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Log Book for Internship With Merrill Lynch Bank Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Mar 19th, 2022

Week One

Day and date Description of activities
Monday
02/08/2010
Being my first day at Merrill Lynch bank in Dubai, I was introduced to the people I was to spend most of my time with (co-workers). In addition, I also got a tour around the office and work environment so that I could familiarize myself with the settings.
After settling in, I was tasked with the duty of reading various financial news and articles from selected sources and search for at least 10 Chinese industrial stocks. Thereafter, I was expected to discuss my findings with the advisors.
Tuesday
03/08/2010
On this day, I was expected to prepare a table showcasing the 10 Chinese stocks. In addition to this, I was supposed to give detailed explanations as to why I chose those stocks. I was to print relative graphs for each stock and discuss them with the advisor.
Wednesday
04/08/2010
Activities covered in the course of this day included reading about technical analysis, Printing portfolio pages and distributing them to the financial advisors for revisions.
Thursday
05/08/2010
Introduced to series 7 exams. I read through the first module which discussed the various factors relating to equities. I later had to discuss the technical analysis with advisors and I got a chance to attend a conference call.
Friday
06/08/2010
Reading module 2 of series 7 exams which covered all aspects relating to corporate debt securities. In addition, I had an opportunity to discuss module 1 (equities) with the advisor as proof of understanding the concepts covered by the topic.

New knowledge or skill learned on the internship this week

Being an intern in the wealth management department of the Merrill Lynch bank, I had a chance to experience a real work situation. The financial sector is very challenging and it requires joint efforts by members in order to tackle these challenges. I was able to learn the value of teamwork and communication in a business setting. As regarding to new skills, I learnt new methods of analyzing companies in the stock market and how to present information gathered to the supervisors/advisors.

Knowledge from college that could have been applied on the internship

On the first, second and third day, I got a chance to apply knowledge acquired in college. I was expected to print some graphs and interpret them to the advisors. In addition, I had to select some stock options from various sources. Without the knowledge acquired at school, I could not have pulled these tasks off. This is because they required careful evaluation and analysis of financial factors covered in my course.

Difficulties, mistakes, pleasant or unpleasant experiences that occurred this week, and what was done to correct them

The most prevalent problem that I had was getting help from my co-workers. It was understandable since they had their duties to perform. In addition to this, I experienced some difficulties during my presentations to the advisors. Mainly, my arguments were not as strong as expected and in some instances, I experienced stage fright and I could not effectively present my cases. However, I managed to survive through all these hurdles by rehearsing my presentations beforehand and being persistent in the face of rejection. I also tried my best to ask the right questions at the right time and doing nothing else but my best where my attention was required.

Skill or question that could have been used to help in performing the internship responsibilities better

The presentation was my main challenge during the week. As such, I feel that some assistance in my presentation skills would be invaluable in improving my performance. I need some help in planning and organizing financial data such that it becomes consistent, concise and coherent. This is because the efficient presentation of ideas and arguments in financial institutions contributes highly to their success.

Interesting or challenging experience that have been experienced with fellow workers or site supervisor

The most interesting moments during the week was when one of my co-workers described his experience at the bank during his first month of employment. He explained in detail how his co-workers looked down on him and were reluctant to adequately assist him to accomplish his tasks. He gave me quality advice on how to always stay on top of situations no matter how challenging they were. On the other hand, the most challenging experience I had was on Tuesday. I was supposed to present and interpret some graphs to the advisor. The interpretation proved to be more difficult than I expected. This was because the advisor kept on asking for justifications as regarding to each aspect and In some instances, I did not have ready answers to quench his curiosity.

