Job descriptions and industry overviews

Financial trader

28 Feb 2023, 14:23

Using a mix of financial expertise, fast thinking and strategy, a career as a financial trader can be exciting and rewarding.

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Alternative job titles for this role

  • Equities trader
  • Futures trader
  • Derivatives trader
  • Securities trader
  • Forex trader
  • Flow traders
  • Proprietary trader
  • Sales trader


Traders are responsible for making prices and executing trades in equities, bonds, commodities and foreign exchange, dealing on behalf of or for the benefit of investment banks. There are three types of trader: Flow traders - buy and sell securities and other assets for clients such as futures, options and commodities. Proprietary traders trade on behalf of the bank itself. Sales traders take instructions directly from clients, placing orders and advising them on market developments and new financial ventures. They are intermediaries between the client and the market maker. Traders may specialise in a particular product, such as shares, fixed-interest bonds or foreign exchange (FX) markets.

What the job involves

  • Collate relevant information and data
  • Liaise closely with sales staff and inter-dealer brokers
  • Determine market sentiment via research, valuation and data analysis
  • Monitor Irish, UK and international market performance
  • Make prices in specific products
  • Provide key parties with daily trading information
  • Interpret financial/market reports
  • Inform sales staff about market movements/prices
  • Execute trades
  • Gain information from sales staff about client issues

How your career can develop

Trading offers high levels of responsibility, good promotional opportunities and impressive financial rewards including generous salaries and large bonuses.

Why financial trading matters

Financial traders are trusted with great responsibility, which can be disastrous if it’s abused. In 1995, rogue financial trader Nick Leeson brought about the collapse of one of the world’s oldest banks, Baring’s, through unscrupulous financial trading.


  • Confidence
  • Numerical skills
  • IT skills
  • Communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Teamworking skills

Typical employers

  • Financial houses
  • Investment banks
  • Exchanges such as the Irish Stock Exchange
  • Treasury departments of major companies
  • Hedge funds

Typical qualifications

A good degree (2.1) in any subject is required for entry into the profession. Qualifications in economics, politics, business, financial or numerate subjects can be useful.

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