Is anyone a current or former fixed income analyst? I have a job interview for a fixed income analyst position analyzing, I believe, some variant of mortgage-backed securities. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on some of the following: 1) If applicable, how analyzing fixed income securities differs from equity securities 2) What sort of quantitative methods do you use? Such as programming and statistical skills. 3) Anything else that you think would be a useful for a young analyst not looking to make many mistakes. I appreciate any and all help.
You must know what variant it is? Find that out before the interview. Internet might provide you with additional information on that particular type.
Fixed income is a pretty broad term. Looking at mortgages is WAY different than credit.
(1) First learn the differences in the securities. If you can’t answer your own question, you need to learn more about the securities (i.e. cashflows that come from the securities, how those cashflows are effected by various inputs), or you need to think about your question harder. (2) Most important is to have extensive excel skills. Programming outside of VBA is relatively unimportant. Industry-specific software like Bloomberg, (Intex for mortgages), etc can be important but for an entry level person expectations are fair. Powerpoint is important but easy, not a differentiator. Outside of computers, its important to have a thorough and intuitive understanding of bond math. Understand how to think about discount rates, financial ratios, how different events will change relevant numbers/ratios/percentages/rates. It’s not rocket science, but you need to speak bond math as your second language. (3) Dedication, enthusiasm, attention to detail, pride in your work, willingness and ability to learn quickly, humility. Above all else, make sure that when people ask you for anything, you get it to them with flawless accuracy and thorough completeness as quickly as possible. Do whatever it takes to make sure that you never hand your superiors bad data (or typos, or incomplete work, etc). They don’t expect you to be a genius out of the gate, but they do expect to be able to count on you to perform flawlessly with entry-level tasks, however mundane or complex they may be.
“(3) Dedication, enthusiasm, attention to detail, pride in your work, willingness and ability to learn quickly, humility. Above all else, make sure that when people ask you for anything, you get it to them with flawless accuracy and thorough completeness as quickly as possible.” ----right on.