Do all equity l/s teams work an insane amount?

Acidophilus's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 289

I'm at one of the multi-manager equity l/s platforms (think Point72, Surveyor, etc.) as an associate/junior analyst, getting recruited to another one for a more senior analyst role.

From what I see around me, basically every l/s equity team (including PMs) works a ton, call it 6-7 days a week on average. Now I love what I do (equity investing, though it's more trading than investing, given the time horizon), but it doesn't seem like this pace is sustainable. Even if I move to another shop, I'm worried it will just be more of the same.

Those of you at other l/s platforms - do you know of any top-performing PM/analyst teams at your shops that have more normal schedules? Or is the only way to make it in this corner of the industry to just grind and grind?

(For argument's sake, let's say a top-performing PM team is one where he gets >$20mm to pay himself and his team. Got there from $1bn book x 10% return x 20% payout. Vary those up and down however you want but let's say $20mm is a good benchmark.)

Comments (56)

Oct 15, 2016

Are you asking about just multi-managers or all L/S hedge funds in general? Very different question

Oct 15, 2016

Sorry I didn't specify. Both, in a way. First, I'd like to know if that's possible for just multi-managers (as that's the type of shop I'm being recruited for). And if not, if it's possible for l/s funds more generally (which would mean I'd have to widen the type of opps I look at).

Oct 17, 2016

12 hrs x 5 days = 60 + weekend work. Weekend work could be generally reading or actually coming in. Juniors @ my fund generally work 6 of 7 days w/ weekends maybe more like 6-8 hours. This is a "typical week" - It flexes up and down depending on earnings or if I am leaving earlier / out of town for a weekend.

I really see the 60-80 hours / week not changing much. My PMs work just as much, although they are doing more reading over the weekends @ home.

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Oct 21, 2016

work ~50 - 60 hours a week; midsized event shop.

Oct 21, 2016

I work at a single-manager hedge fund as a first year analyst. I typically do 60-70 hours M-F and spend another 5-10 hours reading over the weekend. From my prior job as well as data points from friends in the industry, I've observed an inverse correlation between hours worked per week and time horizon. In other words, the longer the typical holding period, the fewer ideas you will have to generate and the more time you will have to work on each idea. You definitely won't find that at a multi-manager pod though.

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Oct 25, 2016

@ Acidophilus, can you expand a little bit on your experience at the multi-manager you are at now? What do you like about it and what is the lifestyle/experience like?

Thanks!

Oct 26, 2016

You're going to get a range of answers, similar to the range of answers about 2016 being a stock pickers paradise.

I know fellow L/S PMs who work market hrs, but read constantly. My iPad goes wherever I go no matter what, my iPad is more important than my phone. If you love markets, biz models, etc etc then reading isn't considered work and your inbox is full of self addressed emails w ideas, data pts, etc.

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Oct 26, 2016

Do you have any examples of what you typically read?

Oct 26, 2016

Interesting. You find it easy to read on the iPad for that long or did you just get used to it?

Oct 26, 2016

Been sitting in front of multi monitor setups for ~20 yrs, iPad is cakewalk comparatively. iPad Pro is easily the best thing to come of Apple's pipeline for me.

Admittedly, I've never taken a headache pill in my entire life so I may be an outlier. Haaa

Oct 29, 2016

Thanks for the color. You basically described my PM and virtually all the PMs I somewhat know at my firm. I love the subject matter but I also recognize the importance of other things in life like family and health. I value balance a bit more, like IlliniProgrammer if you've seen some of his posts.

Essentially was looking to find out if the lifestyle you describe (reading/plugged in constantly) is a necessary condition to be a top performing PM (team haul >$20mm). I figure it is an insufficient condition at least, since not all PMs that live your lifestyle are actually successful, so there must be another metric independent of hours that drives success. Does there exist some successful multimanager L/S PM that is more levered to this hypothetical metric than to hours plugged in, or are the hours just table stakes no matter who you are?

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Nov 1, 2016

In general, there's no easy answer. Some think too much data/noise is bad while others think of creative ways to make money from a trend in "useless" data. It's 1 big puzzle with interconnected correlations, got to figure out which 1s are real catalysts the market will care about and which the market will ignore.

Oct 26, 2016

Many single manager shops with a 3-5 year period is not as bad.

Oct 26, 2016

Is it really that bad? I'm on the credit side its hours are not even close to that. Clearly there are times when you are working late plus weekends but I'd say average is 45-50 with no real weekend work. Most of my buyside friends don't do crazy hours - they are similar to me.

