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Traders are responsible for making prices and executing trades in equities, bonds, commodities and foreign exchange, usually dealing on behalf of, or for the benefit of, investment banks.

Trading offers high levels of responsibility, good promotional opportunities and impressive financial rewards including generous salaries and large bonuses.

What does a trader do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Traders generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • flow traders – buy and sell financial products on behalf of their bank’s clients
  • propriety traders – trade on behalf of the bank itself
  • sales traders – take instructions from the client and act as intermediaries between the client and the people who execute the trades (flow and propriety traders).
  • Responsibilities differ slightly between the three types of trader. Flow and propriety traders’ tasks include:

    • collating relevant information and data
    • liaising closely with sales staff and inter-dealer brokers
    • determining market sentiment via research, valuation and data analysis
    • monitoring UK and international market performance
    • making prices in specific products
    • providing key parties with daily trading information
    • informing sales staff about market movements/prices
    • executing trades
    • gaining information from sales staff about client issues.

    Sales traders focus more heavily on client relationships, so they also secure deals with new clients, present ideas to clients and develop these relationships.

    Trading offers high levels of responsibility, good promotional opportunities and impressive financial rewards including generous salaries and large bonuses.

    Typical employers of traders

    • Financial houses
    • Investment banks
    • Exchanges such as ICE Futures Europe
    • Treasury departments of major companies

    Vacancies are advertised by TARGETjobs Finance, careers services, financial recruitment agencies, in The Evening Standard, The Financial Times and specialist publications such as The Economist as well as their online equivalents. Investment banks start recruitment very early in the academic year. Sector and company research, attending presentations, and networking are essential.

    Qualifications and training required

    You’ll need to be a graduate to enter this career. A good degree (2.1) in any subject is required, though qualifications in economics, politics, business, financial or numerate subjects can be useful. Relevant experience gained via job shadowing, placements or vacation work (internships) is beneficial.

    Key skills for traders

    • Confidence
    • Numerical skills
    • IT skills
    • Communication skills
    • An interest in financial markets
    • Analytical skills
    • Interpersonal skills
    • Teamworking skills.

    Next: search internships and graduate jobs

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In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.

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