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Thank You for All the Job Applications!

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Thank you for taking the time to submit all the job applications, we are flattered that so many people want to join our team. For the past few weeks, I have been working with my HR team to find people with the skills we need to grow the company and improve our trainings.

I am glad to announce that we have hired two new staff members, both successful graduates of the Synapse Program and current part-time traders. They will be helping us to support our growing student base and to help create new content.

Once again, we thank you for your applications, and stay tuned for future opportunities! 😀

 

Career Paths for the Trading & Fund Management Professional

Here are a list of common career paths in trading, with each requiring different skill sets. When you send in your applications, it would be good to indicate what kind of career path you are looking for, so that it would be easier to find a good match. We are always on the lookout for trading job opportunities offered by our partners, and we will send in our database of resumes submitted by our students, hence it would be a good idea to send yours in early too. 🙂

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Sales & Trading (S&T)
This highly paid and highly coveted position is usually offered by investment banks, but are hard to come by, especially given the freeze in global headcount for most front office roles. Typically, the basic requirements would be a degree, as well as stellar academic achievements. Previous experience working in a bank would also improve your chances.

“Sales and trading is one of the key functions of an investment bank. The term refers to the various activities relating to the buying and selling of securities or other financial instruments. Typically an investment bank will perform these tasks on behalf of itself and its clients. In market making, traders will buy and sell financial products primarily to facilitate the investment and trading activities of its clients with the goal of making an incremental amount of money on each trade. The Sales component refers to the investment bank’s sales force, whose primary job is to call on institutional and high-net-worth investors to suggest trading ideas and take orders. Sales desks then communicate their clients’ orders to the appropriate trading desks, who can price and execute trades, or structure new products that fit a specific need.” – Wikipedia

Proprietary Trading
In the past, most banks used to have this job function, but the number has been on the decline. Nowadays, most of the hiring comes from private funds (prop funds). Typically, these funds hire experienced traders to trade the firm’s funds, but usually has training programs to train new traders to groom them into successful traders. The selection is stringent, and the turnover rate is high, as it is not an easy environment to thrive in. Usually, remuneration is on a profit-sharing basis (ranging from 30-80%), with a small allowance, so one should have at least a year of savings to live on during the learning phase. Strategies vary, but most involve high-frequency trading on short timeframes, with high-leverage products such as futures and options.

“Proprietary trading (also “prop trading” or PPT) occurs when a firm trades stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, their derivatives, or other financial instruments, with the firm’s own money as opposed to its customers’ money, so as to make a profit for itself. They may use a variety of strategies such as index arbitrage, statistical arbitrage, merger arbitrage, fundamental analysis, volatility arbitrage or global macro trading, much like a hedge fund.” – Wikipedia


Fund Management

Fund management typically requires more experience and a track record, and traders are expected to have an advanced knowledge of trading. Products can vary widely, and strategies and usually flexible, depending on the discretion given by the fund. Given the larger capital base, strategies may be geared towards a longer holding period. Typically, there will be some sort of benchmark and drawdown limits, and remuneration is a combination of a base salary (management fee) and profit-sharing. 

“A hedge fund is an investment fund that can undertake a wider range of investment and trading activities than other funds, but which is generally only open to certain types of investors specified by regulators. These investors are typically institutions, such as pension funds, university endowments and foundations, or high-net-worth individuals, who are considered to have the knowledge or resources to understand the nature of the funds. As a class, hedge funds invest in a diverse range of assets, but they most commonly trade liquid securities on public markets. They also employ a wide variety of investment strategies, and make use of techniques such as short selling and leverage.” – Wikipedia


Research Analyst
These jobs are offered by banks and brokerage firms, as well as some independent research houses. These jobs are suitable for those who have good analytical and writing skills, and enjoy doing research and analysis, but do not like the stress of executing trades and holding positions. Depending on the level of experience, these jobs are usually paid quite well at banks and financial institutions.

“A financial analyst, securities analyst, research analyst, equity analyst, or investment analyst is a person who performs financial analysis for external or internal clients as a core part of the job. Writing reports or notes expressing opinions is always a part of “sell-side” (brokerage) analyst job and is often not required for “buy-side” (investment firms) analysts. Traditionally, analysts use fundamental analysis principles but technical chart analysis and tactical evaluation of the market environment are also routine. Often at the end of the assessment of analyzed securities, an analyst would provide a rating recommending an investment action, e.g. to buy, sell, or hold the security.” – Wikipedia


Brokerage & Dealing

These jobs come in various forms, including working as an in-house dealer for a retail brokerage or an institutional brokerage, or an independent remisier. These jobs require less analysis and trading skills, since you will be mainly executing orders for clients, although clients may rely on your input to make their decisions. Remuneration is typically a base salary plus a sales commission if certain targets are met.

