Editor’s Note: We have a new contributing author – Peter, who’s also based in the UK. Peter is a bilingual finance professional with experiences in asset management and banking. He likes staying active and is a big sports fan – football (Arsenal fan) and boxing.
Peter has had a varied financial career. In this article he shares the insider view on private banking, fund of hedge funds and investment banking. Read on, and you can ask him anything in the comments!
I’ve worked in 3 different finance industries across 3 different cities.
The first position was an internship in Switzerland for six months. After my experience in private banking, I worked as a research analyst in asset management based in London. I am now currently based in Scotland, having recently started work in an investment bank.
So what have I learnt from my experiences across 3 finance industries?
I started my career in the hallowed Swiss private banks, working as an analyst in the research department. I looked specifically into the hedge fund industry like hedge fund performances and participated in investor conference call for their views in the market. I also had meetings with managers and marketing teams to see if it is a viable investment to their funds. As it’s my first proper job in finance I was soaking everything in. Expect to work long hours in private banking (especially in Switzerland)!
Despite the long hours, I actually thought it was a good experience because I was learning so much. While my role was mostly analytical looking into the hedge fund industry, I got to do various tasks on a qualitative level: meeting marketing teams and participating in investor conference calls. It was a good experience overall.
Our team is mostly comprised of economists because of the macroeconomic focus on the study of how market events and interest rates affect the private banking sector.
My next job was working for a fund of hedge funds in London. Again it was working in the research department for the company. The role was quite similar to my previous role. I had to look the fund industry but being based in London, a bigger financial hub to where I was based in Switzerland, there was more information to gather.
You tend to work in a smaller team (depending on the size of the fund, naturally.) You work under the portfolio manager and each day is different in terms of goals. For example, one day you would have to search a specific stock in the Chinese market, our role is not only look at the performance but also try to understand if the performance is truly due to the skill of the manager and which sector are they focused in. The next day you can check hedge funds monthly letters and record performances for possible future investments if performance is good.
Working mostly in equity funds, I had to conduct a lot of research in equities using a Bloomberg Terminal. The hours are flexible but tend to be slightly longer than my previous position in the banking side (9 to 6): I arrive at 9AM and sometimes would leave after 7PM.
In the fund management business, I see a more diverse group of personalities. The reason is while they all share a common education background – mostly in finance; many of them have a geographical focus. As we were a equity focused, we had different research analysts representing a particular region. Languages in that respect does help quite a bit too when you are meeting with managers of hedge funds for example.
So what am I up to now? I now work in Edinburgh where I work in the back office of a big investment bank. I work in the securities valuations for our clients. In investment banks, there are many departments and generally there is a big employee turnover. Each of us would have a precise role and only do that task. It could be very repetitive – trying to compare different valuations, making sure everything is correct.
Here the hours are actually great (9AM to 5PM) but do bear in mind that I am not working in the front office side where it would be drastically different. While I cherish all my different roles in the financial sector, this is the one job where because it is such a large organisation, the work isn’t that interesting or challenging. On the plus side, we have many days off for holidays and again the hours are great especially in finance.
In my current position, there are hundreds of employees coming from different backgrounds. While it would be preferable to study in economics and finance, this is a non issue. I have met people that have studied in engineering, mathematics, and chemistry. So still in an analytical space even not related in economics or finance.
From the roles that I have held, I would have to say that my experience at the fund of funds was probably the most enjoyable. Working in either a hedge fund or an asset management firm you can expect to work longer hours. However the challenges that lie ahead are interesting and diverse.
Do you have a question to ask me? Just drop it in the comment box below!