What is something you hate about working at a HF

What is something you hate about working in a hedge fund. I'm in banking and don't think it's for me long-term. I don't wake up loving what I do and think PE will be the same way but slightly more interesting. I do love the markets however and think that long-term, I can build a career in it 

Comments (59)

 
  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 22, 2021 - 4:25am

That my mood and mental health is completely correlated to PnL on a daily basis. It's not like in banking where you feel relieved once you're done with whatever deliverable. When I'm making money, I'm calm and collected but when I'm losing money on the day (which will definitely happen), I get far more stressed and agitated. I still haven't got used to it. And if you're wondering, I'm not at a pod.

 
Controversial
  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 22, 2021 - 12:27pm

 

Have you tried not losing money 

What a dumb question even if it was meant to be rhetorical. Would love to see you have a 100% hit rate with zero negative marked to market PnL days. 

 
Jan 22, 2021 - 7:01am

Counting my money becomes onerous.

In seriousness, Mental Health would be the one thing that concerns me- I don't "hate" anything about the job on most days.  As another poster said above, it is hard to separate your happiness and mood from your P&L swings.  "Going on Tilt" or being frozen into indecision are very real feelings and can be hard to combat with a risk department breathing down your neck... 

 
  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Jan 22, 2021 - 10:47am

Counting my money becomes onerous.

haha hell yea cool guy alert wee-oo wee-oo 

 
Most Helpful
  • Investment Analyst in HF - EquityHedge
Jan 22, 2021 - 9:11am

To be successful in this industry, you have to be hungry, aggressive, and a go-getter. This has two negative consequences.

First, and I won't belabor this point, it drives P&L and mood correlation. This should be obvious. Nobody likes losing money, and beyond that, high achievers don't like being bad at their jobs. It's extremely hard to not let drawdowns affect you.

Second, and this is less obvious, FOMO in this industry is very real, and it can blow up your day or week just like that. Specifically, this means that it doesn't matter how well your fund is performing for the year. If a stock in your coverage area has a big move, and you aren't involved, you can bet that you're going to hear about it from somebody senior. This often results in a multiple-day adventure to "get smart" on the business and post-mortem why you missed it. In some ways, this is worse than if you were on the opposite side of the trade, because if you were on the opposite side of the trade, you were at least following the stock and can quickly assess whatever happened.

A great example of this is when Facebook announced their dating product in May 2018. MTCH fell 25% that session. You can bet that every tech manager in the US had an analyst sprinting on MTCH for the next few days to figure out what to do. Is this an opportunity to enter or double down on MTCH at a cheap price? Is this a reason to sell the position, or even initiate a short? Either way, it was a "drop everything" fire drill. This happens all the time, and it can be an insanely annoying workflow disruption. Sometimes it's for justifiable reasons (like the MTCH example); other times, it's because your CEO heard from his other hedge fund CEO buddy that "you're insane for not being long XYZ right now," and boom, you're on a week-long goose chase.

That said, all the finance jobs have fire drills, and they're definitely less bad here than in banking/PE. All in all, it's a hard gig not to like, and you get compensated to deal with stuff like this.

 
Jan 31, 2021 - 12:48pm

Goose chase is number 1 productivity killer at buy-side, always wonder if grass is greener at a long only but maybe I am just delusional. 

Follow me on Instagram: @dickthesellsider

  • 1
 
Jan 22, 2021 - 10:43am

Not getting an idea and model fleshed out fast enough to build a position and the market moves not against you, but in-line to the T, with your view. This shit hurts more than calling it wrong. Calling it right with the right analysis but not getting it done fast enough for the sake of upholding the sacrament investment process burns you to the core, pushing you to flesh out that next idea, and the next one, and the next one and on and on as fast as possible while upholding ever increasing quality.

 
  • Research Analyst in HF - EquityHedge
Jan 22, 2021 - 11:02am

"I do love the markets however and think that long-term, I can build a career in it"

HFs is not really a long term career for majority of the people. To survive in this business, you need to generate PnL consistently. Most of the people can't do it consistently. For the majority who cant, some move out to other industries and the others keep jumping shops till no one else wants to hire them anymore. 

 
Jan 23, 2021 - 3:55am

Could not have put it across better myself. There are those people who have been around long enough, and booted enough to know that they are no profit generators. Yet they still try so damn hard to stay in the industry. It is a mixture of annoyance and pity working with them. For their own good, I think they should have exited into a career where they can actually contribute sustainably. 

