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A Day in the Life: Sales-Trader in the Equities Division at a Global Financial Services Firm

6:30 a.m.: I arrive for work and check voicemail and e-mail and then chat with some people at my desk about the headlines in the Wall Street Journal.

7:15 a.m.: Participate in an equities morning call. I find out what’s up to sell. I’m sort of a liaison between the accounts (clients) and the block traders. What I do is help traders execute their trading strategies, give them market color. If they want something I try to find the other side of the trade. Or if I have stuff available, I get info out, without exposing what we have.

9:30 a.m.: Markets open. I hit the phones. You want to make outgoing calls, you don’t really want people to call you. I’m calling my clients, telling them what research is relevant to them, and what merchandise I have, if there’s any news on any of their positions.

10:00 a.m.: More calls. I usually have about 35 different clients. It’s always listed equities, but it’s a huge range of equities. The client can be a buyer or seller—there’s one sales-trader representing a buyer, another representing the seller.

10:30 a.m.: I have a phone meeting with another trader, trying to satisfy a client. If they have questions about another product, I’ll try to help them out.

11:00 a.m.: I call another client. It’s a trader at the other end, receiving discussions from a portfolio manager; their discretion varies from client to client.

12:00 p.m.: I hear a call for the sale for a stock that several of my clients are keen on acquiring. It’s usually a block trader, although sometimes it’s another sales-trader.

12:30 p.m.: Food from the deli arrives. We don’t leave to get our lunch, we order lunch in.

1:00 p.m.: Watching your terminal. There’s a lot of action. If there’s a 200,000-shares trade in your name (a stock that a client has a position in or wants) and it’s not you, you want to go back to your client and say who it was.

2:00 p.m.: I take a call from a client. You can’t miss a beat, you are literally in your seat all day. You can’t even go to the bathroom sometimes, say you’re working 10 orders, you want to see every stock. I tell the client that I have some stock he had indicated interest in previously, but I don’t let him know how much I can unload. It’s a lot of how to get a trade done without disclosing anything that’s going to hurt the account. If you have key information about a particular stock you don’t want the whole Street to know, or it’ll drive down the price.

4:30 p.m.: I head home to rest a bit before going out. I leave at 4:30 or sometimes 5:00. It depends on the workload.

7:00 p.m.: I meet a buy-side trader, one of my clients, at a bar. We entertain a lot of buy-side traders—dinners, baseball games, drinks at bars. Maybe this happens once or twice a week. It’s a good way to develop relationships and exchange industry information—and have a little fun while doing your job.