Do Hedge Fund Managers stare at screens all-day? (w Ten X)

Ten X is back with us today to break down what do they actually do on a day to day basis. In a world where popular media prevail, many have this thought that traders or fund managers are always “doing work”, placing trades and executing top secret strategies through that little computer panel on their designated desk. Is that reality? Once and for all today, we shall bring you into their world, their work, their office gossips, their lifestyle. We hope you find joy and get a clearer perspective on their work environment and processes. Welcome back!

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podcast Transcript

Sato: Hello, hello, hello! My name is Sato Shi and I warmly invite you to my show, Finding your (H)edge. 

Finding your (H)edge is a five-part special brought to you by the good people at The Financial Coconut. Join us on a journey into the deep universe of hedge funds as we seek to uncover the truth behind their workings. We’ll be inviting industry experts and insiders on our show, coaxing them, grilling them, and convincing them to share with us the keys to the promised land. Ultimately, we want to give you that edge as you venture into the vast arenas of the financial world. 

In today’s episode, we have TenX, who has returned to join us again. So for the benefit of new listeners, TenX has worked at a boutique hedge fund, he even had a stint in Tokyo, Japan.

He has since left the arena and is now based in one of the leading e-commerce platforms in Asia, or some say, the world. And he’s here’s back again to answer the question: do hedge fund managers stare at the screen every day? Welcome to the show. 

So TenX, welcome back to the show. Glad to have you back.

This episode is very special because we’re gonna walk down memory lane, ’cause I think you were sharing with us that, you know, your one year and I believe that it was quite , it actually  made a huge impact in your life. It’s something that you look back fondly.

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TenX: Sure, it’s an interesting experience. 

Sato: It is an interesting  experience la.

TenX: Yup. 

Sato: Okay. Can you just, just walk down memory lane and probably just give us a glimpse into the day-to-day? Because I think a lot of our listeners, they have an interest in the day-to-day. 

TenX: Yeah, sure. So the first year I was in more of the long-term investment management role, right. So as an analyst daily, you’re going to look at companies.

So let’s say there’s a universe of 1000 companies. I mean, you can’t cover all of them at one go. So every day you are just looking at maybe two or three. And then you’re really like a investigator. Because you want to find out whether the company is really interesting to look at in the first place, whether it’s worth more time to put into like a, really a deep dive into the company.

So you do your due diligence in the companies, right. And then you go down and see like, okay, is this something special or not. Yeah. So like a thousand companies, you can think of them as a thousand, like stones. You overturn two or three every day. And eventually you find something that is mmm… 

Sato: How much effort to get to that? You know, you mentioned about worth it, right, and you mentioned like hundreds of stones, you used the analogy. So you know, how many stones do you have to flip? I mean, just to…

TenX: I don’t know… it depends. Right? So this approach is really like top-down. Let’s say you… 

Sato: What do you mean by top-down?

TenX: So top-down is that you have this, a big, big universe of stocks, right?

If you go by, let’s say Canadian stocks, Hong Kong stocks, US stocks, Australian stocks, and so on. Your universe is going to be massive. It’s more going to be more than 1000, right? So how do you, like whittle down into something that is manageable. 

Sato: Sure. And where, how do you discern your direction? So you talk about asset classes, am I right? In previous episode, you mentioned about agriculture and you mentioned about foreign currency. So you have you whittled down the universe into this two? 

TenX: So the first year was mainly for equities, we whittled down… let’s say, we have a rule where we don’t want even touch energy stocks.

Sato: Okay. You clear the universe of energy stocks. 

TenX: Nothing to do with oil refineries, nothing to do with like gas. 

Sato: Natural energy, no wind energy, clean energy. Okay, out, energy. Okay. Then what is next? 

TenX: And then you take away things that perhaps you don’t really know that well, right. Because that’s going to, you’re going to spend more time trying to learn about industry…

Sato: And that’s personal, am I right to say that?

TenX: Yeah that’s personal. 

Sato: From your personal experience, what, you know, what was… part that you took out that you felt that you’re not comfortable with just to give an idea to our audience. 

TenX: Well, I will know nuts about the healthcare industry. 

Sato: Okay. So, healthcare is out. Okay. So we talked about energy, energy’s out, healthcare is out, what others did you take out from your universe?

