What do dealers do?
The dealing role in most stockbroking firms varies. At Redmayne-Bentley I take calls from our network of branches and execute orders live on the stock exchange for them. I also take calls from prospective and existing clients, executing their trades in the same way.
All dealers within the firm undertake the FSA Approved Persons exams and have no particular specialisation; we are all trained to deal most of the products the firm offers. I trade UK and global equities, investment trusts, unit trusts and have taken a further exam to enable me to trade derivatives.
Around 70% of orders can be executed on the screen, through a live link to the stock exchange. For the others I will contact market makers and place the trade over the telephone. Market makers are intermediaries that stockbrokers use to buy stock from and sell stock to. When I trade on behalf of a client, Redmayne-Bentley do not actually buy or sell the stock to or from them, we simply facilitate the deal.
How did you get your job at Redmayne-Bentley?
As part of my degree I planned to do a sandwich year, working in the industry for a year to gain experience before graduation. Wanting to stay in Leeds, I headed to the placements office at my university which put me in touch with Redmayne-Bentley and explained about their placement programme. After applying and securing the position I completed my sandwich year at Redmayne-Bentley and passed my Approved Persons exams.
I made a point of trying to be as helpful as possible and getting on with everyone as I liked the firm and knew I may want to return after university. Upon graduation I got in touch with the Head of Dealing at Redmayne-Bentley, and luckily there was an opening and I was invited to interview. Shortly after this I started back at the firm as a dealer, completing further exams and taking advantage of any training made available to me.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The reason I enjoy my job is that when I get up on a morning I never know what is going to happen when I come to work. The role is extremely varied, depending on what I am asked to trade and what the markets are doing.
After a very quiet period over the summer, stock markets crashed on one Friday in August and the dealers all had a very busy day, which was wholly unexpected but exciting. Part of what makes the job is the way everyone in the department bands together when things get busy. I was a student during the banking crisis and this really stuck in my mind and drew me back. I think a big part of why I like what I do is that I have a genuine interest in financial markets; I can imagine if this wasn’t there then the job would lose a lot of its appeal.
What challenges have you come across and how did you overcome these?
I found the sheer amount of knowledge needed overwhelming at first. I remember coming for my interview and looking at the FTSE 100 on the big screen in the old share shop and seeing all the trades flashing; I had no idea what it was showing but had a real desire to find out. While the level of knowledge expected is very high, everyone at Redmayne-Bentley was very patient and I tried to take things one step at a time rather than panicking about everything I needed to know. Making sure I understood things properly helped too, I think having a good base of information helps when moving onto more complicated issues.
When I originally came back to Redmayne-Bentley I found it challenging to adjust back into an office environment, particularly getting into a routine again. While it doesn’t sound particularly exciting, I made sure to keep my evenings during the week free until I was happy with my working routine, I think trying to do too much in this situation would only have made matters worse.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?
I think the most important thing to keep in mind is not to be disheartened; competition is fierce and different companies look for different things so it is worth applying to others even if one turns you down. What came as a surprise to me was that degrees are not everything; some of our dealers gained the role after working in other departments and progressing through the company.
If you can get an admininstration role, even if it isn’t necessarily where you want to be in the long-term, it is definitely worth putting in the time and going for a promotion when the opportunity arises. If you are serious about becoming a dealer, think about doing some of the required exams in your own time. Although you will have to pay for them, even if you only do one, when going for roles against others who have none, you will immediately stand out from the crowd.