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Does a career in Sales and Trading allow for a natural transition to investment management/buy side?

Accepted a sales and trading internship and I am interested in investment management/ portfolio management long-term. Does S&T set you up well to jump to the buy side? I partially accepted the internship because I thought the exposure to institutional investors would help me make the leap, but it seems like a lot of S&T professionals stay in the field their whole careers.

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Steven’s Answer

Hi Henry. You ask an excellent question about something that remains a sort of mystery in investment management. That is, how do you prepare to become a portfolio manager? I began managing individual, mutual fund and institutional portfolios only after completing a long stint as an investment analyst at a money management firm. But there is no single career path. Sales and trading would be a very good springboard, as it gives you daily immersion in the financial markets. You see up close how prices move, and, equally important, how investors behave. This is knowledge portfolio managers need. Also, much of the work in portfolio management involves understanding and communicating investors' objectives. Sales skills help enormously here. One final piece of advice, whatever path you choose. When you have been in the business for two years, begin studying for the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. It's hard work passing the three exams, but is, in my opinion, the single best way to learn the basics. Good luck to you. Steve
Thank you comment icon Thank you very much, Steve! You hit the nail on the head, and I am definitely interested in working towards a CFA. Henry
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Miguel’s Answer

Hi Henry,
S&T is an excellent starting point in my opinion. It will give you access to a clientbase of buyside, which will help you check if you really want to work there, by seeing the type of work they do , and will give yoiu access to potential employers. Starting in S&T will give you a very good initial technical knowledge layer of the markets, which will be valuable on any financial mkts related job + if you want to work as a portfolio manager, understanding how a trading book works, trade execution, etc will add tons of value to your cv.
Also, not all people in S&T stay there forever...
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Henry
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david’s Answer

Henry, let me offer this suggestion: In whatever career that may interest you, avoid making assumptions on why people in that career may avoid what appears to be the better position. In this case, for example, the people you view in sales and trading who do not move in the other role may act as they do because either 1) they believe they will earn more by continuing as they are, or 2) because they see the other position as more work hours or stress than they desire. To get good answers, I suggest you speak to these people. You may find that the career position you envy has several pitfalls. All the best to you.
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