'Trading jobs' are good if you aspire to make money. M&A jobs are good if you aspire to have no sleep. Compliance jobs are good if you aspire to become extremely stressed. But what about the banking jobs that fly beneath the radar? What about the exciting roles that you haven't heard of - yet?
If you're looking for a stimulating banking job which hasn't attracted the attention of everyone else in the market, we have a few suggestions below. Some are particular to certain firms, some aren't. All are a little outside the norm.
As we reported last year, XVA trading desks have supplanted individual counterparty valuation adjustment (CVA) trading desks as the place where banks manage all the valuation adjustments they make to derivatives books. XVA desks deal with everything from CVA to FVA (funding valuation adjustment) and DVA (debt valuation adjustments). They combine - and hedge against - counterparty risk and funding risk and deal with collateral and capital management. In the past two years, most banks have opened XVA desks which employ quants, traders and structurers. In a new era of restricted capital and collateral and centralized hedging, XVA desks are a key part of the future.
Deep in Dallas, Goldman Sachs has a 'Threat Management Centre' where it works to protect the global bank from cyber attack. The people who work there need high level security clearance from the US government and are experts in information security and 'penetration testing'. They are there to 'create' Goldman's cyber-defence programme. They analyze and interpret past attacks and devise solutions to stop anything similar affecting Goldman again.
New limits on the use of internal risk models are about to elevate the status of anyone who can claim to be an authority on the models admissable by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. Why not, therefore, become a 'model governance manager' who provides top level guidance to all areas of the business about appropriate model usage? OK, you might not get paid the most, but you will get a chance to become an 'authority' and to have 'high level interactions across the business'.
Capital-hungry prime brokerage units are vulnerable in today's world. Credit Suisse was the latest bank to trim its prime broking unit in November 2014. Barclays has been there too and even Goldman Sachs has been pruning the number of prime broking clients it works with. However, even as the old model of prime broking is under threat, another has taken its place. Whilst it's not exactly new, synthetic prime broking - or the provision of equity swaps to hedge fund clients for shorting purposes, instead of traditional stock lending - has come of age. This is partly because funding requirements for synthetic prime brokerage are significantly lower than for traditional prime brokerage units, J.P. Morgan, among others is expanding its existing synthetic prime broking and equity financing business globally.
Big data is hot. So is surveillance. So how about big data combined with surveillance? As banks throw up increasing amounts of information from their attempts to keep track of employee emails and use of chatrooms, they're looking for ways to comb through this data using algorithms. Enter the big data surveillance specialists. Goldman Sachs, for one, has a 'surveillance analytics group' in its New Jersey office.
J.P. Morgan has taken the allure of cyber-security to a whole new level. The bank's cyber-security team has an elite unit which sounds like something from Thunderbirds. 'Red Team Attack' is reportedly a 'team of qualified and highly skilled attack operators' tasked with defending J.P. Morgan during cyber attacks. It's not clear whether these roles come with a costume.
Mergers and acquisitions are not always simple. Credit Suisse has a specialist 'contested situations' team which specializes in M&A deals that involve hostile bids, activist investors, weird bylaws or difficult timing considerations. If you work in M&A, a spell on this team should, in theory, equip you for anything.
Why spend three years, or more, slogging away as an analyst in IBD when you can join UBS's truncated analyst programme? The Financial Times recently reported that UBS has reduced its analyst programme by a year. 'Shortening the term means that they get to the higher-paid grades — and more rewarding work — faster,' said the FT. Citi has done much the same for its analysts. The downside? High speed analysts spend less time getting to grips with financial modelling, which some recruiters say makes them less employable later on.
Everyone wants to work for private equity funds, but the really hot area now is hedge funds which lend money - the so-called private debt funds. Ok, you might have heard of these as we've covered them before, but it's worth stressing again that private debt funds are hiring and poaching people with leveraged finance experience from investment banks.
Technical innovation in the fixed income market is heating up as banks seek to automate an increasing proportion of their fixed income trading. Goldman Sachs has a 'FICC Edealing Core Strategies' team which is tasked with, 'providing innovative technologies to underpin electronic trading in FICC.' Sounds interesting? You'll need a 'passion for the latest technologies' and a 'deep interest in financial markets'.