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The author ran the trading division of a major investment bank on Wall Street.

10 things people told me when I ran a Wall Street trading division

It's coming up to year-end and if you work on Wall Street, you're going to be thinking about your bonus. You might get the idea that you should petition your boss ahead of time. And when you receive your bonus, you might want to express some outrage. 

Once you've been in the industry a while, you hear the same stuff over and over. These were the most common. People ask me if I miss banking at this time of the year. Read the list and I'll give you my answer...

1. Ten people in a group EACH tell you (at bonus time) that they personally made $10m dollars for the firm that year ..... but weirdly the group is up only $31m in the total P&L .

2. “This is an outrage. I was massively underpaid this year. I have resting bids away for double at 3 different firms” ..... but weirdly they are still sitting in their seat on June 30th.

3. “The franchise is not worth anything. I made all of this money due to my supreme trading acumen. I just choose NOT to work at a hedge fund” 

4. “I have been paid down four years in a row to $600k. It’s almost not worth doing this job anymore”

5. “What do you mean I only come by to see you in November and December?” 

6. “Look I’m not here to stab my co-head in the back, but I think you know that if this firm needed only one of us, it’d obviously be me. “ 

7. “The reason this client deals here is because of me. It has nothing to do with anything else like all the money we lend him.” 

8. “What do you mean the bonus pool is down? That's a disaster I have a wife and kids!” 

9. “What I do here is irreplaceable.”

10. “If you left this place I’d follow you wherever you ended up going. “

The answer is that I don't miss it at all! And if you want to complain about your bonus, please at least think of something original to further your cause.

Donald Schneider is a pseudonym of the former head of a trading division at a major bank in New York City.


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Photo by Marcus Lenk on Unsplash

AUTHORDonald Schneider Insider Comment
  • Ex
    13 November 2020

    Excellent list. I think I've used every one of those lines. In retrospect few things I learnt subsequently
    1) I was replaceable
    2) Staying was far easier than leaving
    3) In the long run leaving was best for the firm and for me financially

    Sell side is just filled with losers and deadweight

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