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Want to Trade for a Big Bank? Here's My Advice

Posted by BluFX


My advice to traders looking to trade for a big bank

In my experience in trading for a big bank, I have noticed that it has been challenging to get a job in the financial sector if you have not had a stint with a bank. Banks generally do not hire directly from universities and prefer to take people from within the industry who have relevant experience and real-world knowledge.

This can be pretty frustrating if you have just graduated and want to start your career in finance but do not have any work experience or industry connections. If you're considering trading for an investment bank, this article will help you think through your options and decide whether this will be the right fit for you.

Read: How I Got Started Trading for a Bank ⟶

Want to trade for a big bank? 

Why trading floors are great places to start

Trading floors are naturally competitive, but it's often not personal. The trick is learning how to be aggressive and gracious to get along with your trading floor colleagues, who can help or hinder your trading success. A trading floor is probably not the best place if you crave privacy and quiet, but if you thrive in fast-paced environments full of energy and action, consider applying to work on one!

Being at a large institution may appear intimidating at first, but you may discover that every day is different once you're there. As one trader put it to me, "the first few days are terrifying," but after that, "I never know what each day will bring," and I love it! It helps to keep things interesting. And interesting means new hurdles to overcome, as well as opportunities for big wins.

Even though many people may prefer working as an independent trader, there are real benefits to working as a larger company. For example, as part of a bank, you will have access to superior technology and training opportunities. You might also receive support from other members of your team.

However, remember that everyone has their account and style; what works for them might not suit you. It's essential to go into a job like this knowing what each side brings to the table and what will make you successful.

How do big banks trade forex? Find out here>>

What you should look for in banks

I believe that anyone who wants to be successful in trading should never forget that you are not only being compensated for your skill and hard work when working for a bank. What you get paid for is the ability and willingness of investment banks to backstop your losses. That's why I think it's more important than ever that traders pay attention to risk management and insist that any firm they work for has reasonable backstop procedures.

When everyone shares loss exposure, no one feels like their career is dependent on whether their trades make or lose money. It also helps protect against situations where one trader has a nasty streak of luck. So long as everyone else can share some of their losses, they won't have to face being fired because of losing too much money in a short period.

Not every trader must adhere to these stringent requirements. Working for an investment bank with only rudimentary loss mitigation procedures is fine if you are entirely confident in your ability to manage risk and choose your exposures without any support from anyone else. However, I believe that all newer traders should pay close attention to whether their firm can cope with losses well because it affects each one of them.

In today's trading world, banks are seen as one-stop shops. In reality, every trader is different, and every trading environment is different, but there are still things you should be aware of when it comes to banks. Make sure that your needs are being met and that your forex broker will be able to grow with you and support you throughout your career.

Read how to trade for a big bank>>

What I look for when joining a new trading floor

A good team

To start, I want to work with intelligent people who have enough experience that they're not just learning their way around a new desk or floor. The first month or two can be rough as you figure out how everything works and who does what; you don't want an entry-level person at your back. Find someone with experience, but also someone you like and trust. Personality is essential—if we can't get along, it won't work. It's still our job to execute trades on behalf of our customers, so being able to settle disagreements professionally and move on is critical.


Next up: a competitive salary. This industry moves fast—but so do trading desks and banks themselves, so longevity matters. Longer tenures allow for more consistent training with each firm, which leads to better familiarity with institutional standards and easier compliance oversight from regulators. You should be paid what you're worth and given strong incentives (like additional compensation) if you hit goals.

Relocations, size, market coverage

Finally, other things will affect my decision, such as family considerations (do I need to relocate?), company size (larger firms often offer wider varieties of products), turnover rate (beware high turnover!), technology focus (are they catching up or ahead?) and market coverage. While my list is pretty extensive, I realize that everyone has different needs and preferences when joining a new firm, especially when starting a career in finance.

How much do traders in banks really earn? Read: What's the average trader salary? here>>

When you feel ready, go after what you want!

If you're going to be trading as an employee, look into your firm's internship programs. This is a great way to get your foot in the door, and most firms will interview interns before they make any final hiring decisions. Plus, doing internships can make you contact people already working at your desired firm—people who can vouch for you later on if you're trying to make it as a trader with the firm.

If you feel passionate about a position at a big financial institution, don't let anyone discourage you from going after it. The good news is that job opportunities are available, so long as you're willing to commit yourself wholeheartedly. Are your grades up to par? Do you have an impressive internship or work history under your belt? Do you have any connections in high places? If so, now is your chance. Don't hold back; go after what you want!

Read: How to Start Trading with No Money ⟶

Tags: Trading Tips

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