Oct 27, 2016

If you're asking about hours you may want to rethink what you're doing...

Working at these places isn't just a job, it's a particular lifestyle choice

Though the SAC and Citadel guys you're referring to are likely operating at above-average intensity. If you want it a little lighter look at smaller less elite funds, and/or asset managers

Oct 27, 2016

This!

It's a lifestyle, it's common among the top performers in HF, PE, and VC to live and breathe investing/trading. I tell my friends and family that my hrs rock BC I don't consider this "work". Unless I'm getting my face ripped off, I'm positioned poorly and there's little liquidity.

Oct 27, 2016

I spent four years at a smallish ($500-$800MM) equity l/s fund. Weekly hours were about 60-70 for everybody. There was certainly a vast amount of work to do, even with a concentrated portfolio of 10-12 stocks, + industry comps & short ideas). One could work 100+ hours/week continuously if so motivated, but it's not healthy in the long run. I'm among those who believe that tired, worn-out people tend to make poor decisions about investing and everything else.

I had a unique position at the HF, mostly worked remotely from my home in NYC (with office 100 miles away) and spent much time in analyst conferences. Sitting in presentations punctuated by meetings with mgmt teams is time consuming but by no means exhausting, and when I was done the hotel bar was just steps away.

If your book blows up it's probably because you weren't disciplined and didn't think hard enough, not because you didn't work enough hours.

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Oct 27, 2016
ErnstBlofeld:

If your book blows up it's probably because you weren't disciplined and didn't think hard enough, not because you didn't work enough hours.

Couldn't agree more. I don't believe incremental hours matter for an investment thesis once you are beyond a certain baseline level of diligence. Directionally speaking a company is going to preform or not and that is based on high level analysis/thesis - you can spend an eternity in the weeds but I don't think there is any material ROI on those hours, probably negative.

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Oct 28, 2016

I work 40-55 hour weeks tops, PMs are in the office even less (they are however always on their phones 24/7). My fund is tiny and our time horizon is much longer than yours so that probably plays in to it too.

Oct 29, 2016

60-65 hours 99% of the time with no weekends ever. Long days during the week though

"Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way. In twenty years, if you're still livin' here, comin' over to my house to watch the Patriots games, still workin' construction, I'll fuckin' kill you. That's not a threat, that's a fact.

Oct 30, 2016

Yeah, longer hours at more short-term (read: trading) type L/S shops seems the norm albeit weekend work is restricted more to reading as opposed to actual model-tweaking / building stuff out.

Oct 30, 2016

Single manager L/S fund, time horizon of typically 12 months (though some occasional < 3 month ideas if we have an idea on a particular company's earnings for the upcoming quarter) are typically 50 hours a week in the office, earnings season could jack that up to 70.

Jul 22, 2018

We're the same. Although multi-strat with L/S being only a part of the stuff I look at.

Weekend work only when something is really necessary (3-5 times/year)

Nov 1, 2016

$300mm L/S fund, 12 month time horizon. I'm on the trading side but our analysts work 60-70 hr weeks, def weekend work involved however the intensity and pressure isn't nearly as high as the multi-managers you mentioned. I think you'll see a lifestyle improvement if you move to the right fund, but it's my belief that if you want to be a great PM/analyst, 60-70 hrs/week is the baseline.

Nov 1, 2016

-redacted- Thought it was intelligent rational people taking about markets in these forums, not idiots after low hanging fruit, my mistake.

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Nov 1, 2016

20% a month? 5:1 - 10:1?

Sounds like someone is full of shit

Nov 1, 2016

I have no idea what any of that meant.

Nov 1, 2016

For anyone who missed this joker's c&p attempt to seem "intelligent" and subsequent quick edit:

You claimed you know PMs doing 20% monthly returns on 5:1, 10:1? You've watched the Big Short too many times and the joke is on you...

Nov 1, 2016

Well except I did 22% of account last week, the institutional guys do 20% per month gross, but who's counting. You see, for the rational people amongst us, IvyLeagueVet sits on the right side pulling the money flow from the populace who work on a 0.2% per month basis.

So on a marginal gain basis they often, but not always, generate around 2% per month with a lot of hard work. However, if you sit with the nice people on the left side, you get to pull their 2% trades and money flow at a 20% rate or 10:1, hence the joke is actually on them, but that's money flow.

imgur /sVhS7l4.png

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Nov 2, 2016

Surveyor/P72/Millennium are notorious for this. The strategy dictates it. Tight net exposures, tight risk constraints, lots of turnovers. Basically trading off of quarters, events etc.

