Investment Banking & Investment Management

Financial Markets: Graduate Area of Work

Developing and maintaining relationships with clients is key if you want a successful career.

Financial Markets


As the financial markets are where financial assets and instruments – such as stocks, bonds, shares, equities, foreign exchange and commodities – are created, traded and distributed, working in the markets is mostly about finding financial solutions that generate revenue and financing or hedging an array of clients, including corporations, financial institutions and even governments.

Experts achieve this by offering analyses and solutions to financial problems, including resources for clients to trade various securities and assets for greater liquidity, much like instant cash. Businesses in markets primarily make money through trading margins and fees, as well as proprietary speculation. As such, trading, sales and conducting thorough research are the three essential components in this field.

Networking and relationship management are especially important in this line of work, not just for picking up opportunities to obtain priceless information, but to gain insights on what clients are up to, a more accurate comprehension of the markets and sometimes, even unreleased intelligence. These can lead to additional income or clue you in on profitable transactions.


Career overview

Traders start the day early – usually 7am – to keep up with the opening of the markets, and subsequently spend their time connecting with clients and other traders, exchanging information and making deals. Traders also spend a lot of time booking trades and advising salespeople and interested investors.

Sales staff start the day slightly later, and focus on establishing and managing relationships between the firm and its investors, interacting mainly with external financiers. Suggestions for financially profitable deals are made, persuading clients to invest. Salespeople also liaise with traders on behalf of clients to ensure that the agreed transactions are successfully carried out.

Research staff react to what happens once the traders start exchanging products, which means their day starts even later than members of the trading and sales teams. They also make observations and recommendations based on ongoing trends in the markets and pass these on to co-workers in trading and sales to help them make more informed decisions.


Required skills

With the exception of positions that deal with complicated financial products and calculations, employers do not necessarily require finance or mathematical degrees for this line of work. Basic numeracy skills will usually suffice, though you must be incredibly accurate.

Employers look out for talents with excellent communication skills who also have the ability to build strong relationships and connect easily with other people – all positions usually involve plenty of internal and external communication.

Because competition can be very fierce, an internship offers a head start and industry insights that can allow you to hit the ground running in this intense role.


Pros & cons

This area of work is dynamic, exciting and comes with long hours. Moreover, it is undeniably stressful, with the constant risk of making a mistake which can incur high losses.

Other than the heady excitement and energy on the trading floor, graduates are drawn to the opportunities to network widely and travel as seasoned professionals in this field.