I'm not entirely sure as I don't handle specific comp. My guess would be somewhere in the area of 100-150? plus bonus? Someone can correct me. It's been a few years.

4.)Know your market and study your brain teasers. Honestly though if the interviewer likes you and you are confident that is the most important thing. I can tell you I have never hired a guy I didn't think would be a good fit on the desk despite his credentials. I don't really care if your a 4.0 from Wharton who can quote the yield of every bond on the curve. If your an arrogant asshole I'm not gonna hire you.

5.)I don't think there is really a way to "spin" it. I'll tell you that in my experience banking guys are some of the hardest working guys around, and a completed internship definitely tells me you are going to be a good worker. Other than that have a good story for why you'd prefer trading over banking, know the market for which you are interviewing, and try to get your banker buddies to pass your resume to their friends in S&T. (everybody knows somebody regardless of department).

6.)Haha no not particularly. Not a big fan of the FED personally so thought it would be a good username

Apr 23, 2008

I know you said you don't want to network, which is fine, but when is the best time of the day to reach out to alumni in S&T roles? For bankers I usually send my emails early on, around 9, but I know for S&T guys that is crunch time right before the open. Then I tried sending it in the middle of the day around noon-1 but then I think those guys were probably deep in the shit and didn't have time to field questions. And then I thought about sending it after the markets close but at that point they probably just want to get out/meet clients right? So if someone were to try and reach out, whens the best time to do so?

Apr 23, 2008

Great thread, thanks for your insight.

Thoughts on equity sales?

Also, given the current job market, would it be unwise to take a non-finance sales role and wait out the storm, or would this experience be useless if I want to pursue sales and trading?

Apr 23, 2008

Last 2.

1.)Uh as long as you are emailing I would just send it as early as possible. Preferably pre-8:30. that way they have the whole day and will be able to answer you whenever there is a little downtime. There is no opportune time...but if they plan on answering you they will mark it down and get back to you. You may have to wait a little. Sometimes I'll remember about and email the week later so be patient and persistent.

2.)I know a guy who sells treasuries for another bank who used to sell hondas and was like the top salesman in the country. Now hes a VP or MD I don't remember which. But its not the opportune route. Better to be in a BB in a non-sales role, unless its a really cool job. I'd probably take a good non-finance job over the BO I guess...

Apr 23, 2008

Thanks for you comments so far, they have been extremely helpful on the sales career as it is much less talked about.

Two Questions:

1) Is it common for people to move from buyside FI trading over to a MM or BB corp bond sales job? The sales role interests me more and wanted to know if this switch was eventually possible or a bad idea.

2) Are there any books or reading you would recommend to improve one's skills that would be needed for a sales job at a MM or BB firm? Liar's Poker is really the only book ever mentioned and wanted to know if there was anything more out there you recommend.

Apr 23, 2008

To the guy with a question on the roll; the roll is where the WI will trade to the current - since they haven't issued it yet, they don't know the coupon so they have to refer to it by yield instead of px. The roll is generally important for RM and other guys who primarily have a mandate to stay with on the runs or other guys (i.e. someone w/ a long term curve trade may roll their positions depending on where on the curve they are, what time line and what curve exposure you get on rolldown). Roll is curve, bad days, liquidity premium basically.

Why didn't you ask this in your internship?

Apr 23, 2008

1.)Yes absolutely. Trading to sales is as simple as contacting HR.

2.)Fiasco is good actually. Not totally applicable to my job but still a good book. If you want to read Fabozzi its probably overkill but could help in an interview.

3.) Thanks. Didn't see that one

Apr 23, 2008

Are good salespeople in your firm/industry generally 'born' (they have a natural salesman personality) or can they be 'made' (they don't start off with these skills but acquire them later on)? I know theres an element of both, but I just wanted to know how it broke down in your opinion. Up until university I was a pretty shy guy, I had lots of friends but never really went out of my way to try and meet new people. Since university started I find I'm a lot more outgoing, and loving shooting the shit. I was really interested in sales but I'm not sure if you more or less have to be a salesman from an early age to do well in the business.

Apr 23, 2008

Good thread!

Apr 23, 2008

Do you see your sales assistants (middle office) sitting on the desk ever move into the full time front office sales role?

Apr 23, 2008

1.) Absolutely not. If you can do the job no one cares when you learned the skills. Sales is about confidence, and confidence can pretty much be learned. Sounds like you are on the right track, so keep at it and you could be a great salesman.

2.)Sure. Maybe not as much in this economic climate, but young guys who want to move up always have a place on Wall Street. It's about getting in with the guys on the desk and having them help you out.

Apr 23, 2008

Hi sellthefed,

I think what you're doing here is great.

