By Juuso Jauhiainen, Future Finance Professional intern 2016
All good things come to an end and so did this year’s the Future Finance Professionals traineeship program at Nordea Markets FICC. The past six months have been the most challenging yet rewarding time of my working life. Luckily I got to share it with 20 of the most amazing individuals with a great variety of backgrounds. Being thrown into the deep end and having to learn to swim is much easier, and exponentially more fun, when you get to share the experience with likeminded people that cherish being challenged.
The never-ending path that trying to master the financial markets is, would be impossible to stay on without the encouraging atmosphere at Nordea Markets. There is no chief too big that you could not walk up to and ask them for help. It’s also never embarrassing to admit that you don’t know something as everyone is here to help one another and succeed together. At Markets, one plus one is definitely more than two. One doesn’t just feel like a part of a system. On the contrary, one feels like someone who can, and must, make a difference.
No such thing as an ordinary day
I work at Asset Sales, a desk specializing in sales support of bonds, structured products, Bull and Bear certificates and warrants. We have a fairly broad product offering which requires knowledge from a wide range of things to do with the world economy and the markets. We need to be able to discuss the covenants and yields of bonds, the state of the companies that have issued the bonds, interest rate levels, currency pairs and many other things.
And then there’s the derivatives … A lot of our structured products are linked to a CDS (Credit Default Swap) of a single company or different CDS indexes. We discuss the spread levels of these CDS on a daily basis with customer responsible units. Following the world economy is very important in discussions of what has caused the spreads to tighten or widen or why a currency pair is where it is at. We also have many different option structures in our structured products, digital options, Asian options and so on. Warrants, Turbo Warrants and Bull and Bear certificates also require understanding of option theory and futures contracts.
I really do not have something called a regular day. I might find myself in the middle of a bond issuance, teaching customer relationship units about how certain structured product works or discussing futures contract roll overs and a large number of other things. This is one of the best parts of my job as quite literally, there is no such thing as an ordinary day.
No stupid questions
The most hectic days are also the most exhilarating ones where one can really see how well the different desks at Markets are honed work as a synchronized unit. The trading floor is filled with energizing, fun loving people that are passionate about their work and take it seriously. All of this adds up to an atmosphere where top notch work gets done, but in a way that everyone can come to work in the morning with a smile on one’s face.
All this undoubtedly sounds difficult, and it can be. But this does not mean that one would need to know all this before starting at Markets. Should you have thrown the words binary option or CDX at me before I started and you would have had me shaking. The best thing at Nordea Markets, as mentioned before, is that while the learning curve is steep, there is always someone to help you on this journey. If I need to know something about the global economy, I can just walk up to our Chief Economist and ask. If I need to know about the option structure of a structured product, I have our structuring team right by me. There’s no stupid questions, and everyone realizes that no one knows it all. All you need is to be open minded, curious and passionate about what you do and the knowhow will follow.
A flexible agreement mixing work and school
When I was offered to continue working at Nordea Markets, my instant reaction was a definite yes, but I had to raise concerns about the fact that I have not graduated yet. I would have to take some days off as I’ve only just started my fourth year at my University. My supervisor immediately told me that graduating would be the number one thing and that we could come to a flexible agreement about mixing work and school. I really feel like Markets wants to invest in its employees so they can continuously develop as individuals and give their best input at all times.
Stay tuned to read a couple of Juuso’s fellow students’ blogs about the Future Finance Professionals programme in Nordea Markets FICC.
We are currently recruiting summer interns to the 2017 FFP-programme – deadline is 15 Nov. – so click and apply now!
Meanwhile, you can read previous blogs from “old” FFP students sharing their thoughts and experiences.