The life, hours and pay of a CDO, CLO Trustee?

I’m currently working in a Structued Finance group for one of the Big 4 firms. Recently, a recruiter contacted me with an opportunity at Deutsche Bank here in Southern California for a CDO Specialist. The job description is essentially comprised of computations, monitoring cash flows, setting up CDOs in line with the applicable indenture, interacting with rating agencies and lawyers, etc. Has anybody here worked in a trustee role before or are you familiar with what the environment is like? What’s the average salary for a person going into a similar role with 4-5 years of experience? Are there opportunities to transfer into other asset management and banking roles? Is experience working as a trustee generally looked favorably upon? Thanks :slight_smile:

You don’t want to do this. I repeat, you have no desire to do this. There is a caveat to my answer: if you want to get pidgeon-holed into a back office, grunt work/numbers cruncher career path (that doesn’t pay very well), feel free to disregard my advice.

Skill, can you provide some support for your position?

Yeah, unfortunately I need to deal with our trustees every once in a blue moon and they’re all idiots. Not only that, but based on their attitude I infer that they’re quite poorly compensated idiots. To add insult to injury, they’re poorly compensated idiots with no exciting future job prospects, save for being a Chief Compliance Officer somewhere (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Instead of this, I would recommend that you get in real tight with a structurer in your group and try to learn from them - 95% of the skills overlap with a trustee except a structurer has a decent upside to his/her career. There is a massive, massive, massive difference between the front office and the back office (both in terms of $ and prestige). Why one would ever make a career move to a back office position unless someone is holding a gun to their head is beyond me.

Thank you for the insight. I am just getting a bit nervous about our group’s prospects, since nearly half our deals were backed by sub-prime collateral. Now that the well has dried, so to speak, I’m getting nervous I’ll be relegated to accounting/FAS91 projects.

I’m in the same boat - no worries. The pipeline is slow right now but it’ll pickup within 6 to 9 months. Don’t ruin the rest of your life because you’re bonus this year won’t be as big as it’s been the last few. Wait it out, and if the interactions with lawyers, RA and modeling are things that you’re interested in, talk to some structurers.

skillionaire & MeddllingKids: Folks: I need your insight into the SF market. If you can send a test msg to future (underscore) current at yahoo, that shall be much appreciated.

If you want to get in touch with me, my email is

Skill, I spoke with my recruiter, and it seems DB offered the latest candiate (they are hiring multiple people for the same duties) $120k base + 15% bonus. I was surprised they were offering this much. Then again, I am working in a specialty group at an accounting firm, so that may skew my perception a bit. The recruiter had also mentioned they were considering ramping up their Structured Finance/ABS group in Southern California again and may be looking for people to hire. Sounds like a good opp to get in on the structuring side (which I can do here at my current firm as well). I am a bit curious why they are starting a SF practice at such an inopportune time, though…

skillionaire Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > If you want to get in touch with me, my email is > I sent you an email. Thanks.

Skill, I went in for the interview this morning (I had already scheduled it, and didn’t want to flake on them). Needless to say, you were spot-on with your assessment. Let me chronicle the morning’s events for you: 8:23 a.m. - I walked up to the building about 7 minutes early for my interview. It looked like one of those warehouses a Biotech would rent. You know…the type of building you wouldn’t want your friends to see you walking into. I checked in with security, and they paged the person I was supposed to be meeting with. I waited in the lobby for nearly 30 minutes before somebody came out to take me upstairs. I was ready to walk out right before he showed up. He took me into a vacant office and told me the next person would be showing up shortly. I waited for another 15 minutes and was again ready to leave, when the guy walked into the room. 9:08 a.m. - The Director of the group comes in, and seems to be a very nice guy. He looks at my resume and starts wondering why I would leave “such a great group to come work for his”. Red flag. He then tells me they need to administer basic Excel tests to their applicants to make sure they’re ready for the vigors associated with their daily duties. Red flag. 9:23 - One of the CDO Group V.P.s sits down at the desk and starts looking through my resume. I explain to him that I work in our firm’s Structured Finance Group, and focus both on ABS securitizations as well as CDOs/CLOs. He then asks me if I know what the recovery rate is for a particular Moody’s Rating. Of course, I don’t memorize the recovery rates (which recently changed, no less) and can’t answer. He then proceeds to tell me how people who interview from Accounting Firms never seem to understand the collateral that is backing the CDOs, but are just concerned with taking A, plugging it into B, and moving on. Funny…this is the same guy who just explained to me that they rely on a structuring group to make updates to their models. We do it ourselves. I guess if I was only working on one particular type of asset, I could memorize Moody’s ratings too. 9:45 a.m. - Another of the V.P.s comes in, and starts talking more about the growth of their group and what the environment is like. He seems very friendly, and is much more pleasant to speak with than his colleague. I start asking some questions about upward mobility, room for growth within DB. Rather than talking about the possibilities, he focuses more on the number of people who have left the group. He also talks, in greater detail, about how the CDO Specialists don’t actually build the models (or make substantial tweaks on the models) for the deals they do. They just use the models that have been built by the structurers. He asked whether the job sounded like something I would enjoy, and I was honest in telling him I was looking for something a bit more technical and analytical in nature. I thanked him for his time and headed back to my office. I don’t intend to bash anybody who wants a back office position for an extended period of time, but it just doesn’t seem like my cup of tea.

Lol, sorry you had to deal with that. I won’t even say “I told you so”. :slight_smile:

skillionaire Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Lol, sorry you had to deal with that. I won’t > even say “I told you so”. :slight_smile: Haha, you certainly have the right to do so, if you change your mind. Am I wrong to think it’s assinine for somebody to expect a candidate to have Moody’s Recovery Rates memorized? I mean, it wouldn’t be hard to do, but there are plenty of more important things to commit to memory than recovery rates. I think the guy had it out for accountants or something. It wouldn’t be the first time a trustee had a special place in his heart for the people checking his work…

Yes, that’s quite asinine, especially for a trustee. Perhaps if you were interviewing at a RA that would be pertinent; sitting in front of excel doing repetitive tasks all day does not warrant having this knowledge.

skillionaire Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Yes, that’s quite asinine, especially for a > trustee. Perhaps if you were interviewing at a RA > that would be pertinent; sitting in front of excel > doing repetitive tasks all day does not warrant > having this knowledge. Seriously. I have a question for you, since you mentioned you were in a similar boat as I. Where does a guy like myself go from here, working toward his CFA but not yet in posession of an MBA? I would like to eventually get into Asset Management or maybe a Hedge Fund at some point. I suppose I should just stick around the firm until I get married next year and get ready to move to San Francisco. Or, I could always go after an MBA and move to the East Coast. Sometimes I feel paralyzed by indecision. :slight_smile:

Email me if you want to chat offline. In terms of what I’ve been doing, clearly I’m enjoying catching up on my phorum postings. Also starting a distressed asset fund soon so that’ll be keeping me pretty busy once the lawyers have okayed everything…