TenX: Let’s say… utilities. 

Sato: Okay. Utilities is out also. 

TenX: So let’s say specific to like government-linked companies doing utilities and things like that. So that’s… 

Sato: Utilities as in, what kind of…? Electricity… 

TenX: Water, electricity, especially in Europe, because Europe, the way that the electricity market is structured, right. It’s too complex. So we don’t want to touch Europe and specifically electricity related companies in Europe.

Sato: So, I mean, it’s quite all encompassing, am I right to say that? When you take out utilities means utilities is totally out, yeah. So, okay. Then what was the last thing? Probably, I think there are a lot of factors that, you know, brought your  universe down to size, am I right to say that? 

TenX: Right, right, right. Yeah. So there’s other things also we don’t want to touch. Maybe OTC companies. Right. So over the counter kind of tickers, so very light volume, very small companies, anytime can just go belly up. So, we don’t want it. Out also. 

Sato: Okay. So what are you left with? 

TenX: So you’re left with a bunch of companies, you don’t know whether they’re good or not, let’s say like 10,000, right. But it’s a little bit more manageable. 

Sato: Oh yeah, of course. I mean, you were talking about hundreds of thousands from the start, right. Probably that kind of… and you cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. You’re left with that 10,000. Okay, then what? 

TenX: Maybe you have a thesis, right? You see that okay, I think that these countries will grow and some of these countries won’t grow as fast. Let’s just pick the ones that have high growth, right. 

Sato: And so you split by region, you start to split by region.

TenX: You can.

Sato: So what was your favorite region? 

TenX: I think the favorite would be, I think still US and Southeast Asian market.

Sato: Oh, okay. Interesting. Southeast Asian market. Okay, so you split by region already, then is there, then what’s next after splitting by region? 

TenX: So then you, you go down to the more minute details, right? You don’t want companies with a very high debt. Or maybe you want companies that has very high debt.

Sato: Okay. But for you personally, you don’t want companies to be high debt. You probably feel like cash flow is a problem or…? 

TenX: During that time, it wasn’t so good to be — it wasn’t too good to be having too much debt. Yeah. So we didn’t want companies to be saddled with so much debt. So we preferred to have ones that is more cash rich. So like your Apple, right? 

Sato: Oh, okay. The big ticket guys. 

TenX: Right, right, right. I mean, those would be what’s left after all these filters were set la. 

Sato: Okay, so you, you put out the filters and you mentioned you know, companies like Apple, Alphabet. Eh, your time was it called Alphabet? I can’t remember. 

TenX: Yup, yup. 

Sato: So there was already Alphabet. So you’re left with the big boys, ah, can I put it that way?

TenX: A mixture. 

Sato: There are still smaller companies.  

TenX: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. There are still tons and tons.

Sato: Okay. But now the real investigation. 

TenX: So now you’re down to maybe 2000, 1000, more manageable, then it’s just time to turn over the stones. 

Sato: Okay, so what goes through that process? 

TenX: So one by one, you look at the companies and see that, okay, is it a good company to invest in? Is it a good company in the first place? You do a due diligence and say that, okay, any scandals, any funny business that they have done in the past? 

Sato: Is there a system that helps you out with this?

TenX: Sure, sure, sure. We have our own process for that. 

Sato: Okay. So there’s a system that just try to sift out negative news, am I right to say that? 

TenX: We are the system, basically. We are the ones that is reading the history of the companies and how they have performed so far. How they have gone through history, whether they were listed already or even before then. So how’s their reputation like, for example. 

Sato: I see, and it’s not a Google search ah, something that’s a bit more complex, rather than… 

TenX: More than Google. So if you are a hedge fund, most likely you would need some kind of institutional level knowledge.

So the knowledge comes, or rather information, right, information comes from things like your Bloomberg. And maybe paid market research. So this gives you more in-depth information about the companies. 

Sato: Okay. So it’s not proprietary to the hedge fund, as in, it’s not exclusive, you pay a third party provider to get you that information. Okay, so you were talking about overturning the stones and you go to that path first, you want to make sure that… 

TenX: So, so there there’s a certain budget for this, right? So you can’t get research for every single company, but based on certain factors alone you’ll find that maybe out of that 2000, right, there’s only 300-500 of them that is actually worth looking at because the rest has some bad news or they didn’t have a good track record. Even though their stock performance, for example, the prices are increasing year and year, right, we still want that to them because of certain reasons. 

