Prop Trading vs. Sales & Trading at Large Banks
Although both fields involve market-making, sales & trading is more about serving clients of the bank and executing trades on their behalf.
Also, “prop trading” in the directional sense barely exists at large banks anymore.
They can still take their own positions for risk-management purposes, but not to earn a profit (with a few exceptions).
Traders at large banks also tend to work in broader markets with more volume, as they have far more capital to deploy.
Finally, the work environment and culture are much different because large banks are more heavily regulated, and office politics is more prevalent.
Just as one example, bonuses at large banks used to be based on a simple percentage of your P&L, but the process is now more “complex.”