What's better? Starting a career in S&T in Bull Market or Bear Market

carfield's picture
Rank: Baboon | 100

The question say it all. Just to fill in my curioisity. Which of the opposite extremes provide a better long-term career path?

1) Join as Analyist at start of bear market. Volume is low, profit is scarse. But because of its relative "quietness" you learn more? Do you make money only from going Short & use of derivatives? Obviously profit goes down so bonus is sh*t.

2) Join at start of bull market. Volume is high, you make easy money, but as someone said earlier it's hard not to make money, so you learn relatively less. But money is good. Easier for promotion?

Not that you get to choose either, but in a hind-sight, what would provide a better enviornment for learning, and long term career path?

Comments (14)

May 28, 2007

Well, you're not going to learn much if it's slow as transactions aren't going on...Bull market is the easy choise.

May 28, 2007

I'll be an S&T summer associate this summer.

I'm a little nervous that if I do end up getting a a full-time offer, I would be starting in mid-2008 in what could very well be a bear market.

My question is how bad does it really get working on a trading floor in a bear market? I know this is a very general question, but what is typical? If you get to even keep your job, do bonuses go to zero? How much does it vary by desk?

May 29, 2007

I asked because my opinion was that I'd learn just as much in bear market if not more. Trading techniques of going short and/or using options and other derivatives, in an enviornment of relative low volatility and volume is quite challenging. In bull market you put a money in a pot, it just grows like a poker table. In Bear market, you really need to identify a good trading opportunity and "hit&run" approach.

May 29, 2007

carfield, you don't know how trading at a bank works. read some of the older posts.

and John it can get pretty bad, especially off today's standards. think 1st yr analyst bonos in the 10-15k range. and people are thrilled to get that.

May 29, 2007

I just want to get hired, the money will come. Welcome back Jimbo.

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May 29, 2007

Define "bull market" and "bear market"....the trading floor stretches many different products, many of which run on very different cycles. A bear market in one products usually corresponds quite nicely with a bull market in another product.

May 29, 2007

Jimbo: apologize my ignorance. No I do not have a very clear picture of how trading works, except some general perception. I am starting off FT so was wondering what implication it has for foreseeable downturn. Little bonus is better than no bonus.

skins: agreed. i'm thinking equity though.

thanks anyways.

May 29, 2007

Okay, I am starting in July, so my information may be way off base, but I believe flow trading desks make the most money when volume and volatility both remain very high. If a bull market drives down volume significantly, then issues might occur with profitability.

I am wondering if S&T might be a better place to be for a downturn since analysts are not as abundant on the trading floor. Every desk has one or possibly none. Unless trading totally ceases in the product, the analyst still has work to do. Now IBD groups could totally stop doing deals and lay off over half their analysts since they all do the same work.

May 30, 2007

They still trade equities on trading floors?!? Kidding. But seriously, bull/bear markets in equities don't really affect most of the trading floor, since the vast majority of any trading floor is FICC (fixed income, currencies, commodties). So again, it's not really all that relevant.

Also, someone said analysts are fewer in S&T--not true. From what I've seen it's very rare to not have an analyst on a desk, and you usually have a number of analysts. The mix is ideally the same as in IBD (that said, a desk in a growing area will tend to be more top heavy, but the goal is usually to have plenty of anlaysts and associates, and far fewer MDs).

May 30, 2007

If you are referring to the general equities markets... I think it depends on your product. For example energy desks will probably continue to make a killing even in a bear market... I believe that high energy prices are what could help push the economy into a recession.

May 30, 2007

Thanks, Jimbo

May 31, 2007

Well, this is my view. There is no "bullpen" in S&T. Every desk I met with over the summer had maybe one associate, one analyst, a few VP or director level people, and possibly one or two MDs. Thus, senior level people outnumbered the below VP level people. In IBD I am pretty sure it is customary for analysts and associates to outnumber VPs and above. I just interned on a trading floor and maybe this is firm dependent.

May 31, 2007
mrbubba:

Well, this is my view. There is no "bullpen" in S&T. Every desk I met with over the summer had maybe one associate, one analyst, a few VP or director level people, and possibly one or two MDs. Thus, senior level people outnumbered the below VP level people. In IBD I am pretty sure it is customary for analysts and associates to outnumber VPs and above. I just interned on a trading floor and maybe this is firm dependent.

This is exactly my experience as well.

May 31, 2007
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