My plan is to enroll in business school next year, and although I think most of the traditional b-school jobs (IB, MC, f500, etc) are fine, the job I'd really like to get is Sales at a BB (perhaps something like EM or US rates, or HY or IG credit).

However, I've encountered a lot of discouraging information. For one, a member of career services at Chicago Booth (which is seen as one of the better b-schools for S&T) said that banks are really winding down associate recruitment, and are focusing on analysts. Another person I spoke to who is a former trader and currently in b-school said that of the few people who get S&T internships, if you aren't former military, female or a minority, you basically need to have prior S&T experience already.

Does this jive with what you are seeing? Is the MBA basically DOA for S&T now?

Thanks.

Apr 23, 2008

Its a shitty job market. There are no two ways about it. But B-School is 2-3 year full time right? So odds are the market turns around by then. Right now they are not DOA if you have connections, but it is definitely tough. If you want to be in Sales it is undoubtedly easier to go in as an analyst, so that may be something to consider if you are dead seat on being a salesman

Apr 23, 2008

Hi sellthefed,

Thanks for your response! Yes, business school is a two-year affair.

I was worried that MBAs were structurally being phased out of S&T, rather than it being a function of the job market. The logic seemed to be that a fresh MBA is about as useful as a fresh college grad, but costs more, so why pay the premium?

Unfortunately I don't think I'd be able to join as an analyst - I have 4 years of consulting experience already. I have connections at one bank...

Looks like it's a big plunge. Sales is the job I want, but I may have to hedge it with something else, otherwise b-school will be a massive waste of money!

What do you look for in b-school Associate candidates?

  • MTrader
  •  Apr 23, 2008

Do you have any good brainteasers you like to ask?

Apr 23, 2008
MTrader:

Do you have any good brainteasers you like to ask?

Yes. this is actually my favorite part of the interview. One I like to ask is if you have a 5 year treasury and all other rates are at 0 what would you pay for the bond.

the other one thats more fun than anything but is one of my favorites (told to me by a former Credit Suisse government bond trader) is about basketball, and is kind of unfair/has some kinks if you bring in other factors but is a question I just love to ask. Also the way someone responds says a lot about their personality. You are a point guard for the knicks. there are 2 seconds left in the fourth and you are down by 2. You have the option to take a field goal (2 pointer) with a 50% probability of hitting it, or you can take a 3 pointer which has a 30% chance of hitting it. what do you do?

If anyone posts up answers I'll confirm them.

  • MTrader
  •  Apr 23, 2008

Uh no idea about the price of the bond....

you would take the 3 pointer because assuming no home field advantage and that the crowd isn't a factor you have a 50 - 50 shot in over time which means your odds of winning with the field goal is 50% x 50% = 25% < the 30% for the 3 pointer

Apr 23, 2008

Very good! SB for whoever gets the bond question

Apr 23, 2008

what are some market questions that you ask when you interview candidates?

Apr 23, 2008

I got the basketball question in an interview for S&T--- got it right thankfully....

Apr 23, 2008
westcoaster:

I got the basketball question in an interview for S&T--- got it right thankfully....

How can you get this "right"? Surely it's a personality question since the expected payoffs are very close. (please note my knowledge of basketball is shocking, European here.)

Apr 23, 2008

Hi sellthefed

What advise would you give to analysts who are just starting(2012) at BB in Sales. What are some of the common mistakes you have seen junior people make or ones that just stand out in your mind.

I am doing two 1 year desk rotations on sales desks. What would you expect to see out of a 1st or 2nd year analyst if they were on your desk?

At the end of the year, what are junior people being evaluated on?

Thanks for the time!

Apr 23, 2008

Hi Sellthefed,

Great posts!! Two questions...

1) I have heard that some salesmen are paid 100 percent commission and some are paid base plus commission. Could you elaborate on this?

2) I'm interested in becoming a treasury salesman as well. I am a financial advisor now with a Series 6 and 63 licenses. Will this help me in my job search? I'm hoping to move to a regional bank with a treasury sales desk.

Thanks!

Apr 23, 2008

thanks a lot! it's quite helpful. I'm just curious, for a treasury sales, what's the typical/major differences between serving FI client and corporate client? do you have to be really into the industry your corporate client is in, so that you have better understanding of their fund turnover, investment/product/R & D roadmap/life circle and offer better/forward looking/strategic/longer term solutions? thanks!

Apr 23, 2008

delete--lol didn't see this was in 2011

Apr 23, 2008

Hi there,

Not sure if the thread is still going......recently accepted to rotational program at large Canadian bank in sales and trading......just wondering if you could now choose the desk to be on for your future career, which would you choose as optimal in light of future industry trends, oppts for growth, comp, etc. ?

Apr 23, 2008
Comment
Apr 23, 2008
Apr 23, 2008