Wall Street is an exciting place to be, and sales and trading is one of Wall Street’s most exciting areas. If you’re a financial market junkie, then sales and trading might be right for you. Along with an interest in financial markets, it will help you break into the industry if you have a background in computational finance, software engineering, or another tech field. In recent years, there’s been a trend toward automated trading, some of which is done by using complex algorithms.
So what is sales and trading exactly? Many sales workers and traders work on the “sell side,” which refers to Wall Street investment banks that sell stocks, bonds, and other securities to the “buy side.” The buy side refers to the investment management firms, pension funds, hedge funds, and trusts that buy stocks, bonds, and other securities from the “sell side.” Outside the investment banking industry, traders work for hedge funds, brokerage firms, commercial banks, insurance companies, asset management firms, and mutual fund companies.
The most important function of a sales and trading department at an investment bank is, of course, to make money. An investment bank collects significant fees every time its sales and trading professionals execute a deal for clients. Traders and salespeople add incrementally to the bottom line through daily profits and losses and commissions, and raise the profile of the firm in the marketplace.
Opportunities for sales and trading professionals are available throughout the United States, but are best in New York City, where many investment banks, hedge funds, and other financial firms are located. Major investment banks include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Centerview Partners, Evercore, and Credit Suisse. Leading hedge fund firms include Bridgewater Associates, AQR Capital Management, Man Group, Renaissance Technologies, Two Sigma, Millennium Management, Elliott Management, Baupost Group, BlackRock, and Winton Group.