Sales and trading

RECENT NEWS
The Globe and Mail  Feb 5  Comment 
New heads of energy research, investment banking named
Clusterstock  Oct 20  Comment 
After a couple weeks of worried anticipation and rumors, Citadel Securities laid off about a dozen people in sales and trading this afternoon. Not to say these guys weren't dealt a blow, but Citadel's hardly the only firm getting slammed with...
The Globe and Mail  Sep 20  Comment 
On the Move: Helen Hayes to decamp for London as head of European sales and trading
Finance Asia  Aug 10  Comment 
Citi says these are key hires designed to support increased client flows.
Finance Asia  Jul 20  Comment 
The bank transfers PJ Andersson from New York to become pan-Asia head of equity derivative and convertible sales and makes promotions and hires for its Asia CB trading desk.
StreetInsider.com  Aug 21  Comment 
Visit StreetInsider.com at http://www.streetinsider.com/Corporate+News/Morgan+Stanley+%28MS%29+To+Step-Up+Hiring+In+Sales+and+Trading/4893599.html for the full story.




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The primary function of investment banks is buying and selling products. In market making, traders will buy and sell financial products with the goal of making an incremental amount of money on each trade. Sales is the term for the investment bank's sales force, whose primary job is to call on institutional and high-net-worth investors to suggest trading ideas (on caveat emptor basis) 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. Structuring has been a relatively recent activity as derivatives have come into play, with highly technical employees working on creating complex structured products which typically offer much greater margins and returns than underlying cash securities. Strategists advise external as well as internal clients on the strategies that can be adopted in various markets. Ranging from derivatives to specific industries, strategists place companies and industries in a quantitative framework with full consideration of the macroeconomic scene. This strategy often affects the way the firm will operate in the market, the direction it would like to take in terms of its proprietary and flow positions, the suggestions salespersons give to clients, as well as the way structurers create new products.

Banks also undertake risk through proprietary trading, done by a special set of traders who do not interface with clients and through "principal risk", risk undertaken by a trader after he buys or sells a product to a client and does not hedge his total exposure. Banks seek to maximize profitability for a given amount of risk on their balance sheet.

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