The Tiger Cubs will get their pound of flesh. Less turnover but an environment full of guys that did IB/PE.

The large long only places generally have a pretty absurd quality of life (40-50 hours a week).

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Nov 2, 2016
Gray Fox:

Surveyor/P72/Millennium are notorious for this. The strategy dictates it. Tight net exposures, tight risk constraints, lots of turnovers. Basically trading off of quarters, events etc.

The Tiger Cubs will get their pound of flesh. Less turnover but an environment full of guys that did IB/PE.

The large long only places generally have a pretty absurd quality of life (40-50 hours a week).

Pros and cons. A lot of the Tiger Cubs have little to no concept of risk management (managing your net and gross doesn't really cut it). They will sit on positions for years and ignore wild swings

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Nov 2, 2016

True, there's a fine art to trimming positions and ringing the register.

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Nov 3, 2016

What do you mean get their pound of flesh? I thought their working hours were usually pretty reasonable

On the risk management comment below - I have heard it varies significantly by tiger cub. Viking/Coatue will actively manage gross and net and take big adjustments to the portfolio, while others (say Blue ridge) seem to be more okay with owning companies for long periods of time.

Nov 4, 2016
Gray Fox:

Surveyor/P72/Millennium are notorious for this. The strategy dictates it. Tight net exposures, tight risk constraints, lots of turnovers. Basically trading off of quarters, events etc.

The Tiger Cubs will get their pound of flesh. Less turnover but an environment full of guys that did IB/PE.

The large long only places generally have a pretty absurd quality of life (40-50 hours a week).

Tiger Cubs are that bad? Seems like some of them have ventured out to growth equity/venture capital, too.

Which large long only places are you referring to? I've only heard about Fidelity and they seem to be quite busy.

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Nov 6, 2016
Matrick:

Gray Fox:Surveyor/P72/Millennium are notorious for this. The strategy dictates it. Tight net exposures, tight risk constraints, lots of turnovers. Basically trading off of quarters, events etc.The Tiger Cubs will get their pound of flesh. Less turnover but an environment full of guys that did IB/PE.The large long only places generally have a pretty absurd quality of life (40-50 hours a week).

Tiger Cubs are that bad? Seems like some of them have ventured out to growth equity/venture capital, too.

Which large long only places are you referring to? I've only heard about Fidelity and they seem to be quite busy.

The Tiger Cubs are not bad. I don't know a whole lot about the seeds, grandcubs, etc. I do know that at the large ones hours are steady and pick up during earnings season. Its less than banking and better than PE, but still a demanding job. Its also worth noting that 100 hour weeks in banking have 60 hours of actually work. 60 hour weeks at a Tiger Cub are 60 hours of real work.

I'm not going to name names, but look at some of the more boutiquey long only places that have smaller teams (ie 10bn -200bn) range. Its 40-50 hours a week, lots of vacation, etc. Low portfolio turnover helps.

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Nov 10, 2016

interned at a small l/s fund this summer as an analyst right under the lead analyst and PM who ran a mega mutual fund a decade plus ago. 10am - 7-9pm M-F, weekends off for everyone and no fire drills. 2-3 year min investment horizon. fund performed very well against benchmarks.

Best Response
Nov 15, 2016

Done both the Tiger Cub and platform. They are fairly similar

~60 hours during the week (12 * 5) + 6-12 hours during the weekend + a few hours reading that I don't count as work but to 'normal' people probably counts. Difference is at the platform I am constantly behind, so I cheat by leaning my 'reading time' more towards actual work (research pieces, financials) vs. investing books/ industry thought pieces, etc. It probably ends up being an incremental 6-12 hours of work. My team is extremely lean so I am on the high end.

I think 60 hours (12 *5) is basically the benchmark/ minimum at a 'typical' L/S (e.g. not one of those ultra long-term, ultra concentrated guys). This is completely reasonable for a job that will pay you a few hundred thousand (more if you're good/lucky) a year. The extent to which you have to do more depends on:
+ How lean your team is - 2/3 active positions per analyst or 10 - 20?
+ How much shorting you do - shorts = higher turn over, more time managing risk
+ How short your time horizon is - shorter time horizon = higher turnover = more time getting up to speed on new ideas
+ How anal your boss is - self explanatory

Nov 16, 2016

Clearly, there is a slight inverse correlation between investment horizon / turnover for a fund and the hours demanded for the PM and analyst.

For those who are reading/working regularly on the weekend at a low (>12 months) turnover fund, what exactly are you doing (serious)?

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Nov 16, 2016
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Jul 22, 2018