Trading Asian Hours based in the US

Hey all,

Anyone have experience working in a role where you trade Asia hours while working in the US?

I'm currently trading Intl equities at a BB, have an opportunity to move over to an asset manager to do intl execution. Having a hard digesting the opportunity knowing that the I'll be in the office from evening to post midnight.

Appreciate any experience or opinions here.

Comments (5)

Sep 18, 2019

Haven't done it but I know folks who have. There is a small community of guys doing it in NYC/CT. Some did it temporarily (more PM types) when there was a real opportunity and still talk about how rough it was. Others have built a whole career out of it and it can be a bit more stable since you are a more needed and specialist cog than some guy who executes during the day time and few people want to do the job. It may get you pigeonholed, but it may also open up opportunities to move to Asia (assuming you want that). What's your upside and future path with the job though? That's something you should ask yourself.

The other thing to think about is, will this be a longer term thing for you? Working nights means you miss out on most social activities. You miss dates, things with friends and your body clock is potentially continually screwed (the whole circadian rhythm thing).

I know conventional wisdom says to work your butt off in your early career so you can chill later. The issue I have with that is, most of your friends are made and kept early in your career. As one gets older it gets harder to make real friends. Why? Because it takes both parties time and commitment to hang out and a lot of people get busy with married/personal life, work, kids, or just plain give up on making new friends. So if you don't keep/make new friends early in your career, it can be tough to do so later on.

Just a few thoughts of mine.

Hope this helps

Good Luck

    • 3
Sep 18, 2019

Very helpful appreciate your insights there. To answer a few of the questions there...

My primary intention on taking this job is to better position myself for a career with an asset manager as opposed to working on a traditional equities desk at a BB, would hope the experience gained in this role would boost me further in that direction.

Also I have no intention of moving to Asia, one of the key things that attracted me to this role was it being on the west coast (looking to leave NYC)

I was hoping for some sort of silver lining for taking a position with such unattractive hours, but there doesn't really seem to be one other than I would have exposure to markets other are not. Seems like doing that execution trading at a standard hour albeit in us markets would be just as beneficial career wise though somewhat harder to move into (more competition there).

TBH I was hoping someone would comment on this providing some validation that taking a role during these non-standard hours doing something unique would open up X, X and X.

Thanks again, appreciate the insight.

    • 2
Most Helpful
Sep 18, 2019
fl0ydthebarber7:

Very helpful appreciate your insights there. To answer a few of the questions there...

My primary intention on taking this job is to better position myself for a career with an asset manager as opposed to working on a traditional equities desk at a BB, would hope the experience gained in this role would boost me further in that direction.

Also I have no intention of moving to Asia, one of the key things that attracted me to this role was it being on the west coast (looking to leave NYC)

I was hoping for some sort of silver lining for taking a position with such unattractive hours, but there doesn't really seem to be one other than I would have exposure to markets other are not. Seems like doing that execution trading at a standard hour albeit in us markets would be just as beneficial career wise though somewhat harder to move into (more competition there).

TBH I was hoping someone would comment on this providing some validation that taking a role during these non-standard hours doing something unique would open up X, X and X.

Thanks again, appreciate the insight.

The asset manager positioning thing (like in any shop) will depend on the place and the people you work with. The question is: what do you eventually want to do at said shop? At a smaller shop where things are more intimate you may be able to move into analysis/managing positions if you show you can think/work hard/learn and develop a good and trusting relationship with the PM. At the larger shops you'll be one of the execution team, that, well, executes. And that's it. Having spoken to buy-side traders (HF and LO), the sell-side and analysts/PMs (I used to manage a book at a HF myself), my impression (with a few exceptions) was that you are sort of stuck in that role. If that's what you want, awesome. If not...

The thing about so much of this industry, especially in more developed markets, is that things are specialized and so once you take a path, that's how you are perceived and that's the opportunity set given to you. Traded Asian Markets overnight for a few years? That's what headhunters will show you, that's how people in the market will term you (ie. Mark the Overnight Asia guy). You generally won't be shown analyst/trader or trader/PM roles or say, like LATAM trading roles or whatever. You can network and talk your way into it or get an internal shift though. It kind of sucks, I get it.

You may take some start-up/early stage risk to transform yourself or catch a break but its certainly easier said than done. But it can be done.

You mention that you are at a BB. How are your relationships within the bank? Your bosses? Their Bosses? Other teams? Perhaps you can shift into something different internally as an internal hire. Equities trading in any gig, to me, seems tough. Yes there is high touch and you want relationships for some new issues, blocks, etc but generally you are competing with algos/automation, outsourced trading firms and the like. In short, the upside doesn't seem high.

The west coast hours are indeed better and it may actually let you get to bed at a reasonable (weekend-like) hour. The silver lining? EM can be tough trading (illiquidity, active government involvement, political/social strife, FX crises, you name it). This means that markets move A LOT. If you are a trusted hand in those markets, it still means something since you are keeping an eye on things and warning decision makers when things go crazy and they are asleep/drinking/watching Sunday Night NFL. I'm not sure executing during the day is as big a deal because said decision makers will also be awake and staring at the same screens and will generally see the moves you see and just bark/IB orders to you.

The thing I am missing (as I do not know you), and you may not know yourself, is: what do you want or what do you want to do? Only you know that and that answer can change on a dime, that's just life and it's totally ok.

If there are any execution traders (current or former), on this board, hopefully they will pipe up (and correct me if I am wrong!). I have traded out of market hours but never nights and never out of the US.

Good Luck

    • 5
Sep 23, 2019

Do you want to be working while your buddies are going out. Sucks not being social but if you can sacrifice that for a year or two it might be worth it if you are trying to move to Asia. Will be hard to move back to US hours though.

Oct 11, 2019
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