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High Yield / LevFin Trading Desk Analyst Careers

I have been working working in a rating agency for several years, covering companies in various sectors as the lead analyst. I used to work in credit risk in banking for several years. My dream was to move to the buyside eventually, but the job market in London does not seem to offer many opportunities on the buyside now (last year I had only two interviews and none this year). 

May be I am looking at the wrong websites and speaking to the wrong recruitment agents, but I just do not see fundamental credit analyst roles on the buyside in London. It seems that the job turnover on this market is very low, buyside analysts just sit and do not move frequently and, therefore, not many roles are available and if they are the preference is strongly to someone who is already on the buyside and simply would like to change the company. Therefore there are two problems: scarcity of buyside jobs and fierce competition for them. 

Instead, I see quite a variety of analyst roles on trading desks (bonds or loans). It seems these roles are very interesting roles: fast paced environment, no need to write lengthy reports, opportunity to influence P&L from day one and therefore receive a notably higher bonus than in a rating agency that pays the same bonus no matter how you perform, no need to travel ro visit companies. 

On the other hand, one of the uncertainties/questions is the following: without history of trade recommendations in the past would I feel comfortable to do it now? I think I will because I have solid fundamental credit skills. However there may be problems that I do not foresee at this moment. What are the pros and cons of desk analyst roles compared to the buyside roles? Exit routes? Compensation potential? 

Are desk analyst roles more available because these roles actually have a higher turnover? That is, it is easier for traders see how good credit skills of the analyst are compared to a long only portfolio manager who do not evaluate the performance of the buyside analysts frequently because all they care about is to get their money back at maturity.

On the other hand, when I ask why the positions are open the answers are quite encouraging though: desk analysts become traders themselves or they move to the buyside or they move to a competing house. This seems to mitigate my above concern, but I would be interested to hear any thoughts on this as well.

Take it and  don’t look back, anything’s better than CRA..

Is this “analyst” like a trading assistant or the actual analyst that provides commentary and does some sales for the desk (this kind of thing exists on bond desks apparently). Either way, the job is more corporate than in 2006, but I am guessing it is still preferable to a ratings agency in terms of upside and is certainly considered more applicable to buy side or other related roles.

Expected earnings relative to buy side are probably about the same. What is interesting in 2017 is that there is two way employee flow between the buy side and sell side. The buy side is also managing costs and controlling risk, so they are more likely to keep exhorbitant bonuses controlled and limit the amount of assymmetric risk from their managers rolling dice. Funds have also learned that there’s no point in offering employees overly generous packages when they can easily hire qualified replacements from investment banks for a known cost.

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ohai wrote:

Is this “analyst” like a trading assistant or the actual analyst that provides commentary and does some sales for the desk (this kind of thing exists on bond desks apparently).

As I understand, a trading desk analyst provides commentaries and opinions (not more than one page) about credit quality of companies. He influences traders’ decisions on day to day prices. Traders take short term positions (up to several months only because longer positions are prohibited by regulators) as market makers. Prices can drop during short term hold periods (or vice versa, increase shortly after a bond or a loan is sold at a lower price), therefore, it is important for a desk analyst to avoid such situations and warn traders about potential problems from credit point of view in advance (assuming that prices are driven by credit quality, a good credit analyst should get things right in most cases). A trading desk analyst also speaks to salesmen and informs them about his views, salesmen then speak to investors to promote these views. A trading desk analyst can also speak to investors, but it is a secondary activity. I see the following differences from a CRA: more companies, more industries, price driven, news driven, fast reaction needed.

klaudnine wrote:

Take it and  don’t look back, anything’s better than CRA..

I cannot agree more. I hope that in-depth knowledge of the covered companies and sectors should help me with more fast paced roles in the future because it should support confidence. So far, the interview experience has been awful, it is so hard to convince that I am not a usual CRA man. I am ready to agree to a lower salary, but it does not matter for prospective companies. I feel I need to come up with some hooks to differentiate myself from a fierce competition.

Luchano wrote:

klaudnine wrote:

Take it and  don’t look back, anything’s better than CRA..

I cannot agree more. I hope that in-depth knowledge of the covered companies and sectors should help me with more fast paced roles in the future because it should support confidence. So far, the interview experience has been awful, it is so hard to convince that I am not a usual CRA man. I am ready to agree to a lower salary, but it does not matter for prospective companies. I feel I need to come up with some hooks to differentiate myself from a fierce competition.

Take the most common negative traits of a CRA man and list them. Then decide on observable actions you can take to signal you do not have these faults, ideally things that can be put on a resume. This is how I approached this issue in the past. 

Is CRA (Credit Risk Analyst) so bad ?? Please throw some light guys ?? I am novice here .

pankster wrote:

Is CRA (Credit Risk Analyst) so bad ?? Please throw some light guys ?? I am novice here .

credit rating agency = CRA