Week Two

Day and date Description of activities
Monday
09/08/2010
On this day, I read the third module in preparation for the series 7 exams. The module was about government securities. Through this module, I was able to learn of their description, their similarities and differences as compared to other securities and when they apply. In addition to this, I discussed module 2 (corporate debt securities) with the advisor. During this discussion, we also had a chance to go through The Pacific Investment Management Company, LLC (PIMCO) income fund with advisor.
Tuesday
10/08/2010
Reading module 4 (economics and the markets). I also discussed the third module with the advisor. In addition, I had to prepare a summary of the Indian economy and sectors for the advisor and discussing it with him. I highlighted all the factors that contributed to the growth of the Indian economy and sectors as well as those factors that acted a hindrances to this growth.
Wednesday
11/08/2010
Discussing module 4 with advisor. In addition to this, i did a mini research about Gazprom (open joint stock company). It is among the largest energy companies in the world and offers a steady supply of gas to many regions across the globe. The company deals with the exploration of gas. In addition, the company also produce, store and transport the same to various suppliers around the world.
Thursday
12/08/2010
I have read the RIC monthly report and discussed it with supervisor. This report was created by the research investment committee of Merrill Lynch. It offers a comprehensive analysis of the current market and financial trends in various sectors of different economies. The report offers valuable investment advise that can be utilized by both the existing and potential investors
Friday
13/08/2010
Through a discussion, I was able to learn about the emerging markets from the advisor. The discussion covered areas such as globalization, technological advancement and entrepreneurship as key contributors to the rapid investment trend evident in most countries.

New knowledge or skill learned on the internship this week

This week I learned of the various research methods required in analyzing a company. In my mini research about Gazprom, I was able to gain useful insight on investment management, the value of employee commitment to the success of the firm and the importance of having a vision to an organization. I also realized that the RIC monthly report is the best source of information when it comes to making investment decisions. In most cases, potential investors get financial information from many sources. However, most of these sources do not give details as to where the true investment opportunities lie. The RIC report covers all these aspects and is therefore a great source of credible investment and financial information.

Knowledge from college that could have been applied on the internship

During my classes, I managed to cover a module in research methods and market analysis. The knowledge gathered in these modules came in handy during my mini research. In addition, it facilitated my understanding during the discussion with the advisor as regarding to the emerging markets.

Difficulties, mistakes, pleasant or unpleasant experiences that occurred this week, and what was done to correct them

The most taunting moment this week was when I was doing my research on Gazprom. This is because most of their financial information is not readily available. In addition to this, I had a hard time figuring out what to include and what to exclude from this research since there is a lot of equally important information about the company. Consequently, I had to ask for assistance from my co-workers who highlighted the areas that I should emphasis more on. On the other hand, I had a pleasant time discussing the RIC report with the advisor. The information provided in the report is not only comprehensive but is also presented in a simple language which makes it interesting and easy to understand.

Skill or question that could have been used to help in performing the internship responsibilities better

My researching skills are a bit off. Considering that financial information is always a lot, having the necessary skills to ensure that I sift through all the information and summarize it without loosing the essence/meaning is invaluable. As such, the question that I need the most help on is: what factors should a wealth manager consider while carrying out a research on a given company?

Interesting or challenging experience that have been experienced with fellow workers or site supervisor

I had a great time during the discussion about emerging markets. I was able to update my knowledge base on this topic through the exchange of ideas that ensued during the discussion. The most challenging factor in this week was time management. I had so much research to do but with very limited time. It was challenging because I had to present quality results irrespective of the time constraints.

Week Three

Day and date Description of activities
Monday
16/08/2010
I embarked on the challenging task of drafting a detailed report about the GCC countries. The aim of this report was to give investors a broad idea about the region. In the report, I discussed the countries that make up the GCC, the aim of the corporation, the opportunities and threats present in this region in political and economical terms.
Tuesday
17/08/2010
On this day, I had to name specific companies in the GCC that were viable for investors. I was expected to come up with a summary of each company giving a detailed description of the activities they participated in as well as financial information of the selected companies. Companies selected were located in Saudi, UAE and Qatar since these are the most profitable countries in this region.
Wednesday
18/08/2010
Doing module 6 (underwriting). Under this topic we discussed the procedures that should be followed in the process of introducing new security issues as offers to public investors. In this module, I learned the various means that can be used to determine the risks of a given security offer as well as those that can be used to set the premium for these securities.
Thursday
19/08/2010
Doing module 7 (investment companies). In this module, we discussed the various aspects that should be covered while providing current and potential customers with information on various investments and how to use this information in making suitable recommendations as regarding to the investment decisions.
Friday
20/08/2010
Discussing module 9 (options). Under this topic, we were able to discuss how to evaluate a customer’s portfolio in terms of financial needs, investment capabilities and available investment capital. The findings of this evaluation can then be used to draft viable recommendations that suit the customer’s investment abilities.

New knowledge or skill learned on the internship this week

This was a very informative week. I managed to cover various important aspects that should be considered while offering investment advice to customers. The knowledge acquired included but was not limited to: risk assessment, customer and company analysis and procedural measures employed while making successful recommendations to customers.

