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Would you put your life on hold to become a hedge fund trader?

Would you put your life on hold to become a hedge fund trader?

No? Well that’s a shame, because that’s what it takes – particularly if you want to work for a global macro fund. This week’s Wall Street Journal article on the $300m of stock allocated to Fortress analyst Adam Levinson, divulged a few things about Levinson’s punishing lifestyle.

According to the WSJ, Levinson’s up at 5.10am and at work by 6.10am each day. He has an hour off at 4pm and works each evening to prepare for the opening of the Asian markets. He’s in bed by 10.30pm, but is woken as many as seven times each night by ‘calls.’

Levinson isn’t the only one putting the hours in. Greg Coffey, the star trader who left GLG earlier this year to set up his own fund, is rumoured to work 20 hour days. According to Financial News, Coffee turned over his $5bn portfolio an average of 2.8 times a day in May.

Is hedge fund trading worth the hassle? Feel free to debate into the night below.

Comments (23)

  1. Definitely not worth 15+ hrs/day in bear mkt. Working long hrs & frequent trading doesnt lead to superior return. Good performing FMs are thinkers in general, not rushing to make investment decisions every hr. Turnover of 3x in 1 mth is not smart either

  2. I would put my life on hold temporarily for $300m. I wouldn’t put it on hold for $100k, which is what most banks seem to expect of the suckers who join them as trainees.

  3. I will definitely put my life on hold. it’s worth it.

  4. I would cut off my leg and eat it with pickles. I would also work 36 hour days and embed small microchips with stock feeds in my outer cortex. I truly want to be a hedge fund trader. I will do anything. Hire ME.

  5. definitely not worth it. Frequent trading feeds brokers as well and you may not reach the return expected.
    Too much operational risks,…

  6. The right type of person actually enjoys this kind of lifestyle. A tad excessive, but the market now defines them and they would rather have the buzz, research and challenge than be down the slug and lettuce getting sozzled or watching Arsenal on the plasma at home.

  7. Your Face wants to be a hedge fund trader

  8. Nice game with Coffey-Coffee name in the last paragraph about the 20-hour guy

  9. I would rather cut off my leg and eat it with pickles than watch Arsenal play. Playing the markets is not work work, like being a postie, working in a fish and chip shop, or being at Lehman’s.

  10. There is something wrong with you if your first thought upon waking is not about what the markets did while you were in bed. It is a lifestyle.

  11. If Mr Levinson is having to answer calls every night, then he is clearly not delegating very well. That smacks of poor management, in my opinion.

    MBA & CFA Grad Reply
  12. Definitely worth the money and the thrill.
    I manage a small fund but sometimes I have worked more than 2o hours a day. Its the thrill of trading different markets which makes you endure such long hours. I would love to manage a large fund.

  13. “5bn portfolio an average of 2.8 times a day in May”
    thats 14 billion turn over per day . most of gregs money is in emerging markets and commodity stocks some of which have very little liquidity.
    financial news knows jack , who wrote this article ! ?

  14. How many of u have worked 100+ hrs week for a few yrs ? I’ve seen a few sufffering from health problems after working in this mode for a few yrs. Not as cool as u think.

  15. “I wouldn’t put it on hold for $100k, which is what most banks seem to expect of the suckers who join them as trainees.”

    Spoken like someone who walked into a first job on millions.

    Some people, eh?

  16. I want to be a hedge fund trader so bad I would eat my dog and stay awake for two decades.

    Yohann the Brave Reply
  17. only the first 10 yrs, retire rich, and the rest -as they say- will be history.

  18. If you’re given the chance to become wealthy in exchange for a period of back-breakingly long hours, no social life, etc, would you take it?

    Hell, Yes!

  19. People seem to think that you put in the best part of a decade like this, get the money and get out. Get out to what?

    These people won’t have a life to go to and if they did wouldn’t enjoy it. Being high on stress and adrenaline for ten years,then hitting the golf course doesn’t work, its a short route to the cemetry from there. Oh and the wife you had will get to know you and she will leave.

  20. Oh and the wife you had will get to know you and she will leave.
    I think this is the best comment of all!
    It is not a lifestyle, it’s a deathstyle.
    I think humanity achieved more while Einstein was walking around Princeton campus than while these guys turn around their portfolios.
    However, if they get $300m I am sure they wouldn’t mind taking one call per day from me, my contract will be to tell them one joke per day.
    I am sure for them it’s worth $1m.
    Still, I would record the joke during the day and have it played back in their ears at night so I can take my sleep.

  21. If you have to ask the question “Is it worth it?” then you are in the wrong business. True performers who are passionate about returns enjoy the journey to excellence. It’s a lifestyle – not a job. You only understand ‘being in the zone’ if you’ve ever reached the performance objectives synonymous with star traders. If you have to even answer this question – it was never meant to be. Try another profession.
    My 2 ticks worth…

  22. I’ve been in the industry for 10 yrs & never come across someone treating the job at a HF as “LIFESTYLE”, neither being passionate about the role. ALL THEY CARE IS MONEY & FAME, that’s the ultimate goal. Perhaps some start up founders are passionate in the initial stage but get washed away when the fund size grows along the way with no PASSIONALITY left.

  23. Dang, I at my Dog and I ate my cat and they still didnt hire me.
    And im a PHD

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