Debt Capital Markets Analyst
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I’m a Debt Capital Markets Analyst — so a day in the life for me is somewhat of a hybrid between an investment-banking and sales-and-trading analyst.
Some days, my role looks like a traditional investment banking analyst role where I’ll create pitch books and investment decks to present to our corporate clients that we cover. And other days, if we’re in the market, it looks more like a sales-and-trading job; meaning a lot more of an active and dynamic role where I’m building an order book from investors, selling a new issuance, and pricing that throughout the day.
7:30: I get in at around 7:30 a.m., assess the market conditions, as well as see what happened overnight in global markets in Europe and Asia. Then, I’ll see what the market futures are looking like for the market open on that day and if there’s any news or major headlines. I’ll then jump on a call with the team. I usually am in early before the market opens for trading but structure of my day ultimately depends on whether or not we have an active deal coming to the market — a busy day for us would be a deal day.
8:30: This is called a “go or no-go” call, where we’ll basically be deciding if the market backdrop is right for us to hit the market that day with the deal that we’ve been working to announce. If the market is stable and there is positive sentiment, then we will look to announce the transaction to the market and go public with it.
9:00: After announcing, “it’s go time”, and we rush to file the documents with the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] before market opens at 9:30 and we start building our order book of investors. We look to build the order book working with the people on the trading floor and the salespeople who are in touch with investors. This is where the magic happens — we get on calls with dozens of investors in what translates to a frantic few hours so that we can gather the market’s thoughts on the deal, and most importantly, pricing. We then proceed to build the book based on our initial pricing assumptions that we’ve put into the market, but also look for their feedback.
11:00–12:00: Normally, around 11:00 or maybe 12:00, we offer guidance to the market. That’s basically more refined pricing based on the indications we’ve received from the investor base over all the conversations that morning. Guidance narrows pricing for all investors.
1:00–2:00: After lunch, around 1:00 or 2:00, we will launch the deal where we finalize the size of the offering as well as the final pricing level. Following that we will work with our syndicate desk and sales personnel to allocate the notes to investors based on their indications and their investor profiles. Hopefully all investors get what they ask for, but for the best deals, we’re so oversubscribed that often a good share of investors end up with pennies on the dollar. I don’t envy our team members who have to deal with the angry investor on the other end of the phone who feel as though they got the short end of the stick.
3:00: Around 3:00 the deal will officially price after filing some documents, and we’ll be free to trade in the secondary markets. It’s really a full-day process to bring bonds through the primary market offering process.
Since we’re normally keeping our clients up to date on what we’re doing in the market, to finish the day we will put together a summary case study to all our clients. Then we’ll start working on any other upcoming deals, and of course start preparing for any upcoming meetings and pitches we will have with our other clients.
Moving from Internship to Full Time Role
I got my internship through career services at my Ivy League school when I was in 3rd year. It was super competitive, but I earned an interview and really connected to the hiring team. They loved that I was a Canadian, that I was a Rangers fan, and that I can solve a Rubik’s cube — although not very quickly. I was extremely happy with the bank and with the idea of living in New York.
Given the nature of how the banks on Wall Street work, it’s a million times easier to get a job at the same employer after a summer internship than it is to just apply laterally. So, knowing that, I went to work for the bank full time and into the rotational program that they offer.
I was doing three-month rotations on various desks, which was a great experience as it gave me a flavor of each department, knowledge of how they operate, and what the people in each are really like. You certainly get a better sense of all the different roles on the trading floor. I worked on the electronic trading desk for equities, global equity-linked products team, and in corporate risk solutions — a corporate derivatives desk.
As well as giving me a sense of what happens on different desks, the rotational program was valuable because it gave me a chance to maintain and strengthen the network I had within the bank. My internal networking and strong work performance helped me land the job where I am now: the capital markets originations desk. The head of the desk basically pulled me out of the rotational program, and offered me to join his desk full-time. I took that offer.
What Surprised you about Banking?
One thing that surprised me is that the lack of brain power it takes to do the job. There’s an idea that because finance is such a competitive industry the work requires some sort of genius-level intellect. But it’s really quite repetitive, at least at the junior level, and it’s pretty simple stuff. You just learn to do a set of processes that make up your job and then quite often you’re simply repeating them. It can take a lot of time to familiarize yourself with the processes, and there is of course a vast foundation of knowledge that you need to comprehend, but once you get over the initial learning curve it can be pretty simple — in my experience. But it is definitely worth sticking around for, as a lot of the senior-level positions naturally become more interesting, and require a bit more thinking. However, they also require more EQ and less IQ. A lot of banking is building relationships and trust, and it’s not necessarily about who has the best analytical skills or the most creative thinking capabilities. The senior guys are paid the big bucks for bringing in deals and closing them. I’ll be there too… one day.