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Moving from Investment Banking IT to Operations?

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Wd40
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Moving from Investment Banking IT to Operations?

Postby Wd40 » Mon, 04 Mar 2013 10:14 pm

As the title says, I have applied for an internal mobility position for Operations Analyst.

I am currently working in a pure technical role in database/datawarehousing in the investment bank, with over 9 years of total IT experience(33 yrs old) and although there is some interaction with business users, I havent had much opportunity to learn the business.

Today I got an initial screening call for the new position that I applied and although I have absolutely no experience in Operations(as its evident in my resume) the fact that I got a screening call means, I am assuming, they are willing to let me learn.

The Operations Analyst role I believe is related to equities trade settlement, reconciliation etc. Looks like a middle office kind of role.

Its still very preliminary and there will be few rounds of interviews, if they do consider me.

I just wanted to check if people here are working in IB operations and/or moved to operations from IT, if they have any suggestions? How is an operations kind of role in terms of career growth? Is it possible to learn all that stuff? How is operations role looked at compared to an IT role? Any tips for attending the interviews will also be helpful ;)

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Mon, 04 Mar 2013 10:57 pm

IT > anything else , you'll soon find yourself rubbing your shoulders with idiots out of B schools who think they are Gods gift to the planet.

Personally I would never give up my technical skills for something like Operations Analyst.

Here is what you can do though to get a feel about what the role is like, ask them to give you some training or interact with an OA for a while and see what his job is like and then decide if you really want to do it.
To get there early is on time and showing up on time is late

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Postby Wd40 » Tue, 05 Mar 2013 12:04 am

Thanks Raj, Here's the thing; I started off my career in call centers and telephonic sales, BPOs and stuff and at that time I used to admire IT guys. Now I am an IT guy myself and have been for last 6-7 years. I like my job, although I haven't really been learning anything new for past several years.

I realize that from now on, I need to either move up the ladder i.e. become a project manager or something, that would be natural career progression. If I take up an Operations Analyst role, I would gain some domain knowledge and if I dont like I can still come back after couple of years back into the IT line and try and move up the ladder.

The thing is IT in Singapore isn't valued as much. I am finding it very hard to change my job. My current role will be moved to India in another 3-4 months and I dont find any other bank hiring my kind of role in a permanent position. Those that are hiring are either contract roles for low salary or permanent role in non banking again low salary. Hence this interest to move into another division within the bank, even if it means completely different role. As long as you are working for banking on their payrolls it can't be that bad huh :wink:

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Re: Moving from Investment Banking IT to Operations?

Postby JR8 » Tue, 05 Mar 2013 12:19 am

In my experience, Operations, that is trade settlement and so on, is a pretty fast and furious department, usually filled with young and street-wise people (qualifications not important), it's down to being sharp which you're either born with, or are unlikely to get. That's London/NY, SG might be less intense but it still needs it to some degree.

But tell me, what is an Operations Analyst? I've heard of Ops Clerks, and Managers... but Analysts?

I get loud warning bells from the below quote of yours BTW. [Don't take this the wrong way, I'm commenting constructively]. You seem to have applied for a role, but you're not sure what it is.

a) Make damned sure you know exactly what you're applying for, before you get an interview and potentially make a fool of yourself (see if you can sit with an exisiting 'OA' have a chat, or lunch (on you) and run through it for half an hour. That would brief you up, and show initiative that you had a handle on the scope of the internal position).

b) Consider carefully what it is you're looking for, in trying to find an avenue away from where you are, to where you're headed. Define what it is you really want to do... [i.e. you seem to be readying for a journey, but seem unclear quite where it might take you].

Wd40 wrote:The Operations Analyst role I believe is related to equities trade settlement, reconciliation etc. Looks like a middle office kind of role.


Operations (trade settlement), can be an avenue to getting a position on the dealing floor, as the mentality required in either role is not that dissimilar.

Anyway, best of luck, and if you can clarify what this 'OA' function is, that would help with further comment.


p.s. While writing the above you wrote your post of 12:04. I haven't read it yet, but will in due course. But just keep in mind I hadn't read it at the time of my replying. So I'll take that on board in due course, and no need to repeat yourself.

