The collaborative process
Looking back it seems silly, but when I pictured a successful trader before I worked in investment management, I envisioned someone who could quickly comprehend what was going on in the market and then swiftly, and independently, act on it. I completely underestimated the collaboration that occurs on the trading floor. I frequently see expert traders and strategists, often with decades of experience, approaching a colleague to run an idea by them or ask their opinion. In fact, some of the most senior and successful traders are the ones who do this the most often.
Spend a few hours in Vanguard’s Fixed Income Group and you will quickly realize you’re surrounded by people that LOVE their jobs. You can hear it in the way they talk, and, fortunately for me, the way they teach. The excitement and inherent interest when you bring a group of passionate people together begets further interest when questions are raised and opinions debated.
Diverse backgrounds of my coworkers
You may be noticing a trend of faulty expectations on my part… but I thought the typical career path was study finance à work in an investment support function à move into front office trading. I love that, again, I was wrong and that there is no typical career path. I work with former consultants, aerospace engineers, accountants, computer science PhDs, English majors, and self-taught coders. It seems obvious now but diverse backgrounds yield diverse thought which is what makes a great investment team.
Tangible impact on clients
Perhaps I should have expected this but my favorite aspect about my job is the tangibility of the impact we have on clients. It’s a great honor and great responsibility to manage our clients’ money. I’ve been fortunate to have experienced that impact in all of my roles at Vanguard but never has the impact been as tangible as it is as a trader. It’s incredibly rewarding to measure the impact you have in helping clients progress towards their goals.