“A brokerage firm, or simply brokerage, is a financial institution that facilitates the buying and selling of financial securities between a buyer and a seller. Brokerage firms serve a clientele of investors who trade public stocks and other securities, usually through the firm’s agent stockbrokers. A traditional, or “full service”, brokerage firm usually undertakes more than simply carrying out a stock or bond trade. The staff of this type of brokerage firm is entrusted with the responsibility of researching the markets to provide appropriate recommendations and in so doing they direct the actions of pension fund managers and portfolio managers alike.” – Wikipedia

Exclusive HR Media Event: Breakfast Talk with CEO

This morning, I attended an exclusive media event organised by Resource Solutions, a breakfast discussion session about the latest trends in hiring practices, for financial-related jobs as well as other key sectors. This breakfast was held at Raffles Hotel, inside one of the private rooms, and special mention goes to the fantastic egg’s benedict.

Overall, the job market has improved slightly over the past year, but what is interesting is that a large part of this improvement comes from an increase in temp hires, as opposed to permanent hires. Such arrangements are more likely to find favour with employers rather than employees.

It was a great and memorable session, getting to meet some familiar faces in the media industry and catching up with them. I also got a lot of useful insights about the hiring process and procedures, which I am certain will be useful when it comes to hiring new traders.

Lunch Invitation – Robert Walters HR Media Event

Today, I attended a lunch invitation by Robert Walters, one of the biggest global HR firms, to attend their annual global salary survey launch. It was a great lunch and presentation, and I got the chance to meet other journalists and industry powerhouses, including representatives from the Business Times, Channel News Asia, the Straits Times, SPH, etc. Most likely, you will be reading about this in tomorrow’s papers. But here is a sneak preview of the latest job trends:

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SINGAPORE, February 20, 2013 – Robert Walters, one of the world’s leading specialist professional recruitment consultancies, launched its Annual Global Salary Survey today. Now in its 14th edition, the Robert Walters Global Salary Survey is the most comprehensive review of global recruitment trends and salary levels available. It provides an in-depth analysis of salaries earned around the world by both permanent and contract workers across a wide range of sectors. The Singapore section covers the following sectors: banking & financial services, accounting & finance, engineering, HR, IT, legal, sales & marketing, secretarial & support as well as technical healthcare.

For more comprehensive insights on the various job functions across different industries, a full copy of the Robert Walters Global Salary Survey can be downloaded from www.robertwalters.com.sg/salarysurvey.

We would also like to release the Robert Walters Asia Job Index Q4 2012. This quarterly publication tracks advertisement volumes for professional positions across leading job boards and national newspapers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, China, South Korea and Japan. For the detailed report, please click here: http://www.robertwalters.com.sg/employment-trends/aji-q4-2012.html

Here are the key findings of the latest Robert Walters Asia Job Index Q4 2012:

  • The total number of job advertisements placed regionally in Q4 2012 increased by 2.1% compared to Q4 2011.
  • Low quarter-on-quarter growth in some Malaysian sectors led to a 12.5% drop in advertising figures for advertising and marketing roles.
  • The drop in consumer confidence in Hong Kong caused a 22% decrease in open positions within purchasing and merchandising.
  • Due to seasonality issues like annual bonus payouts, job advertising in Singapore fell by 35% in Q4 2012 compared to Q3.
  • With the growing Chinese property market, property management roles rose by 13.6% in China.
  • The increased demand for corporate governance in South Korea created a 14.8% rise in job advertisements for consultants and analysts.

Tips for your Resume: How I Managed to Land a Job With the Big Boys

The point of a resume is to provide your future employer or headhunter a glimpse of your achievements and skill sets, and the purpose of this is to stand out sufficiently, so as to get an opportunity for an interview.

Resume-Tips

After looking through many resumes and talking to many employers, I have a pretty good idea of what they are looking out for, and what should be avoided in your resume. Here are some of my personal guidelines:

      • Keep your resume to ONE single-sided page. Employers have piles of resumes to look at. They will only spend a few seconds scanning your resume to decide if you are worth a shot. They do not have time to scan two pages.
      • Use a decent template. A resume with ugly formatting may get tossed away before getting read.
      • A photo is optional, but if you are including one, make sure it is a professionally taken portrait shot, and not one simply taken using your webcam.
      • Provide relevant data, but not more. Relevant data includes your name, address, mobile number and email address. Irrelevant data includes your birthday, height, weight, race/religion, horoscope, next-of-kin, favourite colour, etc
      • Have a professional-sounding email address. School email addresses are acceptable, but for personal email addresses, please use one that resembles your name, eg. john_tanxx@gmail.com, instead of something like cute_boi88@gmail.com. You get the idea.
      • Put in only the best stuff. Given the space limitations, and considering the few seconds of attention that will be given to your resume, you want to make sure they read the good stuff, so don’t dilute and bury it within other less important experiences. This is not an autobiography, so it is not necessary to write in every single experience you have been through. Write only what is relevant to the job, and things that will possible enable you to stand out. Hint: no one really cares about the medal you won in primary/secondary school.
      • Categorise your experiences. Common categories include “Education”, “Awards & Honours”, “Leadership & Activities”, “Professional Certifications”, “Skills & Interests”
      • Include the time periods for each work and education experience
      • After stating each work experience, include two or three bullet points of elaboration to give a brief description of what you did and what you achieved

If you have any additional tips to share, feel free to add them in the comments below.
Good luck! 😀