Unable to do any work today due to the server being down. Thus what I’ve been doing is to re-read previous email correspondence and reports to refresh my memory particularly on some special projects. Finishing that, I moved on to read some old emails from friends which I had specially categorized in a folder, and found some interesting discussions with ex-colleagues about working life.
One particular discussion was on the GLC vs. private sector debate, which I summarise here:
|Can go back after 5pm||No way! Earliest is 6-7… and that’s on a good day|
|Lower salary, but may be comparable on a salary/hour basis
Senior exec = c.RM5k
|Higher absolute salary but long working hours
AM/M = c. RM10k
Working hrs = 60/wk (12hrs/day x 5)
|Family-friendly benefits||Minimal benefits|
|Relatively lower stress work as GLC has less competitors||Higher stress lifestyle; profit-oriented culture|
|Promotions tend to be less transparent and based on seniority||Promotions less dependent on seniority and more on merit (or at least that’s more of the impression)|
The other was on common HR issues within a company:
|Benefits||Full medical coverage, including male spouse|
|Career path||Transparent charts depicting the pathway from entry-level (e.g. fresh graduate to manager/VP etc)|
|Differentiation||By way of: education (diploma/degree/masters/ PhD/professional etc); performance (results, KPI)|
|Dress code||Smart and professional, e.g. pants suit|
|Efficiency||Fast decision-making, less red tape|
|Office perks/infrastructure||Parking, high-speed IT system|
|Human Resource department||Strong and well-functioning HR department and policies|
I had also noted before in one of my emails to a friend, that, having learnt this from experience and the CFA charter, I have a design in mind of an optimal asset management company structure:
- Economics department – led by a Chief Economist, who will have a team of economists, statisticians, actuarists etc (with sub-department of Satistics/Econometrics) to regularly present their economics top-down view to investment/CF departments
- Investment – to merge local and international, with the CIO at the top, helped by a few VPs with specialties asset classes e.g. in equities, FI, international equities, and alternative assets. Department again works top down, from global perspective, with portfolio managers and analysts divided into sectors and regions of specialties.
- Asset allocation and sector selection is done by a committee of CIO, VPs, AVPs from each section and top PMs/analysts.
- Each sector and region has chain by itself – portfolio manager, analyst both specialising in the sector, and the information and data generated should be kept in the system and handed down. A database of all the industry data, company models, primers etc. should be kept in a common department drive so that even with headcount changes, the data and work remains, and enables each analyst/PM to pick up quickly.
- Alternative assets e.g. real estate/private equity – more debatable whether this goes into a subset of investment or remain as separate division. Also can look into other alternative assets such as commodities, ETF etc. Derivatives not recommended (in my opinion) unless the asset management company has long-short funds or can short sell.
- Do regular case studies to see how other global asset managers such as Calpers, Vanguard, Fidelity, etc do it.