Knowledge from college that could have been applied on the internship

Risk assessment is very important to any investment decision. I was able to apply my knowledge on risk assessment during this week especially on Tuesday where I was expected to outline a list of companies that investors should consider while making investment decisions. In addition to this, I was able to use the recommended criteria during the selection of the companies.

Difficulties, mistakes, pleasant or unpleasant experiences that occurred this week, and what was done to correct them

The only difficulty I faced this week was in compiling the financial information of various companies in the GCC region. This is attributed to the obvious fact that it is never easy to access financial information of most companies. In addition, some of the calculations and terminologies used in the information gathered were beyond my current level of understanding. This made it very difficult to come up with convincing arguments as well as conclusions. However, I did enjoy learning about the GCC region and the opportunities that this vast region offers.

Skill or question that could have been used to help in performing the internship responsibilities better

I had some difficulties in understanding the module on underwriting. Does it involve the provision of company information to the potential customers or does it only provide an assessment of the potential customers. In addition to this, I feel like I need more insight on how to present financial information to investors. In this regard, the questions that elude me are: what should be provided in these statements? Are expenses, pretax profits or losses necessary? How many years should be covered in the statements? If answers to these questions are provided, I believe that I would be able to perform even better in all my endeavors.

Interesting or challenging experience that have been experienced with fellow workers or site supervisor

The most challenging moment was while drafting the financial information of the GCC companies that I had selected for the investors. This was mainly because I was not sure if the information I had was enough and comprehensive. In addition, I had trouble determining what financial information should be included in the summaries and the time frame that should be covered. Despite all this, I enjoyed researching the GCC region. Considering its geographical location, the region is doing better than most well situated regions around the world. As such, it is a very good investment haven for potential investors.

Week Four

Day and date Description of activities
Monday
23/08/2010
Discussing module 10 (margin). In this topic, I was able to learn about the factors that affect margin (money that is borrowed and used to buy securities). Through the discussion, I was able to gather valuable knowledge as regarding to the interest rates that comes with such loans, the potential risks (to clients and issuer) as well as the benefits both short-term and long-term.
Tuesday
24/08/2010
Discussing module 11 (customer accounts). This topic basically covered all information pertaining to the opening, transfer, closure and maintenance of customer accounts. The need to keep organized records as relating to customers accounts was emphasized all through this module.
Wednesday
25/08/2010
Case 1. The case is about portfolio management. The wealth manager evaluates the 65 year old customer’s current portfolio and risk margin and offers viable recommendations that will yield the most in terms of returns all the while maintaining a low risk margin.
Thursday
26/08/2010
Case 2. This case is also about portfolio management. However, the client in this case is younger (40 years). As such, the advisor considers long term investments as the way forward. This is because the client is young, healthy and has the potential to take reasonable risks in a bid to get the best results in future.
Friday
27/08/2010
Presentation case 2. During this presentation, I was able to recommend some viable investment options to the customer. Considering that he was interested in long term investments, hedge funds and real assets were proposed. In regards to the stock options, it was decided upon that only stocks with the potential of earning high dividends should be bought. The amount of risks in these investment options is relatively high but so are the rewards.

New knowledge or skill learned on the internship this week

During the case studies, I realized that other human factors such as sex, age and health status should be considered while recommending investment options to customers. This is because all investments have different risk margin. As such, these risks may affect clients differently in relation to these factors. In addition to this, I learnt of the various financing options that clients may adopt while investing. A detailed analysis into the advantages and disadvantages of using the margin as a form of financing investments should be given to all clients to ensure that they understand both sides of this coin.

Knowledge from college that could have been applied on the internship

In college, I was able to learn about case studies and how they should be solved. I used this knowledge in the presentation of the second case. In addition to this, I was able to apply some of communication theories studied in class to interview clients and assist them where they got stuck (answering queries on account opening, acquisition of ATMs e. t. c).

Difficulties, mistakes, pleasant or unpleasant experiences that occurred this week, and what was done to correct them

Due to the immense pressure related to my schedule (school, work and personal responsibilities), I decided to take some time off from my work station and relax for a while. However, my decision was faced with serious repercussions especially from my work supervisor who was clearly disappointed. My actions were wrong since all I had to o was ask for some time off. However, upon the realization for my mistake, I went to the supervisor and apologized for that selfish act. All was forgiven but with a stern warning.

