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The Role of the Trader
A trader tracks a target market, then makes buy and sell decisions about products. Trades are no longer made across a marketplace floor, with shouted instructions and accompanying hand signals. Today most transactions are carried out electronically at the touch of a button.
Types of Trader
A trader will specialise on a particular type of product, typically basing their career around this one specialism, for example equities, commodities, or foreign currencies (forex).
Within each product specialism, there are a number of different trader roles:
- Flow traders perform an intermediary role, buying and selling financial products for their bank's clients.
- Proprietary traders, also known as 'props' are an elite group of traders with the authority to trade with the bank's own funds.
- Execution traders perform a more administrative role, simply placing the trades as instructed by fund managers and analysts.
- Sales traders perform the role of a salesperson, interacting with the client, recommending products, and then carrying out the trades as requested by the client.
Away from the Front Desk
Many of the trades that take place are automated and facilitated by electronic systems. The advent of automation has changed the role of the trader, and opened up new opportunities within the financial sector.
For example, quantitative analysts are required to develop the complex models and algorithms used in automated trading systems.
Research and analyst type roles are the usual entry route into a trading career. To take up one of those positions, candidates are expected to have graduated from university with a minimum 2.1 level degree in a mathematical discipline such as economics, or statistics.
As a trader progresses they will begin to make higher value trade decisions, and have greater interaction directly with their clients.
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