 
Jan 22, 2021 - 11:12am

Lack of control. My paper PA has dramatically outperformed the actual results I get at work (I can't live-trade individual stocks for compliance reasons). Getting a stock pitch through the process is the first problem; some good ideas you can't prove out well in a team meeting, as they're so intangible or based on subtle ways management language/behavior has shifted. The second, and larger one is, it's much easier to say "that was a really dumb idea, I'll sell and move on" in a non-work context. In short, when paper trading it's easier to cut losses than it is in an inevitably somewhat politicized work environment. 

 
  • Analyst 2 in HF - Macro
Jan 22, 2021 - 11:15pm

This is very spot on with the issues I had in my last role as an analyst (disregard title, I'm in equities.)… would love to hear ideas anyone has come up with that gets around that.... other than being extremely close with your pm in terms of rapport I really don't have any clue how to get it around it....

 
Jan 23, 2021 - 12:26am

Practically speaking, unlike many other careers, even high stress careers, there is no downtime between projects/work flow. HF is just nonstop every day. It might be between earnings a seemingly no news day and then bam something comes out. Given that, its hard to really take days off or vacations. Not to say you can't do those, rather, they can get blown up or in the back of your mind you're still checking the flow. Its just kinda a shitty way to live over a long period. No matter how much you "love" it its still lame. At least in say PE, there are pushes to close a deal but then you can take a break once its done.

 
Jan 26, 2021 - 4:09pm

ke18sb

Practically speaking, unlike many other careers, even high stress careers, there is no downtime between projects/work flow. HF is just nonstop every day. It might be between earnings a seemingly no news day and then bam something comes out. Given that, its hard to really take days off or vacations. Not to say you can't do those, rather, they can get blown up or in the back of your mind you're still checking the flow. Its just kinda a shitty way to live over a long period. No matter how much you "love" it its still lame. At least in say PE, there are pushes to close a deal but then you can take a break once its done.

Don't know why you're getting monkey shit, I think it's an honest take. Technically I can do my job anywhere in the world so long as I have internet, but I can never fully switch off. 

 
Jan 26, 2021 - 11:52pm

S&T is similar once you have a book. I took a week off last March, bonds got blown up due to COVID, my book bled like a motherfucker, had to fly back ACROSS the country just to write positions down and lose more money(couldn't even give inventory away). That kind of shit is brutal, feels like you never really check out of work, would have to imagine HFT on a level above that 

 
  • Principal in PE - LBOs
Jan 31, 2021 - 11:09pm

This, honestly, is why I left the HF world and went back to PE. I probably work more total hours in PE than I would at a HF and I still think about work all the time, but the cumulative background buzz of the market moving all the time, no matter what I was doing with no breaks ever was worse than the worst stress I ever felt in PE

 
Jan 23, 2021 - 1:44pm

My boss asking me a question about a name covered by someone else cuz she is multitasking

Follow me on Instagram: @dickthesellsider

 
Jan 23, 2021 - 5:37pm

The politics and gamesmanship. Having to keep quiet about ideas in the fear that the desk next to you will never have a second thought about stealing the idea, taking credit and either becoming your manager or getting you canned. Or the head guy at the firm getting involved in your book and telling you what to do. You try to push back and say you're happy to execute and put it in his book but he refuses. So now you have to put on a bunch of positions you don't want and if they don't do well, there's trouble. If the positions do well, you probably won't get paid. 
 

To be frank I was removed from this but it took a huge toll not only on my immediate boss but others in different teams. No one slept well, ever because the environment was a tense snake pit and purposely made that way. 

I used to do Asia-Pacific PE (kind of like FoF). Now I do something else but happy to try and answer questions on that stuff.
 
Jan 25, 2021 - 2:17pm

Some established single-manager funds are very political, even with a small number of employees. In my old quant fund, you had to keep thinking about the boss's agenda with respect to his boss (the head of the firm), and deal with sometimes conflicting orders from them to keep both happy. Both were passive-aggressive types who were very friendly on the surface but you could never trust anything they said, and had to always think of the real motivation for anything they told you to do, including random firings. They had worked together for 10+ years but secretly hated each other (but pretended to be best friends outwardly), but neither had enough political clout to push the other guy out. The other analysts were also friendly on the surface but kept to themselves and avoided talking about work they were doing. The top guy kept saying we have the best culture and everyone collaborates, but set the tone otherwise with his own behavior.

 
Jan 27, 2021 - 7:07pm

Lack of downtime is probably the worst part of the job. But I don't mind it because I'm kind of "on" all the time anyway. When markets hit unexpected risks, it can be verrrry stressful (people start balding, bloating, and bitching), but also kind of fun. I run a small team and it's exhilarating to rally the troops and figure out what's going on, establish a view, and then put some risk on. 

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