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Deals desk

At the heart of any commercial organisation is the need to know exactly what, why, where, when and how it is exposed to the market, and the impact these elements have on the profitability of the company.

The deals desk in Trafigura is a front office team providing market and risk analysis globally on a real time basis. Our primary responsibilities revolve around monitoring all elements of the risk and exposure related to our commercial activity and report it directly to the board on a daily basis. Being seated in the middle of a trade floor, we serve in a support role for traders spanning across virtually every market. Commercially, we add value by providing traders with risk assessments and analysis which highlight their exposure, optionality and PnL. These reports are essential to help them make the right commercial decisions and optimize the opportunities their portfolios generate, all the while providing deals desk employees with an unprecedented front office learning experience in the world of trading.

To fully master the role takes years of training as it requires an in-depth knowledge of every element of physical and derivative trading, as well as being able to interpret the impact of operational, financial and political changes on the underlying position and profit. Whilst all responsibilities and accountabilities of the role remain based upon the core principles of risk management, the factors that drive them change on an hour by hour, day by day basis as the company discovers new and innovative ways to generate a wide and truly diversified portfolio.

Meet one of our Deals Desk Managers

Meet one of our Deals Desk Managers

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Meet one of our Deals Desk Managers

24 February 2015
Meet one of the Deals Desk Team

Meet one of the Deals Desk Team

Watch video

Meet one of the Deals Desk Team

08 October 2012
Meet one of our graduates in Mumbai

Meet one of our graduates in Mumbai

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Meet one of our graduates in Mumbai

05 April 2016
Meet one of our regional deals desk managers in Montevideo

Meet one of our regional deals desk managers in Montevideo

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Meet one of our regional deals desk managers in Montevideo

28 June 2017

A day in the life of a senior market and risk analyst - Asia derivatives lead

Senior market and risk analyst

Country: Singapore
Education: State University of New York at Binghamton, Economics & Pre Law
History: Started as a Market and Risk Analyst in Houston 15 months ago
Interests: Sports, reading

06:30

Just touched down in Singapore after 10 days in Mumbai, India. Still tired from last nights ‘team building exercise’, teamwork is essential in a global role where you depend on the deliverables each individual.

07:00

Taxi drop at the office and head upstairs to the gym for a quick run before I start the workday.

08:00

Sat at my desk. I sit next to the Asia head of derivatives. It’s incredibly useful to be amongst the action, as every second counts in this industry and a quick/accurate answer could be the difference between profit and loss.

08:30

Finish my daily risk report, which includes a breakdown of the option greeks and a bit of hedging advice. Senior traders depend on the accuracy of these reports, so it’s a huge responsibility.

09:00

We are launching a new trading system so I have been working very closely with the quant’s and developers to provide front office requirements for Go-Live.

09:45

Mumbai team starts to arrive. Much of the reconciliation is done out of the Mumbai office, so a video conference at my desk is always in the cards to discuss other issues.

10:15

Need to hedge the swaps we have pricing at the end of today, so I put in an order for some TAS (trade at settlement) via our Central Execution Desk; extreme precision is required here. Going the wrong way would in effect double our exposure whereby I would be inadvertently increasing our risk rather than limiting it (entirely the opposite of my job function).

11:00

Time to get some Excel work in before lunch. I’m building an automated spreadsheet which will allow for anyone in our global network to pull prices for any commodity, traded on any exchange.

12:30

Run out for a sandwich and a coffee; I’ll be eating on the desk today with the market moves as they are. Had it been a quiet Friday, maybe an “elegant lunch” could be in the cards.

15:00

Shanghai close. Video conference with our metals traders, need to fully understand their position and expected PnL before sending out a prelim to the team (including the board of directors).

17:30

Roll my chair over to the Coal desk. This is a completely different market than I’m used to, so I’m keen to learn a thing or two with a few spare minutes. Everyone is really open to developing talent and building relationships here, there’s a clear correlation between career opportunities and your knowledge base.

19:00

Global Head of Deals Desk is in town - team dinner. Going to be another late one, he doesn’t make it to Singapore often but when he does you’re on his schedule!

A day in the life of a market and risk analyst

Market and risk analyst

Country: Switzerland - Geneva
Education: State University of New York at Binghamton - Economics and Pre Law
History: Started as a Market and Risk Analyst in Houston 15 months ago
Interests: Sports, reading

06:00

Scramble to find the BB. Scroll through emails from US and Singapore office to check for any major event that might capture the day's attention.

06:45

Find glasses, get fresh, leave for work. On the 20mins ride over to office glance through US and Singapore PnL and exposure send-outs in detail. Make a rough calculation for day's global estimated pnl for head of trading.

07:15

Work out latest exposure, optionality strategy based on current flat price to be distributed among WAF traders.

07:45

Call Mumbai office for an update of the North Sea exposure and pnl. Work through any complex physical trading economics and dated exposure management.

08:15

Chat with derivatives traders about the feel for the day over breakfast.

08:45

Start work on one of the biggest physical trading book with bbls ranging from WAF, Med, Russia and South America. Frequently popping up from the desk to chat with operations keeping up to date on logistics and pricing events.

11:00

Either rugby, football or cricket comes online on the desk sponsored TV.

