Today we are talking to an environmental markets analyst at a global asset management firm.
1. What does your average day at work look like?
8 till 530 is the typical day at our firm. I tend to leave before 5 on a Friday though. I write internal investment notes discussing catalysts, downside risks and news, which affect our holdings. I also produce external notes on a variety of issues for clients and potential clients, attend conferences and carry out company-level diligence on environmental risks faced by companies.
2. What are the main positives and negatives of your job?
I would say that the main positives are: the environment of the firm is intellectually stimulating. And there is plenty of freedom in terms of which topics to research.
With regard to negatives – I don’t get to pull the trigger… Fund managers have more pressure but more excitement than analysts.
3. Are the hours as bad as in investment banking (M&A)?
Clearly not… However, the hours at my firm are part of the old school – don’t work all hours, take your full leave entitlement – although boozy lunches are no longer the norm. Other asset management firms work much harder. I used to do over 12 hours, day in day out, in a previous job.
4. What would you say is the most challenging part of your job?
There is a lot happening in the world on any given day. So distillation is the hardest part. Gauging what research is relevant and likely to drive investment decisions. So if there is new regulation relating to pollution from the auto sector, for instance, the key is to understand whether it can move share prices and catalyse certain companies above others. Or when there is an oil spill – is this symptomatic of bad practice at the company, or in the industry or was it a random event and what costs might it bring?
5. What is the culture of your company like?
Collegiate (sharing and little internal competition). Not too aggressive. No face time – just get your work done. So a good culture. Having said that, it is dominated by the old school tie.
6. What one key piece of advice would you give to aspiring candidates for an analyst position within asset management?
It is very competitive these days. Internships, IMC before leaving university, start CFA shortly afterwards, languages. Don’t rule out starting as an analyst on the sell side. If you are good, you should get an opportunity to cross the street.