Markets: graduate area of work
Markets centre around the creation, trading and distribution of financial assets and instruments. These may be bonds, equity, foreign exchange or commodity-related – and could be in derivatives or cash form. In practice, this means trying to find financial solutions in the form of financing or hedging for clients who may include corporations, financial institutions or government.
You might offer investors analysis and solutions, including the facility to trade in and out of securities and other assets, and also provide them with liquidity. Businesses in markets make money through trading margins, fees and proprietary speculation. It’s crucial to maintain and develop relationships with clients: this gives an insight into what they’re up to and may lead to fee income or provide traders with profitable transactions.
In trading, the day begins early, at 6.30 or 7.00 am. Traders make constant calls to clients, and also spend time booking trades, making markets, and talking to salespeople and investors. A day in sales usually starts slightly later, at 7.00 to 7.30 am: this area manages the relationship between the firm and investors. Work in research starts shortly after that: analysing data in search of trading recommendations, with the number-crunching being done elsewhere.
Finally, debt/equity capital markets start later and run later and are a mixture between investment banking and sales. Generally, the hours are shorter than other areas of banking, but the intensity level is higher. Markets are very innovative by nature and new businesses may develop overnight.
Graduate careers in markets, sales and trading
The financial rewards of this career are excellent and this makes it attractive to graduates. However, the reason it’s financially rewarding is because it’s intense, hard work – make sure it’s right for you. Internships can provide insight into what the work is like, and help to give you a view of the many different areas within markets. For most firms, internships are the dominant hiring route.
When you start, you will help your team of two to twelve people by preparing presentations or doing analysis (eg using spreadsheets). This is how you will learn about products and clients. Later, you will be involved in more complex transactions, executing deals and preparing paperwork. The most valuable training is on the job and comes from working alongside experienced, knowledgeable colleagues.
Skills required for graduate jobs in markets
- Numeracy, although a mathematics or science degree isn’t necessary except for some areas such as complex derivatives structuring.
- Analytical skills: these will allow you to form a mental map of the markets that helps you spot opportunities and problems.
- Integrity: an analyst can destroy a bank if they make mistakes but don’t tell anyone.
Thanks to Mark Woolley, managing director at Deutsche Bank, for his help with this article.
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