For those who know anything about the ISDA space (and I know that isn’t many of you on this board), just wanted to think out loud and hopefully get some thoughts.
I graduated from a lower T-14 and was fortunate to grab a position as an ISDA negotiator at an investment bank. I struck out at 2l OCI but was able to land an in-house internship, which rather arbitrarily placed me on the ISDA team. My current role is pretty interesting and fulfilling, and I am getting lots of opportunity to grow. My understanding is that I am expected to ramp up to a pretty broad set of agreements – ISDAs, Prime Brokerage, Repos, MSFTAs, CDEAs. I am especially sanguine about Prime Brokerage. In light of this, I generally have broad questions on how I should be progressing my career.
First, what is the career growth possibilities on the legal side for a junior negotiator? I know obviously the vanilla path is to just climb the ranks of documentation and become a senior negotiator and eventually manage a negotiation team, either at a broker dealer or at a hedge fund. However, are there more comprehensive roles? While I like what I do, I am worried that I will be silo-ed into ISDAs, especially if they become disfavored. Are there opportunities at firms or at hedge funds where one can either have a broader legal skillset (I am thinking Investment Funds, Hedge Funds, or Structured Product groups at firms) or wear multiple hats?
Second, what would be the career growth possibilities on the transactional side? Are there credit or middle office roles that a negotiator can transition to within the bank or hedge fund? I am considering getting a CFA and/or the CAIA to polish up my business chops. Would this help in any way with the career?
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I think there would be plenty of room for you in either a firm or in-house capacity. Not sure that going CFA will really help you. I feel as though the momentum is moving toward compliance, especially in the wake of Title VII rulemakings. Every bank, whether commercial or investment, swap dealer, or major swap participant needs advice on how to comply. While volumes may have decreased in the short term, I don't think OTC markets are going to dissipate anytime soon.
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