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July 1, 2008

Sales Traders Get Into Position

By James Ramage

Sales traders' roles have changed. Brokerages are asking them to do more of the trading. With this, their functions have melded more with those of position traders.

By executing trades, as well as monitoring them, the sales trader's job has become more complicated. In the process, position traders are sometimes stepping in and providing assistance.

"The roles, in many cases, are converging and becoming more complementary," says Tim Gee, managing director and head of distribution for the cash trading products at UBS. "Sales traders have increased the amount of trading they are doing directly, which opens the door and even necessitates [position] traders to reach out to clients with their rich insights and content." Gee says position traders are now more important in the client relationship, as they've become more visible and interact more with the buyside.

At Morgan Stanley, sales traders are being asked to think like position traders, and vice versa, says Michael Schaftel, who runs its U.S. sales business.Because the firm has been seeing more capital use and bigger blocks in the market, sales and position traders there need to be able to manage clients' needs and expectations by understanding all the buyside's tools, including capital, Schaftel adds.

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