Meet a Buy Side Research Analyst

Meet a Buy Side Research Analyst

Alma Mater: Haverford College

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

What drew you to you to buy side research and to SIG?

I played a lot of sports growing up and continued playing soccer in college. I loved the competition, camaraderie, and competitiveness required to excel athletically at that level. While I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation, I knew I wanted a role that included those same attributes.

I had never considered working in finance until I heard about SIG at an event on campus. When I applied to the internship program, I had very little pre-existing knowledge about options or trading. Although I was excited to learn more about the technical aspects of the job, I applied because I loved what I heard about the trading floor. The fast-paced, collaborative, intense, and competitive work environment sounded exactly like what I loved about being on the soccer field, and that led me to accept my internship offer and to later return to SIG full-time.

Tell us about the first year of your training program. What has been most helpful to you?

It has been a combination of formal and informal education, both in the classroom and on the trading floor. My favorite class so far has been the options and valuation class that I attended just after I started. It really helped to put the technical parts of the job in context for me, especially with the opportunity to sit on the floor side-by-side with senior research analysts at the same time. Being able to observe how they respond to new market information and differentiate what is and is not important is such a critical part of the learning process. I’m able to listen to conversations going on around me between analysts and traders and ask questions of my peers, mentor, and others on the desk. That’s been such a helpful and valuable part of my learning experience. I’ve also been able to pursue my CFA, which the firm has supported, to help me build my knowledge and experience in buy side research.

What has been your most memorable experience on the desk thus far?

By far, it was my first hoot. The “hoot” is an intercom system that allows you to communicate across all trading floors – it plays in our offices across the country and internationally. We use the hoot to relay new market information as quickly as possible so that our traders can update their pricing. At first, I was intimidated by it, but eventually, news came out that was too important not to hoot. It was such a rush of excitement, adrenaline, and yes, even a little fear. But the best part was the support I received from the other analysts, my mentors, and my friends who all recognized the significance of my first hoot.

In your opinion, what traits make someone in research successful?

I think it’s really important to be an inquisitive and critical thinker. We need to think about things from multiple angles, and our edge comes from having an understanding of expectations within the market. We can’t just take news at face value, so it’s important when taking in new information to ask yourself why it matters and to be aware of how you could be anchored to your own opinions. We spend a lot of our time prepping for an event or new information, and there is a part of you that must be ready to act. We don’t always have the luxury of waiting for more detailed information or have a few hours to think.