Sato: Oh, I mean, it must adhere to the thesis, am I right to say that? 

TenX: Yes. 

Sato: Because the thesis will actually have, you know, things that, you know, if it goes past this certain metric, then you’re suitable already. So it goes back to the thesis. 

TenX: Right, right. And the investment mandate , because this was long-term, we want something that can grow within the next two or three years. That is according to our investment profile. 

Sato: Okay. So the number we are at, you know, after all this, is like 300, right? Before you do all this. So now we are down to 10. You know, what is it? 

TenX: Maybe 150 now. 

Sato: 150. Okay, so is there still more or will this 150 all be vested?

TenX: So there’s plenty and plenty rounds, this thing never stops, because by the next day, … 

Sato: Is this a daily thing? 

TenX: This is a daily thing.

Sato: So it’s very dynamic, it never… 

TenX: It’s quite dynamic, yeah. Because the prices change all the time, and then before you’re done with the 150, right, before you know it, it’s the next earnings already, so the fundamentals change, the  statements change, right? Then your thesis also has to be updated for each company when that happens. 

So during the sort of lull period before the earnings period, right. It’s sort of a race to finish as much as possible, or before the next round of earnings come up. Yeah, because you may have found you have been researching this company that is actually very good prospects and things like that, but before the earnings hit, the price has already like, flew away, like up by 20 or 30% or something, right. And then you’re like, okay, it was a good company, but now we can’t enter. It’s like, it’s like at the price that we thought it was value at. Yeah. So that becomes like, did we just waste our time? Yeah. 

Sato: [Laughs] Okay. Then, maybe, I want to ask you this question, TenX, I mean, then when do you press the button to buy into this company? I mean, there’s a bit of an analysis paralysis, right? Am I right to say that?

TenX: Yeah. Yeah. There’s always a bit maybe too much, you don’t know when to stop and things like that, right. So internally we set rules.

So no matter what we invest in or want to invest in first, they must hit a certain criteria. So it’s like a checklist for due diligence. 

Sato: Okay. So there is — how do I put it — a fail safe, am I right to say that? So it’s not a one… So you have this company and you must pass through this checklist that’s vetted by another of your…

TenX: Both of us.

Sato: So both of you must agree? So it’s a team effort. It’s not really a solo…. 

TenX: It’s not a solo. So it’s, the way our fund was structured was that anyone can  come up with the ideas, but we agree that there’s a top-down approach to things that all of us will settle at least two or three companies each a day, and then any, anything from a bottom up, which is like, okay, you have an idea, right? This particular stock is really good. And it’s like, it has to meet the same criteria as well. 

Yeah. So it’s dynamic in the sense that you can always create your own ideas, but at the same time, ideas will also pop up because you follow the process day in, day out. 

Sato: So, but I like the fact that, you know, it’s like peer vetted. 

TenX: Because everyone has bias, right? Like without, without us knowing it’s like, eh, I really, really like Tesla, for example, I’m not saying buy Tesla, but you really like Tesla because it’s a sexy stock. Everyone’s talking about it, EV and the future and all that. But does it fit your investment mandate according to the kind of profile that your investment fund is going to look at and is going to buy?

Yeah. So maybe, maybe not, but someone probably have less bias than you, so they should check it out. 

Sato: Okay, so if the person check it out already, he agrees with your assessment. So can you go press the button to buy into that stock?

TenX: No. Probably there’s… 

Sato: Okay. So there’s another… [Laughs] so you have a guy, the guy sitting beside you, okay, he says, TenX, yeah, I agree, with you, you know, I think this is good, so then what’s next? 

TenX: Because there’s probably maybe two to three other companies that is competing to be entered, right. As in, as a trade. Okay. So which one do you enter? 

Sato: Between the two of you guys, or with other colleagues or? 

TenX: Yeah. Between two of us.

Sato: Okay, so more, more companies. Okay. 

TenX: Right, right. And because you don’t know which one to pull the trigger on first, right. So we just look at, okay, what’s the valuation of the company. Like we give a valuation to the company. We want to enter the one that has a higher discount because you want it cheaper first, right. So we  send in orders for that.