Skill or question that could have been used to help in performing the internship responsibilities better

The only question that I need some clarification on is: how do you calculate the collateral required before giving out an investment loan? This is because; there are customers who would like to know their financing options in relations to their financial status.

Interesting or challenging experience that have been experienced with fellow workers or site supervisor

This week was not as bad. My interaction with my co-workers has greatly improved and we often exchange ideas as equals. However, I still feel bad about neglecting my responsibilities so that I could get some free time. The world we are living in is very competitive and challenging and perseverance is required if one is to achieve the set goals and remain relevant.

Week Five

Day and date Description of activities
Monday
30/08/2010
Discussing module 12 (over-the-counter market). These are spot markets whereby the buying and selling of securities, bonds and stocks does not take place in the exchange markets. The risks in this type of trading are often very high. However it is a legal and prevalent practice especially in America.
Tuesday
31/08/2010
Discussing module 13 (New York stock exchange). This is the largest equities market in the world. It deals in the trading of stocks, bonds and other securities. It accommodates most of the big companies and the total global market value of the commodities traded therein in significantly high.
Wednesday
01/09/2010
Discussing module 13 (finra rules). The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is a regulatory body that formulates rules and regulations pertaining to all financial transactions related to the exchange markets. The aim of the FINRA rules is to protect investors from unethical and unfair dealings as well as to regulate and monitor the financial markets to ensure that everything is done right. The rules include procedures to be followed in buying securities, requirements and the various forms of punishment for noncompliance.
Thursday
02/09/2010
Discussing module 15 (federal and state regulations). This module highlights the various expectations that should be observed while trading in securities. In addition, the stipulated regulations are formulated by the federal and state governments to ensure that business is conducted within the boundaries of the set rules and laws. Similar to the FINRA rules, the federal and state regulations provide guidelines on how equitable business should be conducted as well as the various consequences that may be faced as a result of flaunting these regulations.
Friday
03/09/2010
Discussing module 18 (financial statements, exhibits and charts). This module gives a detailed description of the constituents of financial statements and book keeping. Statements such as ledgers, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets, bank reconciliation statements are among the main records discussed in this module. The importance and interpretation of charts and exhibits have also been covered in this module. Charts and exhibits are visual aids that facilitate understanding of some concepts used in the financial industry.

New knowledge or skill learned on the internship this week

The importance of rules and regulations should not be undermined as we proceed with our day to day activities. I had a chance to witness the thin line that exists between ethical and moral obligations. At times, customers came in with genuine problems that made me question some of the decisions made. For example, an old lady running a bit behind on her loan repayment asks for a deadline extension. Morally, you would be sympathetic to her situation and give her the extension. However, such a decision is unethical since the client is in breach of contract and should face the consequences of nonconformity to the signed agreement.

Knowledge from college that could have been applied on the internship

After learning about the New York exchange, I was able to determine which companies a client should invest in based on the expected rate of returns, market trends and past trading patterns. In addition, I could confidently advice clients on their rights and privileges when it comes to trading in the various stock markets.

Difficulties, mistakes, pleasant or unpleasant experiences that occurred this week, and what was done to correct them

I promised a customer that the bank would do everything they can to help him out of a financial situation. However, after carefully reviewing his application, the manager in charge rescinded the client’s application for a loan stating that he was not eligible to this service. I could see the frustration and disappointment in the client’s face as he stormed out of the bank. To make amends, I promised myself that I would at all times ensure that I consider all aspects before making any major decisions and ask for assistance when caught up in a dilemma.

Skill or question that could have been used to help in performing the internship responsibilities better

In as much as I have enjoyed my internship, I feel as though more needs to be done to ensure that I can make impartial decisions at all times. A review of the past three weeks shows that most of my challenges, problems and mistakes are based on poor decisions. I am sure that if I can combat this weakness, I will be able to steer my career further towards success.

Interesting or challenging experience that have been experienced with fellow workers or site supervisor

Being the last day of my internship, my site supervisor as well as some of the co-workers took me out for lunch. During this session, they gave me valuable advice on various matters relating to life, work, opportunities and finances. My supervisor finally acknowledged that I did a great job during my stay at the bank. Despite all the challenges that came with the internship, I actually enjoyed working in such a crucial and versatile environment.

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