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A London UBS trader made a peculiar career move

Although most people with decades of trading experience at a bank tend to hand in their keycards to either retire or move onto a hedge fund, it's not mandatory to do either. When you leave banking, you can do anything, including working on an oil rig. 

One UBS trader appears to have reached this realization. Edward Larsen spent seven years at UBS trading equity derivatives before apparently leaving this month. He’s now at BP, of all places, as an independent contractor, of all things. Although he left UBS in December, Larsen’s social media presence indicates that he has been with BP since at least July.

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Larsen didn't respond to a request to comment for this article, but his new choice of career seems curious given his CV: prior to UBS he worked for Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and Goldman Sachs, and it might be presumed that other trading roles would be open to him. However, equities trading hasn't had the best 2023; every major bank (except Goldman Sachs) reported declines in revenue for the first nine months of this year compared to last. UBS noted that the fall in revenue in its global markets equities business was "mainly driven by lower equity derivatives revenues." 

Working in oil and gas can be lucrative - if you work for trading teams. In 2022, traders at the three European oil majors (BP, Shell, and Total) generated $37bn in profit between them according a study by Bernstein Research reported in the Financial Times1,400 partners at Trafigura, a commodities trader split $5.9bn in profit between them for its financial year ending September 2023, averaging out to $4.2m per head. Oil companies aren't known for paying those sums to mere traders, however.

Working on an oil rig isn't as lucrative. The UK's national careers service lists an offshore drilling worker's salary range as between £20k ($25k) and £60k ($75k), based on experience - substantially less than most London analysts make.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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