Financial Careers: My Typical Day As A Bond Trader

My day differed a little when I was at a large firm or ‘shop’ like Morgan Stanley compared to when I was at a smaller firm like Kleinwort Benson but there was a lot of commonality.   

6.15: Read the Financial Times and/or Wall Street Journal on way to work.

7.00: Arrive at work. Read Bloomberg and Reuters news. Be aware of economic and political events due later in the day/week. Speak to Asian office for update on market and client activity overnight.

7.45: Attend Traders meeting to discuss how the team views the market at the moment. Agree overall risk exposure. Be aware of new bond issuance activity in the pipeline that will impact the market.

8.00: Attend Sales meeting to understand what clients think of the market and their likely trading activity. Inform Salesmen of bonds you are ‘long’ of and are looking to sell and bonds you are ‘short’ of and looking to buy. Hear the views of Chief Economist.

8.30-12.00: Fairly intense trading activity. Trade with clients via Salesmen and electronic trading platforms from Bloomberg and Tradeweb. Trade with other bond traders at different Investment Banks via Brokers.  

12.00-1.30: Go to lunch with a Salesman and his important client. If no lunch sort out any administrative or ‘Back Office’ issues. Analyse market. Look at company’s research.   

1.30: Important US Economic Indicators are released. Such figures can have a major impact on market volatility and activity. Often frantic trading results.    

2.00-4.00: Continue to trade. The movement of the US Treasury market, which is has just opened due to time zone difference, is an important driver of all bond markets at this time. 

4.00: Trading slows. Attend an internal meeting or hear a presentation from a software vendor or similar.

5.00: Close my trading book establishing ‘end-of-day’ prices allowing a Profit/Loss calculation to be run on all my trading activity and investment positions. All data goes to the Head Trader and Risk Department.

6.00: Give an update on what happened in the London/European markets to my US and Asian colleagues and any instructions as to what trading activity they are able to undertake on ‘my trading book’ whilst London sleeps.

6.30: Go for quick drink with my Broker; we compete with each other with the best market stories.

7.30: Head home. Keep checking phone throughout evening for any urgent market developments or overseas colleagues’ enquiry. Hopefully no market interruptions in the middle of the night so I am fresh for the battle the next day!  

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About Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the founder of Opening City Doors and is a Financial Market Specialist having worked for several leading Investment Banks and financial technology institutions additionally.He therefore provides a unique insight, and unusually broad perspective, into the opportunities available in London Financial Markets and related sectors and how to launch your career in the ‘City’.