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Postby Wd40 » Tue, 05 Mar 2013 12:36 am

Thanks JR8, Really appreciate your reply. Here's the exact job description:

Job Description:

The London Commission Sharing team supports the London Client Relationship Management Group (CRMG). The CRMG group manages client profitability, broker voting process, Soft Commission and Commission Sharing services for the EMEA region.

Monthly reconciliation of global client trades and updating of trades in Global Equity Sales Credit systems

Reconciliation and monitoring of sales credits to commission sharing

Liaise with clients and London CSA team to resolve reconciliation discrepancies

Perform general ledger reconciliation and review of outstanding items

Address any ad-hoc queries from clients, salesperson and other region CSA team

Validating invoices to determine if it is eligible to be paid using client dealing commissions

Qualifications:

Strong and Clear communication skills – excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential.

Attention to detail- accuracy and control are key factors to success.

Time management – able to prioritise tasks, meet deadlines and work under pressure.

Teamwork – must be a real team player willing to take on tasks / functions as the workflow dictates.

Customer Service Focus - Must be able to work with our customers to ensure that we provide an excellent standard of service

Good general knowledge of equity products is required.

Good excel skills. Knowledge of VBA and macro programming skills will be favorably looked upon.

Flexible work approach – willing to operate on London shift environment.

Availability to work a share of Singapore Public Holidays. Time off in lieu will be given for public holidays worked.




I have to admit, I dont know much about the role. The qualifications required, didnt look too much of a stretch for me and hence I applied.I will talk to some guys in operations to understand more about it so that I have a better chance. Thanks again.

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Postby Sergei82 » Tue, 05 Mar 2013 9:55 am

In the long perspective you can screw up your IT career by that. If you're taken back after a few years, that will be junior positions only.

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Tue, 05 Mar 2013 11:00 am

Wd40 wrote:although I haven't really been learning anything new for past several years.

I realize that from now on, I need to either move up the ladder i.e. become a project manager or something.

The thing is IT in Singapore isn't valued as much. I am finding it very hard to change my job.


The underlined components indicate your problem. You've possibly stagnated in one role/position doing the same mundane things all the time.
The thing with IT is that you have to constantly put yourself in a position where you are indispensable to the company.
In other words they cannot simply afford to get rid of you because there is no one else that can do the job that you do.

I feel you should consider investing some of your time in learning some new technical skills. You already have skills in Database/ warehousing. what about learning something in the Storage/Networking/Telecom
etc
These new skills will help you change jobs.


If you are headed towards a project management position I would feel for you badly. Most project managers are stressed out trying to meet crazy deadlines while trying to avoid the radar scan as much as they can. This is from watching too many project managers fall on their swords in my company.

This is my 2 cents thats all.
To get there early is on time and showing up on time is late

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Postby Aragorn2000 » Tue, 05 Mar 2013 11:13 am

AFAIK, trade settlements, reconcilliations are BACK office, not middle office.
(applicable to Singapore only): I've seen many Back office folks (or aunties) who are idiots, some only have diploma qualifications as the job doesn't require so much analytical thinking.
A lady I know once prefered to key in thousands of trade modifications and didn't even bother to investigate the root cause for trade breaks. I guess she did this to keep her "data entry" job.

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Postby Wd40 » Tue, 05 Mar 2013 7:05 pm

rajagainstthemachine wrote:
Wd40 wrote:although I haven't really been learning anything new for past several years.

I realize that from now on, I need to either move up the ladder i.e. become a project manager or something.

The thing is IT in Singapore isn't valued as much. I am finding it very hard to change my job.


The underlined components indicate your problem. You've possibly stagnated in one role/position doing the same mundane things all the time.
The thing with IT is that you have to constantly put yourself in a position where you are indispensable to the company.
In other words they cannot simply afford to get rid of you because there is no one else that can do the job that you do.

I feel you should consider investing some of your time in learning some new technical skills. You already have skills in Database/ warehousing. what about learning something in the Storage/Networking/Telecom
etc
These new skills will help you change jobs.


If you are headed towards a project management position I would feel for you badly. Most project managers are stressed out trying to meet crazy deadlines while trying to avoid the radar scan as much as they can. This is from watching too many project managers fall on their swords in my company.

