Share a day with Nils

17.10.2018
Reading time: 2 minute(s)

Get an insight into the typical daily schedule of our Financial Products graduate

Working in the Risk Management Equities department, Nils experiences the markets at close quarters. Find out more about a normal working day in the life of a graduate on the trading floor.

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Starting the day right
Working in risk management means starting my day at around 7.30am, close to 90 minutes before the European markets open. Hence, a strong coffee is needed to get ready for the day ahead. The good thing about this is that the coffee is of a better quality than the standard ‘office coffee’ one might expect, and there is no queue for it as the office is normally less crowded this early in the morning.

  

The trading floor
The trading floor can be viewed as the engine room of an investment bank. This is the place where financial products are developed and sold and where the associated risk is managed by traders – in particular, risk that derives from selling leveraged and structured products, such as options or certificates. The principle behind this business is to offer clients exposure to predetermined pay-offs, to minimize downside risk in their investment and to provide access to financial exposure that goes beyond simply buying or selling a stock. As a result of this offering, a trader's job is to protect the bank from losses that may arise from these business activities.

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Teamwork
As Vontobel covers all major asset classes and, as far as equities are concerned, a broad universe of stocks ranging from Swiss small and mid-caps to global blue chips, from Hong Kong-listed companies to stocks traded in New York, direct contact with colleagues is key. Especially in situations when markets move fast, advice from colleagues with years of experience is the most valuable aid to learning. Since every GTP participant takes individual responsibility for certain trading books and has to take their own decisions about how those books are hedged, ongoing communication and feedback are important aspects of every trading day.

  

Desk-Lunch
The markets never stop for lunch, which means that traders have to eat lunch at their desk. However, the culture at Vontobel and the special position being part of the GTP will always allow for a lunch away from the office or with colleagues at Vontobel's corporate restaurant Uto. But still, there is always a take-away option, which I choose every now and then as well. Bon appetit!

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Trader view
An important moment in the afternoon session is the US opening at 3.30pm European time. Not only because Wall Street is the biggest market in the world, with an undeniable influence on other markets, but also in view of Vontobel’s broad offering of US equity derivatives, every trader is at his desk at this point in the day. Fortunately for me as part of the GTP, I do not have to stay until the US closing at 10pm European time. This is left to the experienced traders on the night shift.

  

End of the day
After the European closing at 5.30pm, some administrative tasks still have to be finished, but at around 6pm I am ready to head to the gym, or in this case for some after-work drinks with other GTP participants.

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