Q&A: First year macro hedge fund analyst
I remember when I first got interested in finance I got a lot of useful information from this site, so I wanted to pay it back. I noticed there isn't a lot of content about Macro funds on this site (or really anywhere on the internet that I know of) so maybe this will help some people out.
First, some basic background:
I've been working at a Macrofor about a year now. I came straight out of undergrad, although I did the standard junior year stint at a BB investment bank. My coworkers and the work environment at my IB were actually amazing, but I realized the job wasn't really for me for a variety of reasons, so I actually quit about halfway through the internship. Pretty dumb decision in retrospect, but I wouldn't have wound up where I am today if I didn't make that choice. One of those weird fortuitous life events.
After I quit I spent a couple weeks lamenting my decision while voraciously reading, writing up investment theses, doing the whole value investing thing, etc. and applying to virtually every buy-side gig I could find. I was focused on long-only asset managers and hedge funds because I figured my skillset was the best fit for those kinds of roles, even though I was developing more and more of a passion for macro.
I had interviews at several places during my senior, a small long-only hedge fund (got an offer here, but didn't wind up accepting), a MM PE firm, and even a couple of FT IB analyst roles - but I didn't really feel strongly enough about any of these places. I thought that it was probably too late to recruit for S&T roles and wasn't sure what direction I should head in.
I had been doing my own macro research stuff for 6-9 months by the time COVID rolled around and I was starting to trade my own money at that time and managed to do well for myself with some of what I had learned (as well as with a healthy amount of luck). Around that time one of my friends notified me that he knew of a small hedge fund who was looking for a macro analyst - so I took the job and haven't looked back since.
A bit about my firm:
AUM is in the $100 - $500 million bucket. We have a quant side that focuses on risk management and execution and a qualitative/discretionary side that focuses on investment thesis generation. We cover basically every asset class you can think of.
I work on the qualitative/discretionary macro side on idea generation, not on the execution side.
As an example, something I'm currently working on is the outlook for inflation and status of the USD as a reserve currency to determine what type of country exposures we want and whether UST rates will pop. I obviously don't have exclusive decision-making power, but my research is/has been influential in establishing new positions or increasing/decreasing the weight of different asset classes in our portfolio.
I work directly with our PM (single manager) and have a lot of freedom in my research projects. He gives me a general direction that he wants me to go in, but sets me loose after that and checks in with me once a week to keep up with my progress. I spend most of my time researching fundamental economic data, market data, reading, and writing. My research projects might take anywhere from 1-3 months, depending on how complicated they are.
One of my favorite sources of macro news/information has actually been twitter - there's a lot of good traders and investors on there that I share views with on a regular basis.
Honestly not entirely sure where I'm going to go after this. I assume that there are similar roles at other funds, although I didn't even know this type of position existed when I was in college (i.e. non-trader, non-statistical/quantitative macro research analyst/strategist). I don't even know what you would call this type of role (Macro Analyst? Macro Strategist? - my official title is "Macroeconomic Research Analyst") or how many there are on the buy-side (maybe more roles like this at family offices?). I'm thinking I might move over to do sell-side macro research (maybe STIR or general rates strategy), but not sure if my experience would be a good fit or if I would enjoy that type of work environment.
Honestly I'm just enjoying where I am right now, and focusing on developing my skills and I figure that if I'm good at my job then I'll find manage to find a position somewhere in the future.
Edit: Removed some personally identifying details.