There was a time when I wanted to be a trader. Ok, so I do still want to be a trader a little bit. However, I am currently working in a middle office credit role and I would like to make one thing very clear: this is an interested role.
Working in the middle office, I am able to offer crucial insight to our traders on the likely profit and loss (P&L) impact of particular events. Although traders have good market knowledge, MO people are often the go-to guys when traders seek to quickly estimate the impact of market events on their books.
Not all middle office jobs are exciting. The worst are restricted to simply booking trades, or to refreshing P&L spreadsheets. The best occur when middle office staff have essential expertise in a field relating to a transaction; in this case they become indispensable. In my experience, the best place for a middle office guy is flow derivatives: traders here seem more dependent on middle office knowledge than traders dealing with more exotic products.
As a bridge between the back and the front office and partner to the risk function, the middle office is arguably the perfect location for someone who enjoys learning about products, coordinating tasks and ensuring traders are receiving good service in a timely and efficient manner.
Having gained strong academic results, I admit that I was initially disappointed to be working in the MO. However, it hasn’t turned out that bad. I feel I am an important component in a successful trading business, am learning and am keeping up to date with current events.
Work life balance is important too. Many front office staff simply lack time to look at other opportunities. However if you find an MO role which offers good work life balance, it can be a great opportunity to pursue other qualifications, such a part time MSc, and to broaden your skillset and career aspirations.