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Career case studies: Operations analyst

Stoil Topalov (Big)

Stoil Topalov graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in Computer and Management Sciences. He joined Barclays Capital’s graduate programme in August 2009 and now works as a trade support analyst.

What is the appeal of operations?

It’s so diverse; from project roles where you are working on future initiatives and developments to build a better bank, to line roles like settlements where your tasks are dependent on the different issues of the day. You learn a lot about the processes that drive investment banking, as operations staff are involved every step of the way, from trade capture to confirmation, reconciliation and settlement.

What does your job involve?

I currently work as a trader assistant on the interest rate derivatives desk. My job involves sitting on the trading floor, close to the traders and being their first line of support for any queries, from booking trades to resolving issues with reconciliation between various systems, and discrepancies with the counterparty at the time of settlement.

What is your average day like?

The first task of my day is typically to perform a range of front-to-back reconciliations on the previous day’s trades, which means identifying any problems, bringing them to the trader’s attention and fixing them immediately. The second part usually involves ad hoc queries and tasks from traders. At the end of the trading day one of the most important tasks is running the trader’s daily profit and loss calculation process. This provides vital information about the total risk on their books, the daily performance of their positions, as well as data about collateral held or received.

What are the best things about your job?

There are new challenges and new issues to resolve every day, and you have the knowledge that you are really adding value to the business. A good example is when a trader asks you to book a non-standard trade that the system cannot handle automatically. Problems like this need some investigative work, as well as creative thinking, and offer a very rewarding feeling of success.

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