And based off that, that’s already a priority. Yeah, for sure. 

Sato: Sure. So you probably put unto a short list, like two to three companies already. And the one with the highest discount you go first, but would you say that all three companies eventually you will have a buy-in? 

TenX: No, because there is a risk management perspective to this. What if all two or three companies you get filled at the same time? And then you realize that, eh I overfilled. Because you can not be so much exposed to — you cannot be exposed too much to one particular sector, for example. So the risk management perspective also has to kick in before you enter the trade.

Sato: Okay. So you need to get approval from the risk managers? 

TenX: I mean, we have our own calculation. What’s already in our portfolio? If we enter this stock, for example, right, it’s going to overexpose us to say, utilities, right? Why are we being so much exposed to utilities? We only want to allocate like this much, this much percentage of our portfolio.

Yeah. So in that case, like, I know it’s a good company but we already overallocated on with like two or three other utility company stocks, right. So perhaps we should go into something else instead. Yeah. So there’s this negotiation that’s happening, but you know that it’s a very good company, right? It’s at a discount, like buy now, buy now, buy now. But yeah. So it’s a two way process. 

Sato: Two-way, as in with you and your partner, or…? 

TenX: Yes. 

Sato: What do you mean by two-way? 

TenX: Two-way between the person who has a competing idea, right, and the person that is executing the trade. Okay, because in this setup of the  fund, right, only the person that has the license for example, can execute the trade.

Because he’s executing a trade on behalf of the clients. Yeah. So he would to be the one that’s pulling the trigger. 

Sato: Okay. So would you say that your role is like a failsafe?  

TenX: Yes. You could say that. Everyone has a role to become a sort of failsafe. 

Sato: I mean, from what I’m hearing from you, right? I mean, when it’s time to really pull the trigger, you know, there’s so much confidence, like, you know, you went through all this rigor, went through all this and finally yeah, I just want to buy into it and you feel good, all right. Now you have to wait. 

TenX: Sure. So for example, these kinds of companies that if they don’t make it to become actual position that we own, I mean, we can just keep track of it, right. Even though it’s a good opportunity on there and the price really does reflect . But we can, we might come back to it later on because the research has already been done.

So, so remember when I mentioned that it’s just overturning as many stones as possible? So it’s just a process of that. Like if we overturn let’s say 100 companies and these all 100 companies are good, then it’s a matter of just tracking them over time. If they come to become a discount in the future, then yeah, for sure, let’s buy it, right. 

Sato: Okay. Okay. Okay. So it’s not like you’re overturn then you throw in back. 

TenX: No, no, no, no, no. 

Sato: You still keep the stones around. 

TenX: Yeah. So, so the stones are useful. ‘Cause we know… 

Sato: Because your job’s a lot easier la. I mean, imagine you have to keep doing the same process… 

TenX: Yeah. The process for each company is the same. But as you overturn more companies, you gain more knowledge about first, the company, that’s important, but also the industry. ‘Cause you know a little bit more of who are the players. And that gives you overall more context about what you’re investing in. 

So if you find another company, a new company that was listed, right. Same sector, you’ve seen similar companies before, but they have some similar pattern. Okay, then we can have a look at it. It used to be like that stock, which I recommended some time ago, for example. Yeah.

Sato: Will you say that, you know, you need to have a very, an eye for research, you have to have the patience. ‘Cause it seems like it’s very time  consuming. You know, to read all these paperwork and you’re  staring at the computer screen. 

TenX: So there’s a second portion, which you can automate actually. 

Sato: Oh, please share more on this information. 

TenX: [Laughs] So these filters and all that, I think there is publicly available ones you can use. There’s also more powerful ones, of course, which are paid. And you can do this quite quickly. 

Sato: Oh, you can do this quickly. 

TenX: Yeah. 

Sato: So it’s not really that tedious and time consuming, you can actually automate it. 

TenX: Yeah, but to refine this process to the point where it’s working most of the time, then you have to start manually first, right. Because you don’t know what you’re searching for.

Sato: I see. So when you started, did you start manually first? Then the system captured your choices. And… 

TenX: So that’s where the track record comes in, right? 

