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  • Writer's pictureJohn Shelburne

Trust me....I will find the other side of that order!

OK....lets go over this one more time. Your a seller of 3 million of a CCC+ credit. Got it...the issuer is an Indian much outstanding...250 million....ok I need a quick refresher on bankruptcy laws on a reservation....none you much time do I have on the order...Your giving it to me for an hour...And this is firm to me.... I am getting the financials on this casino right now. I got this! I will have the other side for you in 55 minutes!

The voice salesperson is often asked to find the other side of an order for a bond that requires great phone sales skills. Most the time you either have a call into the right person on a desk or an insane bid/offer to get the buyer or sellers attention. Making the PHDC/HDC1 prayer call works about 1 out 50 times. When those hit.....high fives for everyone.....

These are the bonds that require stories in order to source or place paper. A good desk will have a CRM system that will indicate who might be a possible buyer. A great desk will have a CRM system that pulls every data point from every source imaginable and spit out a list of 5 to 10 actual buyers or sellers. A great desk will also have a trader that will manage the expectations of an salesperson trying to pull of a mini miracle.

In order to tell a good story, a salesperson needs to have a good visual to send to his or her client to peak interest. However, more often than not salespeople send a Bloomberg DES<GO> screen shot to the buyer or seller with one or two lines describing the situation.

Why are salespeople still relying on sending a screen shot (GRAB<GO>) of the DES page?

The usual judgement from the outsider (those who are not making calls) chalks up the behavior to laziness or lack of talent. However at CatFIX, we believe that the salespeople using a DES screenshot are not aware of the revolution in data visualization. Salespeople need to have access to the same tools that are used in the marketing department by graphic designers that post interactive infographics on the web, Instagram, FB and other social media platforms. A fixed income salesperson can learn quite a bit from a graphic designer and vice versa. (The social media manager might just show a desk how to drop a google analytic code snippet!)

CatFIX loves the data visualization tools from Visme and Flourish studios. An example of what one can do on Visme can be seen with this infographic on BBBY 5.165% 44's. Nothing fancy but at least it is different than what every other salesperson will send on the BBBY 44's. You can make some powerful infographics and auto populate the data if you have the right tools and time.

Automation will be key for a salesperson that uses data visualization. The salesperson will need to build a portfolio of visual templates for each "special situation". That is why it is imperative for a firm to have an internal data lake for building infographics. What is a data lake? (that's for another post....b/c attention spans are so short these days.) Another important point about finding the other side of an order is the role of the trader. To me a trader is like a camp counselor, they need to be a cheerleader and an authoritarian. A trader needs to be harsh enough to tell the salespeople when to let an opportunity pass. I have worked with some amazing traders and I had the fortune of watching traders from all different sizes of desks in Europe and the US. A great trader is knowing when to use the firms capital and knowing how to manage the eager nature of the salesperson.



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