John-Michel started as a graduate trainee in 2014 as an equities trader in London at UBS. Having completed his Economics degree at Warwick he gained a role in Investment Bank, Investor Client Services. Here he describes to us what he does, how he got to where he is and find out what his motivations are.
Can you describe your role to us?
The function of an equities trading desk can be summarised concisely as managing risk - finding the right balance between risk and reward. In my role as a trader, client trades are fed through sales-traders to the trading desk, and it is a trader's job to manage these and provide best execution. To optimise the service provided to clients, consideration must be given to aspects such as the price a client receives, speed of execution, liquidity and cost, among others. I aim to have an opinion on each of the stocks that I am trading in order to optimise the outcome for the client.
The markets are extremely complex, with a continuous flow of news being fed through to all market participants. In my role, I have to decipher which of these news items are significant enough to move the market and then understand how the market will react. One of the most challenging aspects comes in forming an accurate assessment quickly enough to be able to take advantage of market moves.
It is this high pressure environment, however, which is the most fascinating element of my role. Working with such an experienced team means that I am able to discuss my views with colleagues and draw on their knowledge to come to a considered but prompt conclusion on how a stock ought to trade.
How did you land this role?
While studying Economics at Warwick University, I was exposed to some of the basic concepts of finance in several of my modules. Talking with professionals at careers fairs introduced me to the dynamic nature of the industry and after joining the finance society, I set up a virtual trading portfolio online. My interest in the markets continued to grow from there. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the UBS Spring Week programme in my first year of university and went on to do an internship, finally joining the Graduate Programme in 2014.
What is it that motivates you?
Given the diversity and size of the organisation, I initially applied to UBS as I thought that it would be an excellent place to learn about the finance industry. During the Spring Week and the internship, I was able to meet many exceptional and talented people. They were very approachable and I was most impressed by the work culture that was demonstrated so I was very excited to join the Graduate Programme.
Being able to empirically test the accuracy of my opinions by studying market movements is highly motivational and rewarding. In finance, the old adage "you get out what you put in" is highly applicable. Another key motivator is the level of responsibility which I have been given by my team. The learning curve is steep, but adapting my knowledge to the ever evolving market is a constant test of my ability and it is one of the many elements I enjoy about my job.
To find out more about careers at UBS - click here.