11:30

Start hedging the exposures on the book, and making sure that everything pricing makes sense.

13:00

Lunch

13:30

Meeting with Med Trader and Operator to discuss the up-coming pipeline and barges contract.

14:30

Called COO to explain PnL and exposure on a specific part of African business.

15:00

Conference with US office discussing details of Time Charter barges and Corpus Christi pnl, also discussing MTM any new interesting deals.

16:30

Submit finalized day's numbers to head of desk and chat over any major moves and trading strategy and exposures.

17:00

Major move in flat changed the most optimized option scenario and which meant covering exposure instantaneously.

17:30

Call with Athens office to discuss global demurrage and claims on the bench.

18:00

Prepare end of day market and PnL summary note to be sent to management board with an estimate for next day's PnL.

18:30

Take care of few ad-hoc PnL, volume, grade and counterparty analysis.

19:00

Day is over.

A day in the life of a graduate

Rotation 1 - graduate

Country: Houston - USA
Education: State University of New York at Binghamton - Economics and Pre Law
History: Started as a Market and Risk Analyst in Houston 15 months ago
Interests: Sports, reading

07:00

Arrive in the office, markets open in New York at 8.30am which is 7.30am in Houston and I like to double check our positions.

07:15

Have a quick chat with the traders, check they agree on positions and the Profit or Loss from the day before. Sometimes they’ll have some questions I need to investigate but all seems in good order today.

07:30

Take a look at one of the official published reports (Argus or Platts) on the previous day’s market activity. These give a brief rundown of the market movement and I like to check the volume of the market as well as the range traded. This is also valuable information for the trader.

09:30

Once the traders and other analysts are satisfied with everything from yesterday we will officially publish the results to the management. This also involves writing a brief synopsis on how we made or lost money, and why.

10:30

A key role of the deals desk analyst is accurately hedging any ‘pricing’ exposure on the book. Once I have calculated what I need to do, I will send an order into one of our traders asking him to execute a trade on my behalf.

11:45

Time for a quick lunch, usually I’ll grab something and eat at my desk as our afternoons are quite busy and there is a fair bit to do.

12:30

Today my trader is putting together the next month blending plan and wants to go through the economics. Setting up a blending plan and making sure all risk is correctly hedged can take some time and accuracy is of the utmost importance.

14:30

Paper market has now closed, and most of the physical trading is completed so we can start working on our end of day processes and seeing how we performed.

15:00

Now we have the published settlements we can go about calculating a PnL based on our positions against the markets close (Mark-to-Market).

16:00

We have various trades to reconcile both physical and paper across a number of different grades. We have to make sure that everything is hedged correctly and that will generate the new position.

18:00

Send out an estimate of the profit and loss and the new trading position.

18:30

Head out to play 5-aside football with some of the other Traf guys.

A day in the life of a deals desk analyst

Deals desk analyst

Country: Switzerland - Geneva
Education: MSAE in City University of Hong Kong, BS in Actuarial Sciences in Anahuac University, BS in Philosophy in National Autonomous University of Mexico
History: Interviewed in Shanghai, started in Lucerne, moved to Geneva
Interests: Cycling, Kickboxing, Reading, Music, Languages, Movies

07:00

Starting the day with a Body Pump class, followed by shower and then jump on the bike and head to work.

08:45

Sorting out mailbox to see what happened overnight in Latin America and see how the market opened on the Asian region before we receive pricing working orders.

10:30

Chinese clients lured by a sudden drop in Copper are ringing our lines, we need to get their orders verified: correct amount by shipment, correct QP month, previous hedges entered and latest assays info as well as liaising with our internal broker to ensure they get filled if market reaches.

11:30

Team work, sitting down with Physical Deals Desk and Traders Assistants to decide upon our spreads strategy and design new reporting plan to improve our worldwide consolidation exposure position.

12:45

15 min for the silver fixing, soon followed by 2nd LME ring where we will get Base metal official prices of the day. Checking all trades for today starting QPs are correctly authorised and registered in our system.

13:15

Time for French class, I get to interact with people from IT, Accounting, Refined Metals and Oil. The class pushes me to learn a bit more and things get interesting when we start to discuss about Le Corbusier and Swiss vs. French Cultural differences.

14:30

An interesting case of Turkish metal is brought to my attention as it’s near to final invoicing and we need to verify all hedges are correct and what would be the impact of any required adjustment in our PnL.

16:00

A blend coming from Latin America and going to Asia it’s pending QP declaration and hedging, need to bridge the time zone difference and make sure that upon their opening Mexico Concentrate Operations enter corresponding hedge request, submit physical exposure backups and coordinate authorisation and rates with local Deals Desk. At the same time, price goes up and Johannesburg clients want to price their position, so the phone is ringing constantly.

17:15

A new operator has some questions and rings me to discuss about the background of Hedging, Why do we hedge even if we get a low rate in a gold depressed spreads market? What kind of products we deal? How do our systems work and interact? What is the PnL impact of different hedge requests and deals rates?

18:00

LME market close, receiving official valuations, sending spreads update mails and checking all pricings orders and all deals have been filled correctly or deleted if expired.

19:15

Meeting friends by the Jet d’Eau for a drink followed by Japanese dinner in a restaurant near the Old Town.