There is no work environment quite like the hustle and bustle of a trading floor. To find out more about it we caught up with Cameron, junior broker at international brokerage BGC partners to hear about his typical day.
"Global markets trade 24 hours a day and the working culture is one of early starts. I reach my desk no later than 07:30. On my way to the office I will check overnight market developments in Asia so I am prepared for the London open and can best support my team. The early starts took some getting used to but one positive is that you can always get a seat on the tube or train! My market starts trading at 08:00 and my desk is always ready well in advance. It’s not as bad as it sounds though. We always have breakfast and a coffee before the day’s trading begins.
When I get to my desk I quickly review and sort any emails that have come in and talk to the brokers in our Dubai and Hong Kong offices to get the latest market prices. I also prepare price sheets that will be updated throughout the day so that price changes are tracked. Prior to the open, the team review prices and where we think value can be added that day. I like to keep abreast of the developments from Asia as I am keen to get the opportunity to work in Hong Kong or Singapore at some point. Being part of a global brokerage, such possibilities are available.
You never know how busy each day will be and it varies hugely depending on what deals are coming through and market reactions to events and economic data. Today starts with a rush and I’m quickly tracking and booking tickets. I directly support three brokers on the desk but I have to keep abreast of everything that happens, as often I’ll need to support the whole team. I work with one other junior broker on my desk, splitting the responsibilities for assisting with the trading activities.
I make some calls to London bankers on the lines that I manage, informing them of market developments, helping to shape their trading decisions. It’s important to keep these communications regular and ensure a strong relationship so I can be their first call when they need to buy/sell currencies.
We are actively encouraged to develop our own relationships with banks and I have a friend working at a bank in the City. As my experience has grown I have been able to develop this relationship and this is now a brokering line that I have responsibility for managing, including the social side of building the relationship with his bank. It’s been a few weeks since we caught up in person so I invited him out for drinks and bite to eat later in the week. We also have access to corporate hospitality at venues like Twickenham and the O2 for hosting clients after work and at the weekend.
As the markets operate globally, by midday we have said goodbye to the brokers in Asia and say good morning to our New York counterparts. I update pricing details and support the brokers with a busy afternoon of trades, lots of lines are coming in and I have to keep a cool head to keep on top of the flurry of activity.
My market typically quietens down in London after 17:00 and each market has its own conventions. After work today I’ll head to the gym in our building. I enjoy the work-life balance that being a graduate broker allows, we work hard but there are lots of great perks to enjoy too.
After the gym I meet up with my manager and another of the brokers from our desk, we’re heading out for drinks and dinner with a couple of bankers in Canary Wharf. It’s an enjoyable and social end to a busy day, and I get a chance to network with some new contacts. This sounds pretty run of the mill but it all helps to hone my relationship management skills and make me more comfortable and proficient at managing my own lines.
It’s been another energetic and varied day, I’m pretty tired but I wouldn’t swap my job for anything. I know I’m progressing and gaining responsibility day by day, I see the brokers on the desk and can see how my career is progressing towards being a fully-fledged broker."