Why I chose a career in investment banking
I like the global scope and fast paced environment of investment banking. Studying History at university, I was not entirely sure what industry I wanted to work in after I graduated. I tried banking and have never looked back.
The industry is constantly changing and every day presents new challenges and opportunities for me, to not only help others and tackle the daily trade flow, but also reflect on the business and improve processes.
Perhaps my favourite part of the job is the people. I’m constantly speaking to colleagues from around the world such as from Switzerland, San Francisco and Milan. As the primary contact for operational queries for our business, I often have senior sales people and line managers contacting me to resolve issues.
What do I do?
We are the first point of contact for our trading desk. If any issues arise with a trade either at execution, expiry or throughout the lifecycle of the trade, the desk will come to us for a solution. We are also an important contact for sales.
We have sales teams in offices throughout APAC/EMEA* and North America and if they spot discrepancies with their trades, they frequently come to us with these issues.
On the operational side, we are responsible for tracking our trade flow and making sure that there is an element of risk management and control. It’s our job to catch errors and raise them to the desk. This responsibility extends throughout our network or associated teams and we constantly liaise with settlements, client services and confirmations.
What is a typical day like for you?
My day starts around 08.30 at which point I perform our early morning reconciliation and deal with any emails and trades that have been executed after market close. I then start working through our workflow if there is anything from the previous day, and respond to the many ad hoc queries we receive throughout the day.
We also work on a number of projects throughout the year with varying scope. New system testing, transaction reporting testing and process review are just some of the projects we deal with. This gives us a chance to not only see a different side of the business but also reflect on how things our done in the firm and how we can improve the business.
Our day winds down around 18.00-19.00 at which point we perform our end of day position reconciliation and send out any emails with action requests for our Asian teams. Because of sensitive settlement dates it is imperative we escalate any trades with issues that are due to settle the following day.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
My position carries an enormous amount of responsibility, creative thinking and human interaction.
It is these challenges that create an exciting and constantly changing environment. I am responsible for reconciling multimillion dollar trades and determining the validity of time-sensitive cash flows.
My traders and management depend upon my effectiveness in completing my day to day tasks. I also have a number of projects designed to analyse and improve our business, which require outside-the-box critical thinking.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?
You will learn almost everything you need to know for your role on the job. I studied History at university and have had no problems working with some of the most complex financial structures and products.
That said, you should have a passion for the markets and a strong ability with numbers. People skills are also very important in this industry.
Every team has collective responsibilities and each member of the team is vital in fulfilling the day to day tasks of the business they support. You must also expect a high paced and hardworking environment. There is often no straightforward or simple solution to problems so creative thinking skills are also very important.
Before entering the industry make sure you understand how a bank works from front to back as well as the basic financial terms which you will encounter on a day to day basis. Keep up to date with the market and financial news as this will clue you in on how the industry is performing and the key issues at hand.
It is important to remember that banking is hard work but also one of the most enjoyable and rewarding industries to be a part of.*APAC: Asia Pacific and Japan. EMEA: Europe, the Middle East and Africa.