1. What is the starting salary range for this role?
Starting salaries can vary, depending on the organisation, but typically entry level roles at a tier 1 investment bank start at 35K–38K.
2. How do you enter this field? (any prior qualifications or experience etc.)
Numerical / scientific or business degrees are helpful, ideally with a 2:1 degree as a minimum. Further qualifications that help include the Investment Operations Certificate (IOC), though organisations will often support candidates gaining this through their graduate schemes, or permanent employee development plans.
3. What does a typical day in the office look like? (tasks, responsibilities etc.)
Typical days in the office involve managing trade breaks and client queries, depending on the product/market and ensuring operational risk is effectively managed. Employees will manage time depending on market and regulatory deadlines/cut-offs, which may mean focusing on APAC in the morning, then EMEA and The Americas later in the day. Department & team responsibility structure vary from bank to bank. Any reconciliation breaks have to be escalated and resolved promptly, so employees will be working closely with the trading desk and wider operations teams, or the counterparties/clients to problem solve. A further part of the role tends to include process improvement work of existing processes, using strong excel skills to automate these, or working with IT to implement more strategic enhancements. Employees are expected to use their initiative to see where improvements can be made, then engage relevant stakeholders in the business to ensure they are implemented successfully, without operational risk.
4. What is the most challenging aspect of the job?
The most challenging aspect of the role is managing multiple stakeholders, across different time-zones and ensuring operational risk is effectively minimised. This requires strong time management and prioritisation skills, as well as transparency in communication to ensure everyone is aware of any issues and they are resolved accurately and promptly.Trade Support touches many areas of an investment bank, so employees are expected to gain an understanding of the inherent risks associated with their asset class, which can involve many different risk categories, including credit, market, operational and regulatory risk to name but a few. Strong candidates understand these and quickly build relationships with relevant internal and external stakeholders in order to resolve issues promptly.
5. What is the most rewarding aspect of the job?
The most rewarding aspect of the job is the cross-business relationships employees will develop. As careers in operations develop, experts gain a very strong understanding of what makes and investment bank operate effectively and efficiently within ever-changing market and regulatory circumstances. There is a strong strategic element to this career path and different challenges on a daily basis, which ensures there is constantly variety and new problems to solve, or processes to improve.
6. What skills are the most important to perform well in this kind of role?
Strong relationship building skills are required, along with problem solving and time management. Candidates are also expected to be able to use their initiative and not be afraid to ask questions or challenge the status quo.
7. What advice would you give to someone looking to apply for a similar role? (interview tips, tips to succeed etc.)
Banks always expect potential operations candidates to have done their research and be able to confidently articulate their motivations to build a career in trade support/operations. It is common for candidates to think they can use a role in trade support as a stepping stone to a role in the front office. This is an instant turn off for hiring managers, as not only is this not very common, it demonstrates a lack of interest and commitment to the career path. Hiring managers want to hear candidates aspiring to become subject matter experts in the business area they are interviewing for.
Advice would include researching the market and asset classes relevant to the role you are interviewing for, as well as the organisation. Ensure you go interview with as many examples as possible, of problems you have solved, difficult customers/clients you have appeased and processes you have improved. Strong Excel skills are highly sought after, so if you have experience of Macros (VBA) and are comfortable in manipulating data, this will support your case.