Morning Coffee: The intense work schedule of one of the top men in finance. Bitcoin jobs surge

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No rest for the weary on Wall Street

Have you heard that you won’t have to work as many hours if you move from the sell side to the buy side? How about that as you climb the financial services ladder and take on loftier job titles, your work/life balance will improve, because you can start delegating more tasks to juniors? Well, both are fallacies, or at the very least, they do not apply to everyone.

Take Rick Rieder, the chief investment officer of fixed income at BlackRock who oversees $1.7 trillion. The first thing he does when he wakes up – at 3:30 a.m. – is check his Bloomberg terminal to see what's happening in global markets. Then he goes onto Twitter and searches for the latest headlines, opinions and hot takes. After that, he checks his email to catch up on what he missed during his brief sleep. He then begins trading heavily.

"I tend to trade a lot between 3:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. because markets tend to overreact in those hours," Rieder told Business Insider.  "Every day is truly insane. There's not a minute when I don't have my eye on the markets."

Every Monday at 6:30 a.m., Rieder hosts a weekly call with his Asia-based team, followed by a "daily events" call at 6:55 with includes every BlackRock fixed income team worldwide. At 11 every Monday, he hosts a macroeconomics meeting.

At 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Rieder holds an investment-strategy group meeting, which painstakingly covers every asset class managed by BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world.

In addition, every day at 10 a.m., Rieder has a mutual fund portfolio positioning meeting. And there are too many more meetings to mention them all.

One weekend a month, Rieder wakes up at 4 a.m. and works straight until 6 p.m. – on both Saturday and Sunday – poring over charts and tables to fine-tune the firm's big-picture strategy. He believes that if he didn't do this much work, he'd be less than fully prepared for his big monthly meeting.

"You get these aha moments when you stare at so many things and they start to come together," he told BI. "If you didn’t do the work you’d never get there. It’s not the most socially enhancing experience, but I have to do it."

What about the other weekends? Rieder estimates that, on the average weekend, he spends between 10 and 12 hours working. No rest for the weary, as they say.

Separately, everyone is talking about bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies, and it has even become a hot new skill in the job market as firms try to position themselves for success in the space.

Bitcoin-related job postings as a proportion of total listings on LinkedIn jumped more than 9X in the financial services industry over the past three years and 4.6 times in the software technology industry, according to Bloomberg. While financial services listings are growing faster, 70% of crypto-related jobs are still tied to software development.

And as bitcoin’s price surged as much as 14X over the past year, there are now 28 times as many profiles that cite cryptocurrency knowledge and experience as there were four years ago and 5.5 times more who claim bitcoin aptitude specifically.

While skeptics warn of a fearsome bubble as the price of bitcoin has surpassed $10,000, the potential for profit has caught Wall Street executives’ attention, as well as wealthy individuals, venture-capital firms and even retail investors, despite significant market structure and regulation challenges, according to James Schneider, a Goldman Sachs analyst.

The president of CBOE Global Markets believes that digital currencies will grow worldwide in the decades to come and offering bitcoin futures was a response to user demand and a reflection of that belief.

Blockchain and the cryptocurrencies that the technology enables have arrived on Wall Street, and employers are hiring accordingly. Now everyone is waiting to see how regulators will respond.

Meanwhile:

U.S. banks have quietly launched a doomsday project they hope will prevent a run on the financial system should one of them suffer a debilitating cyberattack. (WSJ)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond tapped senior McKinsey & Co. executive Thomas Barkin to become its next president. (Bloomberg)

Deutsche Bank's Ken Reich, the head of emerging markets fixed income sales for EMEA, has left the company after only a couple months. (Financial News)

An unusual fight has developed between the U.K.’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and a group of Morgan Stanley strategists. (Business Insider)

‘City Corbynistas’ have become more common than you’d expect. (Evening Standard)

Nomura estimates that approximately 10k banking jobs could leave the U.K. on the first day after Brexit. (Business Insider)

Compensation for chief compliance officers was flat in 2017 but others without that title working in the profession saw increases. (WSJ)

How financial services chief information officers can build an effective human-AI decision system. (WSJ)

Private equity firms, including Carlyle, have started selling stakes in companies to themselves. (Bloomberg)

Hedge fund managers share what gets their pulse racing, both positively and negatively. (Bloomberg)

Martin “Pharma Bro” Shkreli, convicted in August of defrauding investors in two of his hedge funds, famously bought a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album for $2m, but now prosecutors say he should forfeit it, a Picasso painting he owns and his Enigma machine from World War II. (Bloomberg)

A venture capitalist who invested in Uber, Airbnb, Warby Parker and Tumblr has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. (Bloomberg)

Some women on Wall Street fear that an unintended consequence of the #metoo movement is that some men will start following the “Pence rule” and exclude them from informal gatherings where collegial bonding and decision-making takes place. (BBC)

The strange animal jargon spoken by Wall Street professionals and other business people. (BBC)

Whether you feel contempt for your boss, a client or your entire industry, it is likely to poison every moment of your working hours. (Quartz)

Photo credit: NorthernStock/GettyImages

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