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This is what your life is like in portfolio management.

"I'm a portfolio manager at a top hedge fund. I work 8 hours a day"

I'm a portfolio manager at a major hedge fund in Europe. I work hard, but I don't work long hours. On a typical day, I work for around eight hours and make time for walks and for listening to music. 

Working for a fund is different to working for a bank. I have more autonomy. There are days when I finish early, or work from home. I have the choice when to load-up on risk and when to dial back down again, and this gives me a lot more freedom.

My schedule is partly dictated by the markets I'm trading. I trade different regional markets (Europe/Asia/the US), and on days when I'm trading Asia I have a different routine - I wake up at 4am and trade from home for a few hours before walking into the office. I'll then have a few hours off in the middle of the day before trading the US in the evenings. 

When the opportunities are in Asia, I wake up at 7am. I look at urgent emails in bed and read through relevant news on Bloomberg, then I get up, shower and walk in. I live around 20 minutes from the office and usually listen to a podcast or to music on the way. I used to like heavy metal; now I'm mostly old-school rock.

I trade in a variety of different styles. Sometimes it's short term trading; sometimes it's more medium term. I have the freedom to choose which approach I take; mostly though, it's more medium term stuff. 

When I get to the office, the first thing I do is to check the pnl of my portfolio after the overnight session. Then I usually chat with the senior portfolio manager about my positions. Sometimes he might ask me to make some changes. 

A lot of my time is then spent monitoring markets and reading research produced by banks to formulate new investment ideas. I also check the scanners a lot, which are what we use to identify trades. Throughout the day, I'm checking my risk levels and discussing the need to make changes, or not, with the senior PM.

I also have conversations with a lot of people across the industry. I talk to salespeople and traders in banks as well as to strats and economists. As a portfolio manager you need to be at the nexus of the industry and to make sure you understand as much as possible about the markets. The best way of doing this is to ensure you're well networked. 

In the late afternoon we often have strategy meetings and plan for the next day. 

On a good day I'm out by 4-5pm and I'll go and have a drink or meet friends. When I'm trading US markets I'll stay later. Sometimes I'll do some extra reading in the evenings or at the weekends. Mostly, though, I have time after work to myself and I chill out or see friends. 

Jaren Wuckert is a pseudonym

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