ETF and Index Investing (Portfolio Management) - BlackRock


Can anyone provide more information on what being a portfolio manager in ETF and Index Investing at BlackRock is like? Any info on day-to-day tasks, work-life balance, etc.


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There seems to be a complete lack of info on this site about what an index PM job is like, so I will provide some insight.

A normal individual portfolio will have equity securities, which are tracking the benchmark, some futures, for cash management, and some level of cash holdings. Every day, you are ensuring that the equities, futures, and cash positions of the fund are tracking well.

For the equities, this means researching upcoming index changes that you may need to trade and upcoming corporate action elections that you may need to decide. For futures, you need to be aware of what your exposure is and how that relates to the exposures of your underlying equities. For cash, events such as dividends, fund withdrawals or deposits all need to be managed. You need to have the cash on hand to meet withdrawal requests. Maybe that means selling some portion of the fund. Dividends need to be reinvested into the portfolio. The currency exposures should also replicate your equity exposures.

As you can see there is a lot of moving parts.

One final distinction I would add is between ETFs and mutual funds. ETFs are more vanilla, and tend to be fully replicating portfolios, so you could argue they are a simpler product to manage. However there is the whole capital markets and AP side to ETFs that adds a whole layer of complexity. Mutual funds on the other hand don't have cap markets/AP stuff, but they can be very customised and niche. As an example: You may be tracking a standard benchmark, however the portfolio has an ESG screen so there are a bunch of energy names you can't buy. So now your fund is skewed, and you need to adjust your exposures on other index names to try and minimise that tracking error.

The job tends to focus on market trading hours, with quite an intense but predictable day-to-day workflow. Comparatively similar to a typical S&T job.

I hope this was insightful.

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