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Hot career tips from Nicola Horlick

Want to get ahead in fund management? Last night, Nicola Horlick shared the secrets of her success with assorted fund managers and analysts at a bash organised by the CFA Society of the UK. Here’s what she said, in distilled form:

Be assertive: As a trainee at SG Warburg, Horlick was asked to rotate around four different divisions. She wanted to stay in asset management and refused. SG insisted; she threatened to leave; Warburg’s acquiesced.

Make the occasional good call: At Warburg’s, under the patronage of über fund manager Leonard Licht, Horlick was party to two good moves: getting into retail funds and getting out of Japan – “We didn’t have to work for months after that.”

Don’t live in anyone’s shadow: Horlick left Licht and Warburg’s behind to go and work at Morgan Grenfell: “I was always going to be his bag carrier.”

Ask for stock: Before joining SG Asset Management, Horlick was invited to work in the asset management division of a large US investment bank. She turned them down: “They wouldn’t give us any stock. SocGen offered 30%.”

Start your career in a big house: Big players offer training and let you travel the world. Small ones probably don’t.

Work hard: Sadly there are no shortcuts to success: “It’s all about hard work.”

Start in research: Understanding accounts is crucial. By starting in research (and keeping your hand in) you’ll get an all important micro-view of the world.

Be creative: Horlick’s current investments include farm land in Brazil and a company producing music for films (the latter on the grounds that there are more TV stations than ever, each playing films which include music which earns a royalty).

Be passionate: “The very best fund managers have screens in the bedroom.”

Don’t become besotted with your ideas: “A lot of people are good at buying stocks. Not many are good at selling them.”

Academic qualifications aren’t everything: Peter Young, the rogue fund manager who ended up costing Morgan Grenfell 300m, had a first from Oxford. He had also previously passed the famous SG Warburg graphology test.

Comments (3)

  1. ” “Be passionate: “The very best fund managers have screens in the bedroom.” ”

    Yeah, a great way to ensure your other half divorces you. Eh Nicola?

  2. That’s what happended to Jim Rogers, before he worked with George Soros. He used to get up all hours of the night to call his broker. He’s a billionaire now and seems happy!

    Just off to check my trading account….on my bathroom pc…..

  3. After my rotation, I was placed in a department, which was not Equity Research, the one I always wanted to join. then I talked to a research analyst and met his boss. when they started to arrange for internal transfer, my HR who was in charge of my dept said NO to the HR who was for Research. My HR said I only stayed in my team less than 12 months so I cannot leave without my supervisor’s permission. Since my company just laid off lots of people and my team was short of labor, what I could expect is obviously another NO…

    I don’t know if I could threaten to leave like Horlick. The market is down, my parents are not those powerful rich people, there seems no research vacancy outside….

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