Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters
No one likes you when you're in electronic trading.

COMMENT: I'm an electronic sales trader. My cash colleagues are getting me down

When you're a child who's swapped schools, the biggest challenge is settling in and becoming part of the class. - It takes time to remember names, to get to know people and to become part of the class. But eventually you become integrated. If you're an electronic trader, you are the new child forever.

Electronic sales traders - who sell banks' electronic trading systems are still comparative newcomers. Cash sales trading and program trading have been around for years, but electronic trading is the comparative newcomer, especially in fixed income. It's also the child who spoiled the party - everyone knows that electronic trading systems destroyed margins. Everyone knows that a lot of traders lost their jobs as a result. Because of this, no one wants to play.

When you're the person selling electronic systems on a trading floor, no one wants to be your friend. You're a threat. Who's going to talk to you (let alone introduce you to their clients) when they know that you have the potential to erode their livelihood? No one.

Working in electronic trading can therefore be an uphill struggle with your cash colleagues. You always have to be extremely pleasant. You continuously need to gently remind them that if they don't introduce you to their clients, then those clients are simply like to trade electronically with another broker instead.

None of this is easy. Cash sales people know their clients very, very well and are very protective. If you approach a client without checking with them first, they will find out. It's like trying to pinch someone else's friend at school.

As a result, in electronic sales trading, you will spend a lot of time waiting around in your party outfit and hoping for an invitation to go to the ball. It rarely comes. After 12 years in the industry, I'm still a pariah. Clients themselves are partly to blame - they often segregate electronic trading so that only the e-business team can see what's happening. This has effectively made it even harder for cash traders to accept us: not only are they giving their business away, but they are losing visibility on their flow.

Unless the teams are merged (which clients will seemingly never accept either), electronic traders are always going to feel like the newer kid on the bench - waiting for the rest of the playground to come and talk to them.

Greg Jones is the pseudonym of a VP in electronic trading 

AUTHORGreg Jones Insider Comment
  • To
    Tom Hollingsworth
    29 October 2018

    I sympathise with you totally and this is a problem across the board.We laughed when DTB(Eurex) was launched - so did CME and CBOT. However the new execution dudes who run flow at buy side who have grown up with programming and algos and don't give a toss about a beer after work for "relationship" purposes.You are correct in your assumption about integration - it is the old school versus new school.Banks and Brokers are so silo'd that it beggars belief from a shareholders viewpoint .This is why disrupters are calling the shots- all that is missing for them is a balance sheet and when that happens that is when we can start digging the graves for Investment Banks and the old fashioned Salesforce

  • IH
    26 October 2018

    As a buy side client here's where cash traders outperform their electronic brethren
    1) They are more fun. Dumb as rocks but the type of folk you can rely on for entertainment
    2) They are client focused, if a trade went awry they will do their best to claw back any loss, on the electronic side they will mumble an apology but never deliver a rebate for a system issue
    3) They know they are overpaid and their ideas are mostly useless but every now and then they will earn their comp, on the electronic side they are overpaid and the baked in transaction cost is unjustifiable.
    Overall 90% of our business is electronically traded but the 10% I throw to the cash traders is probably what makes me feel good doing business with the firm

Apply for jobs

Find thousands of jobs in financial services and technology by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Recommended Jobs
Carter Murray
Senior Sales Manager-FICC / Market Data
Carter Murray
London, United Kingdom
T. Rowe Price International
Investment Specialist, Fixed Income
T. Rowe Price International
London, United Kingdom
Fixed Income Dealer - Asset Management
London, United Kingdom
Eka Finance
Equities Quant Trader / London
Eka Finance
London, United Kingdom