Sato: Okay. So you see, guys, it’s a full circle. 

TenX: Right. The point is to start. So you start with one company, for example, and you find similar companies with this kind of pattern, right? And then you try to make it into a process, to a system, and then that helps along the way. You want to add machine learning on top of it after that, then that’s after the fact, right. But you have to know what are you looking for in the first place. 

Sato: I see. So if you could just share very honestly with all the listeners out there . Do you find it mundane to do all this research? You know, you face all the rejection and you know, your peer  doesn’t agree with you, it could get potentially be frustrating if I was in your shoes. 

TenX: Not at all, because this helps me. Okay, so, the bit about the work is that it’s always about continuous learning. And it’s about removing bias from your thinking. And it’s something that I am quite … I value highly. So for me, even though maybe I just get rejected, right? It doesn’t matter whether it’s because of the risk management aspect or not, but every day you’re improving and you know a little bit more about the market and that makes you be able to make a more informed decision tomorrow.

Sato: Is that something that comes naturally to you? This growth mindset? 

TenX: I think so. Yeah. Yeah. 

Sato: Have you ever encountered a situation like, you know, you invested so much in this particular company, then you got rejected, then you feel disappointed and you totally try to… 

TenX: For sure. I think in the short term, there is some emotion, like, wah, I wasted my time. 

Sato: Yeah. And I mean, we could be talking about days or probably weeks into the particular company then you are following it, following it, following it… 

TenX: Nah, no, no, no. So only for a very, very short period, maybe like an hour or so. Because ultimately you, you’ve got a thousand other companies to go and look at, right. 

Sato: So you don’t have time to brood and remain fixated on a particular  company. 

TenX: If you take it as a learning opportunity, it won’t matter in the long run. So something  that we try to do is not to chase ideas. Yeah. So there’s a ton of ideas, like even for, let’s say venture capital, private equity and things like that.

But when you chase, then you are in a rush to do things. When you’re in a rush to do things, the tendency is that mistakes happen. 

Sato: So basically what you’re trying to share that you don’t find it mundane. So is that something that you love about this job? As in the growth, or is there other aspects of the job that you want to do to share that, you know… 

TenX: So the growth aspect, I think, helps as an individual kind of personal learning perspective, right? The other thing is also learning more about different industries. Yeah. 

So usually, in a full-time job, right, you don’t have this luxury to go and look at, to learn, to go and look at different companies, get paid for it.And if your if your thesis is correct, you’re rewarded for it as well. 

Sato: I mean, so it seems like it’s a sure win kind of thing la. From your perspective. 

TenX: Kinda, kinda. 

Sato: Because not only are your learning, you’re getting paid for learning, and if it works out, you probably… 

TenX: You feel a bit validated la, yeah. 

Sato: [Laughs] Okay. Then maybe is there something negative that you’d like to share with our listeners? With regards to the flip side or, you know, is everything all rosy and positive? You know, is there anything that you hate about your job? 

TenX: Ones I hate, ah, I think hate is a very strong word. 

Sato: Okay. Maybe, maybe not say hate. Something that you dislike or you wish could be better. You know, it could be improved. 

TenX: I think for the first year, right. Certain things could have been automated more. 

Sato: Oh, then that’s, that’s it. As in you wish for less human intervention on your end. 

TenX: Less manual entry, I think.

Sato: Less manual [laughs]. Okay, so you didn’t like all the keying in of the data portion, is it?

TenX: Yeah. I mean, coming from engineering background, you could have just like send in the same data in a systemized way, right. 

Sato: Okay. So you’re speaking from how it could be done more efficiently la. 

TenX: Rather than… yeah. Yeah. 

Sato: I mean, that sounds like a very minute thing. And… 

TenX: Yeah, it’s really just a pet peeve. [Laughs]

Sato: So did you do anything on your end to overcome this pet peeve of yours? Was there a solution in sight? 

TenX: Yeah, so I automated the manual parts of my work without telling my boss. 

Sato: [Laughs] Okay. Yeah. I mean, just out of curiosity, I mean, why couldn’t you tell your boss? You’re not supposed to, is it? 

