Executive Director/Vice President
Foreign Exchange Sales Group
Global Markets, Tokyo
Global Markets, Tokyo
I work in the Foreign Exchange Sales group in the Tokyo office. I sell currencies to corporate and institutional investor clients.
Right now, I work mainly with financial institutions, such as life insurance companies, investment trusts, investment advisors and banks. I carry out foreign currency trades related to their activity in foreign stocks and bonds, and I give advice on how to hedge their currency risks. Forex is a 24-hour market, so I have to work closely with our global offices. In addition, because we are talking about the total return picture in terms of foreign bonds and currencies, I have to coordinate with the bond sales department's forex team and with other teams as well.
The forex market moves in response to a variety of different factors. I have to be acutely aware of the activities of market participants, trends in other markets, and the economic and political situation in other countries. On top of that, I have to have an overview of the market as a whole, and be constantly thinking about what the current theme is.
I have been doing this job for a few months now. I help senior traders with their client trades, and I talk to clients about the latest market movements. We do a lot of trades on any given day, and different clients have different needs. Every day I learn more about all the different things that are involved in trading.
Compared with other markets, moves in the forex market are fast. The number of trades per day, and the total amount of money traded, are both very large, so it is important to be both fast and accurate. When it comes to forex risk hedging proposals, we use options to devise custom solutions based on client needs. We have to be able to grasp exactly what it is the client needs, and have the creativity to do well in turning that into a product. The forex team works in this financial market, which has the most liquidity, handling straight-up forex trading, but at the same time we work with derivatives and other extremely complex products.
I get to the office a little past 6 a.m. I check the overnight market information, and I write market comments. A little after 7 a.m., there is a study group for junior staff, and we put out comments on each market, and assess the color of the market as a whole. After that we have a forex morning meeting where the traders share information about what happened in the market the day before, and what we expect will happen that day.
After the morning meeting, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., I am on the phone with clients. I tell them the latest on what's going on in the market, and I am actually a middleman between the clients and the traders. Around 10 a.m. is the busiest time of the day, and there is a lot of trading going on. It can be a high-pressure time.
In the afternoon again I am on the phone with clients, mediating trades. When the market is quiet, I read research reports and do other "homework." I am studying forex derivatives and options. But I can never really take my eyes off what is happening in the market.
On days when major economic indicators are released in other time zones, or if the market is really volatile, I sometimes have to stay in the office late, but most days I can go home as soon as I have fully digested the things I learned that day, and made my preparations for the next day. Sometimes I have dinner with clients and senior colleagues.
In college I studied finance, and I knew I wanted to work in that field. When I was looking for a job, I had the chance to talk with people who worked for a lot of different companies, and that led me to the idea I wanted to work for a global financial firm right away, where I could do real work while I was still young. My reason for choosing Goldman Sachs from among all the others was that everyone I met from there was very ambitious. I had the sense they were working 120%. Most were very capable and individualistic. I knew right away they were the kind of people I wanted to work with.
For a few months after I joined the company, we had a desk rotation among the various teams in the Global Markets Division, so we could learn about the various products, and create networks within the company. Every day, we sat behind our senior colleagues, and we paid attention to what was happening. That is how we learned the business. Then for about two months I got to go to New York for training, and in September 2011, I joined the forex sales team.
One thing I have learned since joining the company is that the people around me are looking out for me and helping me grow. Of course, some parts of the daily grind are hard, but every one of my senior colleagues is positive about my effort and attitude. The harder you try, the more the company will provide you with opportunities. The learning curve right after joining the company is steep, but there is an environment in place to support you. It really is an exciting place to work for people who have a can-do attitude.