What is your relationship like with your PM?

Title says it all. I'll start with mine (trying to benchmark if I'm outside of normal)

Type of HF: MM (P72, clearly)

My PM has historically been one of the top performers at our HF. I've been on the team for ~3 years and he has actually improved significantly at the team aspect of being a PM, but it still feels like he is in his own world day-trading while the analysts work themselves half to death trying to generate ideas which go un-noticed.

What is your relationship like? Do you speak often? Do you feel like you understand why an idea was traded (or not)?

Comments (28)

  • Intern in HF - EquityHedge
6mo 

Following since I'll be interning there next summer ahaha. Btw how do you know they're one of the top performers?

  • 1
  • Analyst 2 in HF - RelVal
6mo 

Not in an equities group and not in a MM platform. I have a great relationship with PM. Outside of trading day he's pretty much a friend. I know why everything is traded if it's part of the portfolio that I cover and anything else too if I just ask. I think that this is in large part due to the fact that my firm doesn't churn like an MM. Most of us have been here a while and the group is pretty tight knit with weekly check ins, occasional dinners, and other firm events.

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in S&T - FI
6mo 

What type of HF is this?

  • Assist. VP in HF - Other
6mo 

Everybody is different and what makes one PM work/unique is different for some other PM.

I'm guessing your PM has been working by himself for a long time and is used to the Lone Wolf mentality. It'll take a while for him to unlearn his habits, but I don't think it'll happen overnight. He might just be a great PM, but bad manager, which is completely okay as long as he is willing to learn. The danger is that he might not recognize the signs around him and people/relationships become awkward/hostile. I guess if a senior PM tries to mentor him on management skills, that would be a great win. 

As long as the guy isn't a stubborn asshole, it's fixable. I cannot emphasize how much personality matters here.

source: My PM was a stubborn asshole who was a dictator and couldn't make money, but knew the COO and was protected politically . So the entire team of analysts quit on his clown ass.

  • 1
  • Prospect in AM - Equities
6mo 

is the PM comping you fairly at least?

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
6mo 

Quite an absent relationship. My PM has been a very successful guy in his career (a very famous HF manager in the space) but now managing just a small part of his wealth through the fund.

He is traveling a lot, so real communication is scarce. I keep him up to date with whatever thing is happening (macro, companies) and he may decide to act on that, but I don't get to know much about his thoughts. He is not 100% committed to the fund anymore as he was used to.

Few times he made comments on my work were actually surprisingly good but he is not around a lot (in person I mean) so especially during these times of market uncertainty I don't get to know much of his view.

A pretty poor situation from the relationship standpoint.

Most Helpful
  • Research Analyst in HF - RelVal
6mo 

My first PM was more or less similar to what OP mentioned. In my experience, if it starts off like this it isn't likely to improve because he may just not know what to do with analysts. I'd suspect there are a lot of PMs like this - they have a good strategy/niche but find it difficult to figure out how to utilize other people in that process. I had the exact same experience of working myself half to death trying to generate ideas that didn't seem to matter before I decided that enough was enough and found a different shop. If you want to make it work, you have to find a way to make ideas that fit into his strategy.

New PM is much better on the collaboration/mentoring side of things. I learned more in the first 6 months under this new guy than the first two years under the old guy. Weekly meetings (at least) with updates on the book, his view on how things are developing, reasoning behind trades, etc. in addition to organic day-to-day interactions. 

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Event
6mo 

Good stuff - happy for your new situation.

I'll add my 2c that I used to work at a famous shop (that you can read about on Bloomberg TOP every other day) and moved to a no-name for this reason. My former PMs had their own "assistant portfolio manager" teams that were basically their inner circle who determined trade directions. Analyst ideas were acknowledged, but too often things would get traded that were in my coverage and I would find out about it on the blotter. PMs had whimsical directional market views that they chased with the reasoning behind it often a mystery to the broader analyst team. Learned how to navigate the politics and be an aggressive pitcher (because this "every man for his own" environment demanded it), but I was not learning how a good PM thinks and why they do what they do. Looking at how the older analysts fizzled out, I knew I wasn't going to get trained to be PM material.

New shop has very low-key profile in the industry, but my PM is fantastic at feedback sharing. He doesn't always agree with me, but I'm always crystal clear on why. Trades rarely ever done without analyst's solid input and I have changed his mind on occasions where we disagreed. Learned more about investing in last 6 months than I had in 3 years at former shop.

  • Associate 2 in S&T - Other
6mo 

Having the same issue. Currently at a top shop where the PM is good, but I don't learn as much since it's the inner circle dynamic you just spoke about. Thinking about moving to a smaller shop where the PM maybe isn't as good, but I will be learning more/having a more active hand in the portfolio.

What is the optimal move for someone with 3 yoe? Thoughts?

  • Research Analyst in AM - Equities
6mo 

In a scenario with very little communication or feedback from the PM and I think this desire to not be held accountable is driving it. I'm not sure it is on purpose but more as a defense mechanism from criticism.

For background, he has run the strategy for a decade before hiring me as the first analyst so he has never had someone provide input or challenge his line of thinking before. This makes for a very poor learning experience and I'm definitely looking for another opportunity.

6mo 
deathTouch, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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6mo 
rashuntory, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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