TenX: No. I mean, if, if let’s say you already are doing this and then you can do like, well, 10x more [laughs]…

Sato: Okay, for all those new to this podcast, yeah, 10x is the mantra, you know, in the back of TenX’s head that drives him in everything he does, he wants to earn 10x, you know, 10x the effort, 10x the returns. So [laughs] 

TenX: Well ultimately, this was taken to another level, right. Because… 

Sato: 10x in efficiency. 

TenX: Kind of, in the second row, which is more like short-term trading and stuff. So that’s where I really got to automate let’s say things for 80% of the time I automated it, so only 20% manual. 

Sato: Can I just check with you, TenX. If you got caught, will you be in trouble? 

TenX: No, not at all. 

Sato: It’s not like, it’s not like something that it goes against the company’s policy. It’s just something that you felt needed to be done but you didn’t need to ask your boss for permission. 

TenX: Yeah. It’s just something that, you know, saves you, personally, a lot of time and then whatever else that needs to be done, right, you can just clear it because you have this amount of free time already. Yeah. 

Sato: I just want to segue way a little bit. So I think you’ve been sharing with you know, how your company works. From my point of view, I mean, it’s, it sounds very interesting. You know, you mentioned the three good points. Can I just ask you this question is, you know, does every hedge fund probably operate the same way as what your company is currently doing? And you know, is it like cookie cutter? Like all hedge funds should probably, you know, behave in this, you know, like the research method or is there like different methodologies, different ideologies? 

TenX: Hmm. I think I’m lucky in the sense that this was quite open discussion. I had the chance to have open discussion with the portfolio manager directly, the fund manager, right. Not all companies are run this way. So because the hedge funds are started by the, I mean, the fund managers, they have some prior background, they have a track record and all that already. They don’t have to listen to you. Yeah. They can just do whatever they want. 

Sato: Oh, so the company took your input seriously and try to make it work. What you’re trying to say is that probably for other hedge funds, you know, they already have something in place. You just have to be a part of the process, is that what you’re trying to share? 

TenX: It’s like, they just everyday, okay,  I’ve got these five new companies, here, throw at you, research. 

Sato: Just go and research, so they just throw at you. Okay. So, I mean, that takes away the learning aspect of it, am I right to say that? 

TenX: Right, right, right. I mean, technically you’re still learning, but you don’t have that kind of freedom of…

Sato: You don’t choose your topics that you want to study. 

TenX: Right, right. 

Sato: So it’s like all mandated already. So, well I could see, you know, coming from, you know, someone like yourself, you have a very growth mindset. I think you will to probably want to choose topics of interest that actually interests you. Okay. Okay. Okay. So it seems like your hedge fund is quite enlightened in that aspect. Would you say that your hedge fund you know, your previous experience, was it a big hedge fund? Was it a small one?

TenX: It was one of the smaller-sized ones. 

Sato: Do you think this is a small hedge fund kind of working style or, you know. Because, you know, you’re talking about, you know, they’re throwing five companies for you to research. It sounds like a big corporate hedge fund has been around for… is my assumption correct or? 

TenX: Personally I think it’s more of the management style, not investment management, but in terms of like general management style, because at the end of the day, everyone has a boss, right. So it’s a matter of how that boss treats people. 

Sato: Okay. Okay. So you, is it like a culture thing, a values thing for an individual company, or, you know, it’s really up to the person? 

TenX: It’s really up to the person I think. 

Sato: Really, it’s up to the person? Oh, okay. Okay. So yeah, so guys, you have it,  not every hedge fund is actually, you know, as enlightened as TenX’s previous experience. Okay, then I just want to ask this question: then why did you leave? 

TenX: Sure. I think that’s a fair question. 

Sato: And you were there for a year, am I right to say that? 

TenX: Two years. One year on the long-term side, another year in the short-term side. Yeah. But I felt for me, career progression was important after that, because I’ve learned what I need to and focusing on other aspects, which will build my other skill sets was important, especially at that stage in life. Yeah, that’s what I thought. I mean, you can perfect the process, you’re making money and things like that, right. But at the end of the day, are you actually building something for yourself? 

Sato: I see. So it’s sort of like a self-actualization. So would you say that your current job was getting mundane in a sense? 

TenX: So, no, it was not mundane actually. So I’ve achieved, I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve.  

