Wharfer uses experiences to pen guide to investment banking

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Do you spend your days in one of Canary Wharf's glass towers, surrounded by colleagues you call friends but whose job description and role is, at best, opaque? If so, you're not alone in E14.

Morgan Stanley contractor Andrew Sutherland has clocked up 17 years in the investment banking sector, beginning in the technology department in New York's Citibank before a spell on the trading floor. He moved to London in 1998, where he returned to his tech roots at the firm's Strand office.

The 50-year-old admits he continually found himself sharing office space with those whose roles he couldn't understand throughout his work in the US and at various Wharf-based heavyweights.

Three years ago, it sparked the idea for The Front Office Manual: The Definitive Guide To Trading, Structuring And Sales, a new book co-written with former colleague Jason Court.

"I felt the time was right for something like this," said Andrew.

"It took me years to understand what all the departments in the bank did and how they worked together.

"All that has changed over the last few years but we are offering a pretty up-to-date look at how things are now. A lot of the books on investment banking are either written by academics not in the industry, or are too high-level.

"Because of the background John and I have, we are practical in our approach.

"And it's practical knowledge that can turn your ideas into a product that can be sold.

"This was an opportunity to put some of this practical experience on paper and try to create something that was of value."

The father-of-two said the text was highly detailed but that he hoped the single-volume resource would help capture the attention of those looking to make banking their career.

Andrew said as a technologist designing systems for the bank's trading floors, it was his sector that had been put in the spotlight following the global financial crisis.

"Technology has just scratched the surface of what it can do in the world of investment banking," he said.

"Banks have put a lot of emphasis on doing simple things, but doing more of them.

"There has been a huge emphasis on automation and algorythmic trading, and about putting computers in charge of trading practice.

"The computers are doing the bulk of trading in many markets."

And this shift could signal a space for The Front Office Manual Two, which might follow this writing adventure.

"Writing has been really fun," said the north Londoner.

"You get stuck into it and it becomes a good way to spend your day.

"The industry keeps evolving and the way banking is now changes things - there will be room for a second edition."

The Front Office Manual by Andrew Sutherland and Jason Court is published by Palgrave-Macmillan UK. Available on Amazon at £20 for the Kindle edition and £27 for the hard copy.

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