This is my 2 cents thats all.


Thanks for your comments.
Actually its not the lack of skills that is making it difficult to change jobs. Databases/Datawarehousing are pretty niche. But the thing is when you are working for a bank on their payrolls, you are over paid already for the role.

I am making 8.3k a month. There is no way to get this salary outside of banking for an individual contributor role, no matter what technologies I learn. Within banking too its only extremely niche like C++ low latency programming etc which is paid that high. Also its easy to say learn technologies, but its hard to do that unless on the job and then there is risk that what you learn may not be much help.

The only logical career progression for IT guys is Project Management. In other developed countries and also in India, individual contributors with lots of experience are valued, for eg you could remain a technical architect or a consultant. But in Singapore, its always the person who bids for the lowest salary wins. The current salaries in Singapore for developer is 6-6.5k. That is considered the higher range :roll:

Also I notice that in Singapore, recruiters prefer to get candidates from India, rather than hiring from Singapore, because its very easy to sell the idea a dream job of 5k per month to an Indian who is dreaming to go "onsite" to a "developed country" than someone who is already here.

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Postby ulu ulu » Tue, 05 Mar 2013 8:35 pm

It appears you are considering this opportunity primarily because you want to continue working in Singapore with your current pay.

Have you considered the possibility that this operations job might be off-shored to a lower cost location in a couple of years? As the JD says you will be working for London. Other lower cost locations like India are better in terms of time overlap with London.

If that happens in couple of years, you will not have recent IT experience. What kind of jobs do you think you will get at that time.

Also for you to ponder, what is that you think you will learn in this role which you can market in couple of years?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 05 Mar 2013 8:44 pm

ulu ulu, had you bother to do any research on this board and WD40 you wouldn't have posted that. Local queue jumper by chance?

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Postby ulu ulu » Tue, 05 Mar 2013 8:50 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:ulu ulu, had you bother to do any research on this board and WD40 you wouldn't have posted that. Local queue jumper by chance?


:???:

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Postby Wd40 » Tue, 05 Mar 2013 10:40 pm

ulu ulu wrote:It appears you are considering this opportunity primarily because you want to continue working in Singapore with your current pay.

Have you considered the possibility that this operations job might be off-shored to a lower cost location in a couple of years? As the JD says you will be working for London. Other lower cost locations like India are better in terms of time overlap with London.

If that happens in couple of years, you will not have recent IT experience. What kind of jobs do you think you will get at that time.

Also for you to ponder, what is that you think you will learn in this role which you can market in couple of years?


Actually I have a keen interest in equities and I think I am more aware about capital markets than the average IT guy out there, so that is also one of the drivers to move into this role which will let me learn more about the intricacies of the lifecycle of a trade.

It is very well possible that this role also gets outsourced to India but even if it means 2 more years in the bank in Singapore, I will take it.

I dont think lack of recent experience in IT should matter that much, if anything this new role will make me more employable in IT because then I have not only IT skills but also more process knowledge and domain knowledge.

I am actually not someone who is very focused on career goals. I take things as they come, thats probably one of the reason I am in this situation. But its ok. If I compare myself with my peers I am not doing that bad 10 years into my career and I doubt whether I will regret this move(if at all it happens) 10 years later either as long as I am nimble enough and constantly sensing the market trends.

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 06 Mar 2013 4:51 am

Wd40 wrote:Thanks JR8, Really appreciate your reply. Here's the exact job description:



Hehe. thanks for posting.

Funny now how all this self-important jargon that once meant so much now means so little, and in fact invites ridicule.

'The EEAMEASA team will segue with the UMEALA Investment Banking synergy-units for maximum 24/7 efficiency'....


Blah blah blah...


Blah blah blah blah blah.... heheh....

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Postby zzm9980 » Wed, 06 Mar 2013 11:01 am

Wd40 wrote:I am making 8.3k a month. There is no way to get this salary outside of banking for an individual contributor role, no matter what technologies I learn.


I can completely and unequivocally tell you you are wrong. The company I work for may have more cash on hand than most banks, but is not in banking. That would be slightly higher than middle of the range for any IC grade that someone with 4-6 yrs experience would be in. And that is for any of our IT roles.


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