Sato: Okay. So it was time to go la. You hit the max, you felt that this current role, even though it was perfect as it was , it didn’t bring you to the next level. Can I put it that way? 

TenX: Right.

Sato: Sure. So that’s why you decided to move on. So it’s more intrinsic rather than, you know, a bad boss actually got you out.

TenX: Mm.

Sato: Well, I mean, you really sound, make the hedge fund that you’re in, I don’t want to speak for the industry in general, like, you know, like a bit of roses la, to put it that way.. 

TenX: Are you referring to the series, Billions, is it? 

Sato: Yeah, so yeah, I’m a big fan of billions. Would you say that because Billions, you know, they come across very glamorous, but everybody’s all very high octane. Was it something like that? How real is Billions? If I could ask. 

TenX: So in my context, perhaps 40% of it. 

Sato: 40%? That’s a relatively high proportion. 

TenX: Right. But in terms of the, like, the context, the strategies that’s being used, the type of analysis that they do, right. But let’s say for culture wise, I think that one depends on the company that you’re in.

Yeah. So it’s more towards, if let’s say your returns, again, your investment mandate, the kind of investors you have. How often you’re trading. Doing the short term one, I think the culture was more like Billions. Yeah, because you’re in and out, like very quickly. You want to get that kind of return.

Sato: Correct me if I’m wrong, but the culture of Billions, I think it’s quite cutthroat. It’s quite  ruthless. But I’m sure it was played out for dramatic purposes. So was your company cutthroat and ruthless? 

TenX: No, no, no, no. 

Sato: Okay. So how was the culture, the environment like at your, at your previous job? 

TenX: It was quite chill. 

Sato: Chill.

TenX: Yeah.

Sato: Okay. Like, everybody’s like, cool. Like, you know, doing their own thing. 

TenX: Everyone’s deep in concentration. 

Sato: Deep concentration. It’s almost like a, like a institute of higher learning. 

TenX: Kind of, kind of, yeah. Sometimes we have to make calls for example, right. To some people that we know in the industry that can give us more information… 

Sato: Industry insider, am I right to say that?

TenX: Specialist la. 

Sato: Specialists. Are they in your company or…? 

TenX: No, no, no, no, no, no. So we contact them because perhaps they are researchers or something. 

Sato: Okay. Could they be — where the researchers from, from school or outside? 

TenX: They belong to some university that is tied to the company. 

Sato: So you do actually contact university researchers to get their insights.

Right. Because if you don’t understand a particular company and how they operate for example, and it’s very related to like some cutting-edge technology. Yeah. Then we will ask them. 

So TenX, thanks for coming onto the show and actually giving some insights into the question, whether, you know, I think the original question was whether hedge funds stare at the screen every day, I believe you do.

But I think you take you know, during your time at the company, you took a lot of joy and you took a lot of enjoyment, you know , doing what you did, but eventually you felt that it was time to go. So would you recommend this, the, you know, if someone wanted to join a hedge fund, would you recommend you know, a hedge fund in general as a place to work for?

TenX: Interesting question. So as a first place to start out working, if you are very sure that you want to stay in this for life, right, then, okay. Go for it. But if you’re just starting out and you want to build certain kind of skillsets, explore different industries, then probably not. Yeah. So why I say this is because for hedge funds or private equity or something, usually these kind of exit opportunities , that means it’s the last thing that you do in your entire career.

You build up the knowledge, the experiences, and all that. You start a fund or you join a bigger fund and things like that. And then you sort of go into that as a preretirement. Yeah. So that’s why the, the fund managers they’re the ones that start out this, right? So for them, it’s like end game. Start a fund, manage one and they’ll just do that for the rest of the time. 

Sato: Yeah. Well, I mean, this is very interesting. Yeah, I think you have been very kind , you’ve shared a lot about this shed a lot of light, and I believe our listeners, you know, they actually took a lot of value from this conversation. So I just want to thank you for taking the time to come by to our show again.

TenX: Thanks for having me. This was interesting. 

Sato: So arigato, my friends, and my deepest appreciation for joining me on this journey. Please reach out to us on The Financial Coconut socials and Telegram group. Everything can be found in the description below. We would love to hear from you and discover which other sectors of finance to demystify. Until then, ciao!

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