Working in AM as a digital nomad

As per the title. Do you think most AM shops will eventually warm to the idea of full time international remote working? 

More and more EMs are offering long term visas for remote workers. So far take-up has been dominated by freelancers (copywriters, graphic designers, etc) and people who run online businesses.

I can understand why it wouldn't be compatible for some functions: bankers need to be available and in the same time zone as their MD so they can make pitch book edits on the fly, anyone involved with clients obviously needs to be based close to them. But research? I've been WFH since March 2020 without any issues so I don't see what putting a border between me and the office would do. 

The main issue I see is more on the HR side. I applied to WFH during the pandemic for 3 months in my home country, and trying to get them to look into tax/compliance issues etc was like getting blood from a stone. Took months and months of constantly heckling them, before eventually my home country locked down so there was no point. 

I assume it'd be easier if you were working remotely somewhere full time because then you'd 100% be a tax resident of that jurisdiction. Still might be licensing issues etc. 

Thoughts?

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Comments (11)

Nov 24, 2021 - 10:00am

I feel like the primary obstacle to this is that a lot of AM require in-person collaboration. Although it varies, most of the Funds I've worked for clearly had a lot of interaction/debates between PMs and Analysts that from my perspective, seem to add a lot of value. While straight up modelling can be done in isolation to some extent, I'm not sure how conducive the business model is to remote working. I certainly get a lot out of sitting with my PM during the week. 

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Nov 24, 2021 - 11:01am

I would add that, specifically in the analyst role, a big part of your job is to come up with investment ideas and "sell" them to the PM. Yes lots of modeling involved in that, however your comp is tied to your wins (how many of your ideas were selected and how many of them were winners). Those decisions are part of a ROBUST debate / discussion with the PMs and other analysts as they are all vying for selection. Your bonus depends on it! Could this be done remotely? In theory yes, but there is no way you want that. You need to be in the room selling your ideas. You need to see the spoken and unspoken language in the room. You need to see the "whites of their eyes" and fire appropriately. 

Many, if not most, don't seem to get this when discussing WFH. Really important to be there to be in the conversation and building support for your ideas.

Nov 25, 2021 - 10:37am

FWIW, we are back in the office and have been for a while, and we are still doing a lot of discussions on new names over Teams/virtually. Could just be that we are now more accustomed to it but I think some of the PMs like being able to flip around the deck, scroll through the model, read ahead in the writeup, and take notes directly into their OneNotes they have built out for each name, all while still listening to the discussion/not distracting. It's also easier to get the traders on to give color on the book/chat with the sales guys while in the middle of our discussions. I agree with the points on wanting to be in the room but I'd be lying if it wasn't nice to be virtual where you can quickly find something to answer a question on BBG or check my model quickly if I don't have an assumption off the top of my head. Definitely being fully virtual would impact not being able to stop by the trading floor and might set you back culturally, but from an analyst perspective I think it is certainly possible.

Nov 24, 2021 - 12:48pm

To contrast this, I think it is possible, but definitely not the thing you want to do. My current employer is largely virtual with respect to the staff who come to the office (right now we're 2 days a week) and the amount of additional face time I get with both Analysts and PMs by just coming to the office is astounding. So much more is done face to face than virtually alone, especially in this industry. 

Is it possible, definitely. Is it the thing you want to do, absolutely not. 

Nov 24, 2021 - 4:37pm

Definitely a thing, know a number of shops that allowed remote work selectively even pre COVID. Mostly comes down to how good you are. If you're a great analyst cranking out alpha year after year, you have a ton of leverage as they don't want to lose you. If you're just some random analyst probably going to have a much tougher time convincing the PM. 

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 25, 2021 - 8:21pm

Haha - this is a personal long-term goal of mine! I think there's a lot of naivety on my end, but the thought of being able to jet set around the world while making money investing sounds really fun

Obv lots of things to consider logistically, but if my career is a lucrative one and I'm not jaded by investing / finance, I think a work-around is to invest your own portfolio and draw down X% to fund your lifestyle while still growing your capital base

A 4% drawdown from a $5m portfolio is $200k, which would easily cover all expenses (and then some) and let you live a good life. Lots more to it than this (taxes, for starters..) but it's fun to think about - only issue is you're constrained to equities / can do less rigorous DD on other asset classes compared to an institution

  • Associate 3 in HF - EquityHedge
Nov 26, 2021 - 1:08am

This is my dream too, except I could probably get by on $50k so 1% on $5m. I don't care to have a big blowout lifestyle, I'd still be studying companies even if I had $50m and could retire. It's more the freedom to do what you love (learning and investing). So in that sense I am already sort of retired. As long as I don't lose my job...

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 26, 2021 - 1:29am

Spot on and I think it just comes down to how you'd like to live, which is entirely a personal decision. I think a bit more $ could help outsource the set-up / ongoing logistics, but on the other hand, you're effectively setting up your own business which is also a fun process. While you're not expecting to fundraise or grow to a significant scale, it would effectively become a small family office which could give it a bit more "structure"; feel like this would be really important later in life, at least personally

  • Associate 3 in HF - EquityHedge
Nov 26, 2021 - 1:01am

I interviewed with a ~$100b LO shop last year. They said they were open to remote candidates. After doing a 2 week project they moved me on to the final round with ~3 others. In the final round, asked if I was willing to move to their city. Told them I thought this was remote friendly (and I had reconfirmed this early in the process before agreeing to do the project). They ended up hiring 2 folks that were in their city and told me it came down to location. Anecdotal but this should give you some indication. Too bad, I quite liked them, but as an employer I think the in person candidate wins every time because you have the option of making them come in if really needed.

Nov 27, 2021 - 7:46pm

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