Interviews – Financial – Toby Watson

Toby Watson left Oxford University, where he was a blue in rugby, to balance playing professional rugby for London Scottish, while holding down a full-time job at Deutsche Bank. He was recently headhunted from there by global investment bank Goldman Sachs. We interviewed him about his recent move and how to succeed at the highest level

Date of birth: 27 July 1972

Time in old position: Six years

Former title: Associate director, European securitization group

New title: Executive director, high yield credit derivatives

Reasons for changing position:
Securitization is going to become very commoditized, and I think the collateralized bond obligations (CBO) market will be very big. It is connected to the high yield market, so to become big it needs the high yield market in Europe to become larger, which I think it will. Goldman has the best platform to work in this new, rapid growth market.

What will you miss most about your old job?
Our team was really strong at Deutsche, and we all got on well. They have now all gone to Merrill Lynch, but the opportunity to work at Goldman was too good to be missed.

What will you miss least?
The Deutsche Bank structure. Within global markets it is too segmented, which means you are not able to work across different areas.

What are you most excited about?
Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s three strongest investment banks and is a fantastic firm for opportunity. If someone is good the company will allow you to blossom in any area you want. Rather than asking who is good in a specialist area, they decide who has most raw talent and move people around accordingly. They look for characteristics more than experience. If you are good at Goldman the opportunities are absolutely vast.

What are you least excited by?
The working hours. The small size of the teams means it is a high stress job.

What are your personal ambitions?
To become a partner is my ultimate ambition. To be the best. Otherwise I want to enjoy myself. Life is only so long, and outside of work I intend to spend my salary and have plenty of fun.

What are your company’s ambitions?
To become the number one player in the market. It is a new market and as yet no one has any experience of it. Goldman wants to be the leading player within a year.

How do you see the future of the company?
I believe Goldman has a very secure future. In investment banking it will remain one of the key players. Goldman is not the biggest of the banks, but I think it has the strongest structure. And it has the ability to move quickly into markets – it is unparalleled.

Any pearls of wisdom?
You need to be far-sighted to succeed at the highest level. Intuition is a great talent to have on your side. You want to join a team that is going to expand into the ‘big thing’. That is unlikely to be what everyone thinks is going to be the ‘big thing’. Once everyone else is hyping an area of banking it is too late to get involved.

What is the worst job you have ever done?
Pension fund management. That was certainly an all time low – even worse than packaging chocolate bars in a Parisian factory during my gap year.

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