Enough of fiddling with the sell side; I recently decided to join the buy side, a private fund to be specific. Heaven knows when the turmoil with the banks will end, especially with incessant news of job cuts in the press.
My new bosses hail from the once sexy and lucrative world of sales and trading, having worked there for close to 30 years. It is such a joy and privilege for a young twenty-something like me to hear story after story about Wall Street, from the 1980s to the latest financial crisis. Now that they have battled their hearts out in the dealing rooms of various US banks across the globe, they have decided to lead a semi-retired life, managing a small pool of funds for high net worth clients. And what a life, I must say!
Work ends strictly before 7pm and then they go home to spend time with their families, or dogs for that matter. It’s no problem coming into the office in a T-shirt, shorts and Crocs. You can work from home two days a week because money can always be managed from a computer anywhere. Oh, and talk about working anywhere at your own discretion: one of my bosses just returned from a two-week “work-holiday” where he managed money from his iPad by the beach. And I suspect he’s doing the same next month.
Well, at least my bosses have agreed to let me enjoy some of those privileges I’ve mentioned. I wear what I want, which is cool. Work ends strictly before 7pm because the office has to be locked and only my bosses have the keys. We are a small fund managing about US$200m and employ fewer than five staff, so a small cosy office will suffice.
There’s a Nespresso machine in the kitchen, which is such a gem given that my previous pantry in a bank served coffee that tasted worse than the kopitiam downstairs. The fridge stocks Häagen-Dazs ice cream on top of an array of beverages from soft drinks to wine. But no alcohol during office hours. Overall the kitchen falls only just short of the famous Bloomberg pantry.
Life is good now. I have an excellent work-life balance and my bosses are nice. A start-up kind of environment means a flatter hierarchy and less bureaucracy, which is good for me because I can communicate my ideas openly. That said, I may go back to the banks again as the temptation of a mega salary and bonus, together with the glam of working in a bulge bracket, still makes the sell side an attractive proposition. But as of now, I’m happy with where I am until the sell side sorts out its mess.
The author is a financial services professional in Singapore. The views expressed are his and not those of eFinancialCareers.