Jobs you'll do in a hedge fund

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If you want to work for a hedge fund, you probably envisage yourself as a 'trader' or 'portfolio manager.' That might be possible, but there are plenty of jobs on offer in hedge funds. And some are more exciting than others.

If you work for a hedge fund you might be...

An analyst or researcher: Analysts spend their days poring over the financials of the companies and financial products hedge funds invest in. They help determine the fund's investment strategy.

An 'execution trader': You might think being a trader in a hedge fund is the most exciting job there is. You may well be wrong. Traders in hedge funds are often 'execution traders'. Execution traders simply push the button, or 'execute' trades. They don't get a chance to devise their own trading strategies, they don't get a chance to take their own positions on the market. What they do get a chance to become experts in is, 'market timing'. Execution traders watch the market closely and know when's the best time to place their trades.

A portfolio manager: Portfolio managers are at the top of the hedge fund tree. They listen to what analysts say and decide how to allocate investors' money to achieve the highest returns. They are in charge of the whole investment portfolio (hence the name). Everyone wants to be a portfolio manager. They also make the most money.

A sales and marketing professional: Hedge fund sales and marketing professionals liaise with investors. They help sell the merits of the fund and persuade investors to hand over their money to be invested.

A quant: Hedge funds also employ quantitative specialists - all the more so if they're pursuing a quantitative strategy. These quants develop complex mathematical equations (algorithms) which tell the fund when to trade in order to make the most money using its chosen strategy. Quants who build algorithms work with quant developers - technologists who translate the algorithm into computer software which can implement the algorithm's strategy.

Risk management, compliance, legal, technology, operations: As hedge funds have become bigger (and more boring), so they have accumulated the sort of support structures only previously seen in investment banks. Hedge funds will now have risk management, compliance and operations professionals. These jobs will be similar to banks - except you'll probably have to be more of a 'jack of all trades.' It's normal for compliance and legal roles to be blended in hedge funds, for example.

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