Chinese nationals working as portfolio managers covering Asian stocks from London is an increasingly common vocation. Covering Asia from the UK is not easy, considering the completely different timezone, so how do they do this? We spoke to a Chinese fund manager who's worked in the City for over 10 years. This is his typical day.
8-8:30am: I arrive in office. The first thing to do is to look at how the Asian stock market has been doing during the morning in that timezone. If I had put down any trades over night, then it's also important to check if these have been executed.
After this, I quickly go through the major news headlines to get an idea of the market sentiment. I'll pay special attention to see whether there's any news affecting the companies that I have been covering.
9am: I go into conference calls. Most of the calls at this time are with Asia-based companies. The senior management of those companies normally gives an update about the companies' operations, noting major developments, if there are any. Once the call is over, I will sit down with my colleagues at the fund and have a thorough discussion about the companies we've just had the call with, so we can form a view towards them.
11am: Time for various meetings. Sometimes there will be companies visiting and giving presentations at the fund house. I don't have to attend each and every one of the presentations, though, as it depends on the individual company itself.
1:30pm: It is the "real" trading time, as I have to decide what kind of trades I want to put to the broker. In order to do that, I need to form a clear view about my trading strategy and target. Once this is clear, it doesn't take too much time to push the trades to the broker.
2pm: A big thing for the afternoon now: the opening of the US market, which has a big impact on the Asian market the next day, so I have to keep an eye on it. Meanwhile, analysts and brokers focusing on the Asian market would start to either call me or email me, wrapping up some analysis, hot issues and major corporate activities for the day, as well as giving a remind of what particular developments are worth paying attention to.
4pm: I start to prepare for the conference calls scheduled for the next day. This could include reading some research reports, which is an important part of the portfolio management work. For example, currently, I've got several conference calls planned at 9am tomorrow with a few Taiwanese companies.
5pm: I should have read all the necessary research reports by now, and it's almost time to wind up the day. Yet I need to have one last look at the US market, which is still open. If there's something going on in the US that might affect my trades in the Asian market, I have to make some amendments and adjustments accordingly.
After work: Just don't think a day is finally over. The US market only closes at 9pm London time, and I need to keep an eye on the closing to make sure everything is all right with the market and my portfolios and trades are OK as well. It's only after 9pm that I can really try to take my mind off the market and my companies for a few hours.... before going to bed.