I've been working with this trader and every time he explains something to me, it sound like foreign language. There's so many things going on. I'm a graduate analyst on the bond trading desk and I don't think it's all that complicated. It's just millions of concepts flying around. Anyone have any advice or the best way to learn? I've read Fabozzi but it isn't the same as sitting on the desk.

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    $\begingroup$ More often than not, they just use their conventions with little or no regard for your (lack of) comprehension. Maybe to boost their ego feeling the owners of some dark magic... maybe because they're simply not able put it simpler than this. However, that's not a problem of yours, just a problem you have to adapt to. $\endgroup$ – Lisa Ann Sep 21 '17 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ @LisaAnn in other words it is not just the bond trading technics that you have to know but the bond trading culture as well. $\endgroup$ – noob2 Sep 21 '17 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ @VanillaCall This is the time to ask questions - the more the better. The worst thing that can happen is he doesnt know the answer. If you just started, noone will expect you to know everything. The alternative, NOT asking it, is a problem down the road. If you are there for 5 years and still dont know what everyone is talking about, it will be MUCH harder to ask! $\endgroup$ – vanguard2k Sep 22 '17 at 11:27
  • $\begingroup$ @noob2 In my experience basic blocks are always the same: term structures which show things under a fair value common metric (e.g. implied volatility, yield...), derivatives of something with respect to one or more risk factors and so on. Then each field has its own dialect. $\endgroup$ – Lisa Ann Sep 22 '17 at 17:16
  1. Don't get discouraged – this is how we all felt when we got started. This is particularly true in fixed income, where a lot of jargons are thrown around.

  2. Ask your colleagues. You can potentially figure everything out by reading books, but it's much better to just consult your colleagues – it's one thing to have an academic understanding of how things work, it's a totally different matter to hear how practitioners interpret and think about different concepts.

  3. I generally find Fabozzi's books to be too academic. Fixed income is all about market conventions and subtleties, which Fabozzi glosses over. There are much better books written by practitioners. Bruce Tuckman's Fixed Income Securities is my personal favorite (I prefer the 2nd edition to the 3rd). Another great one is Siddhartha Jha's Interest Rate Markets – A Practical Approach to Fixed Income.

  4. Assuming you work for an institution that publishes such things, read the weekly rates strategy reports from at least the past few years.

  • $\begingroup$ As far as Tuckman is concerned: Why do you prefer the second edition over the third? This one is still missing in my collection and if the second edition is better, I can get it cheaper. :) $\endgroup$ – vanguard2k Sep 22 '17 at 11:26
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    $\begingroup$ @vanguard2k The 2nd edition misses the multi-curve concept, but it's much more clearly laid out from a pedagogical perspective (easier to follow, better explained). The 3rd edition, in its effort to incorporate multi-curve, becomes much more convoluted than necessary and introduces way too many concepts early on. Still a great reference, but much weaker as a textbook. Also 2nd edition had prettier charts that weren't directly copied and pasted from Excel... $\endgroup$ – Helin Sep 22 '17 at 13:54

This is how we've all felt when we started in FI groups. Not much way around it other than just time on the job, but what is really helpful for a lot of people (myself included) is to keep a notebook nearby and just take down every question you have or anything you don't understand. Then, when things slow down from a sprint to a walk (and you're only with other junior analysts/associates) you can ask colleagues what things mean and fill in your notes.

  • $\begingroup$ Read "Inside the Yield book" goo.gl/xcCBwq, best book on bonds period. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions and feel foolish - in the long run you will be respected for asking about what you don't know. And the notebook thing as per comment 3 - YES, do it. $\endgroup$ – Bikenfly Sep 26 '17 at 18:28

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