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A Day in the Life of a Trader

On my first day as an intern at Nomura, the class was asked who thought they wanted to become a trader, and the majority of the class raised their hands. It is always perceived as a glamorous role with huge opportunities. The meritocratic nature of the role dictates that opportunities clearly exist, but, as the weeks went by, more and more people in the class changed their minds as the glamorous notion was dispelled and it became clear that trading requires a certain skill-set and mental strength.

A typical day starts at 6am, with the review of overnight markets, global macro, and stock-specific news in the sector each trader covers. This is collated into a morning document, which is sent out to clients in time for the morning meeting starting at 6:45am, where traders share their views for the day ahead. From this point, each day is completely different, which is one of the great aspects of the role. Between 7:30 and 8am, a trader will speak to clients and other brokers in the market to try and get an edge through the day, and ascertain what will be driving stock prices; whether it be research pieces, overnight moves from competitors or orders in the market.

From 8am, a trader will rarely leave their desk, save to get lunch (which is usually eaten at the desk) and to speak to sales, sales-traders or research analysts, all of whom they will work with closely. A trader aims to generate alpha for clients through each of these relationships, with the ultimate goal of winning orders for their contribution, or monetising content through proprietary positions.

The dynamic of the afternoon differs from the morning, in as much as the US market opens, and the US clients are more active in the market. There is often a direct read between the two markets and price action in one can dictate that in the other. As a result, it is important for a trader to understand who their peers are in the US and to monitor how they trade in the afternoon.

The market closes at 4:35pm and a trader will typically be out of the office at 5pm. Post the close, a trader is responsible for reconciling the day’s activity and reporting his P&L (profit and loss statement). This provides ample opportunity for a good work-life balance. After a tough day in the office, there is plenty of time to go to the gym, socialise with friends, and fulfil commitments to socialise with clients.

Written by Matt Johnson

Associate @ Nomura, Global Markets Division, Equity Cash Trading

For more information on careers at Nomura, please visit www.nomura.com/careers