So you work somewhere in the middle office (risk/finance/trade support), and you want to work somewhere in the front office (sales/trading/structuring)? What do you need to do to your CV to make this happen?
Firstly, a qualifying point. It is not that easy to move into the front office from a middle office role. It is especially hard if you are attempting to do so on the basis of sending your CV to recruiters. It is easiest to move from the middle to the front office if you do so at the firm you’re currently working for.
That said, what can you do to your CV to at least improve your chances?
1) Show that you have a genuine interest in working in the front office
A lot of people want to work in the front office. Fewer really understand the implications.
“Is it just the glamour of trading that’s attracting you, or do you really have a genuine passion,” says the head of prop trading at one bank in London. “Do you really want to live through the ups and downs, do you really want to see your life go past every single frigging day?”
If you do, you will need to demonstrate this in the manner that follows.
2) Show that you understand the products
“What we’re looking for, is someone who’s shown a lot of keenness and ambition in getting to know the products,” says Danny Kessler, managing director of MET Traders. “We want to know that they understand how the products trade, and the risks that they’re in. We want to know that when they were looking at trading positions, they understood what was good and bad about them, and why that was.
“On a CV you will need to demonstrate that you have an understanding of trading strategies,” he adds. “If you can mention butterflies and condors, it will show that you have an understanding of short term interest rate strategies, for example.”
3) Show that you have comparable academics to staff in the front office
“If you want to move into the front office, you will need similar academic qualifications to the front office guys,” says Trevor Symonds, head of quantitative analytics at recruiter Selby Jennings. “As a quant, you will also probably need to do some additional courses in C++.”
“We need to see that you have a strong maths and technology background,” says the head of prop trading.
4) Emphasise that you have engaged in tasks comparable to those in the front office
If you’re a quant with aspirations to move into the front office, Symons says you will need to have engaged in, “some pretty heavy modelling work.”
“If you’ve been a model validator and have only benchmarked models coming from the front office, it won’t be interesting. You’ll need to have taken front office models and improved upon them,” he says.
“To get out of the middle office pigeon hole, you will need to show that you’ve got some kind of experiences similar to those in the front office,” says Will De Lucy, head of Amplify Trading. “Even if you can stress that during your middle office role you helped traders looking at cable against euro-dollar, it will help validate your desire to move.”
If you want to be a trader, it will help to have traded your personal account. “If you’ve successfully traded PA, it will show that you have the aptitude and desire for trading,” says Kessler.
5) Show that you’re a disciplined risk taker
“You’ll need to show that you’re a natural risk taker,” says the head of prop trading. “You either have it, or you haven’t.”
“You need to show discipline,” adds Kessler, “that you have watched and monitored a trade, and have got out at the right time.”