A: Here's free inside look at how it feels like working in a spread betting company on a particularly volatile day narrated by Robert Mendick (13.10.08) -:
The dealers on the trading floor at IG Index, a financial spread-betting firm close to the Square Mile, were already on the phones, almost unable to keep up with the calls before the stock market even opened at 8am today.
A slew of market announcements from Britain's big banks from 7.30am onwards ensured this was a day to keep traders on their toes.
For a 24-hour period starting on Friday, IG made 3.3 deals per second. 'We are expecting something similar today,' declared Tim Hughes, IG's head of sales trading. Another dealer added: '70p Royal Bank of Scotland. It's ridiculous. You'll never see that price again.'
As the stock market opened, traders peered at the bank of screens while the telephones rang off the hook. The noise just got louder and louder, not helped by an automated computerised voice sounding like the computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey chanting "excellent" about every five seconds.
This is IG's way of telling dealers that an internet trade needed attention before it could be sanctioned. The more the chant of 'excellent' can be heard, the more deals IG is doing. All this noise, all this excitement what we were witnessing at 8am today was a huge outpouring of relief. But it may not last long in the current market volatility.
Jody Dunn, 28, IG's head of flow in charge of commodities and foreign exchange dealing - said: 'It's a new dawn until the next crash. You don't know what is going to happen. We are still expecting a lot of volatility. I can see the market still moving around a lot today, up and down.'
Mr Hughes, 30, said: "What we are getting now is indescribable relief. They do appear to be coordinating action from the corners of the world but how good can the news be when half of our remaining banks are going to be part-nationalised?
"The fact they [the banks] needed it is clearly dismal. It cannot be great long term. I expect many more weeks and months of turmoil."
By 8.15am, the stock market had gained five per cent, or 200 points. IG had been predicting a rise of as much as 270 but trading was still unclear this morning. Banks were in and out of suspension as markets tried to digest today's announcements. "This is the chaos," said Mr Hughes, as the phones rang non-stop around him.
And here's an Interview with a sales trader at CityIndex from Benedix Training for Banking & Finance. In the PDF interview, Simon Dixon, Head of Training at Benedix meets Roger, a sales trader, on the City Index trading floor in Moorgate. Roger has worked his way up from the bottom working in a number of different markets, for a number of different companies, with a range of financial products in a number of countries. Roger shares his take of what it takes to make it to the top in trading.
As CMC Markets' founder Peter Cruddas puts it in Shares Magazine 'The best thing I've noticed in the past couple of years is the quality of people we have started to attract. Ten years ago when the industry got going if you had Ivy League graduates they wanted Merrill Lynch or Goldman Sachs on their CVs, we could not attract them. Now the standard is very high, we are able to attract the quality people.'
A: Well this very much depends on which department you want to join. Below Joshua Raymond from City Index explains some of the typical descriptions that they would look for in certain roles -:
Sales Trader: Our sales traders need to be confident, extremely strong mathematically, personable, and able to think under immense pressure. They also need to be emotionally robust to some degree, given that sales traders will be the front line to clients when markets are going for or against them. When markets are moving fast against you, some of our clients can be, understandably, hot blooded on the phone, and our sales traders must be able to provide best execution at all times.
Market Makers: Market makers tend to be a completely different breed to that of sales traders. They are risk conscious, using their strong analytical skills as well as strong mathematics to judge how price moves affects the companies risk instantly and can translate that change into trades to nullify that risk.
Sales: Sales staff, as you would imagine, need to have strong personalities and personable skills, able to talk confidently with prospective clients on the phone and in person. They also need to be great listeners, as a big part of their role is to help educate our prospective and new clients base. As such, they need to have patience and ability to listen to client needs.
IT: Most IT recruits would need to have very specific attributes that are unlikely to have a strong a crossover as other areas of the business. For example, a mobile developer will need to have a very specific set of mobile application skills, whilst an IT support role, would need to have a wide range of technical skills to help support both internal staff systems and client platforms.
Marketing: Roles across the marketing department vary from social media and digital experts to brand managers and e-communications. As such a typical skills set will also be quite varied.
A: You are a gambler. Technically. Then again, if you are in any business you are also a gambler... neither scenario means you're an addict.
Just put it in there and think about the huge plus points - odds are, if you are a spreadbetter, you are following the markets extremely closely, you have your ear to the ground, you have the guts to take a view or a trade and back it with your money and you can think quickly, act quickly and make decisions 'on the hoof.' Not such bad attributes, depending what job you're going for.
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