Portfolio administrator

GenY Wrote: > The fact is many people get to comfortable in > their BO roles and dont do enough to help > themselves out… thats the real risk! just dont > get comfortable > Perhaps I’m overly optomistic about my career (I’m very young and in BO), but I agree with that statement 110%. Less than 10% of people I know in these roles have any interest in FO, and of that 10, at least half have no hope because they don’t work hard enough, follow market, do things like CFA, network etc. etc. Just looking to get rich. That said, BO really sucks! But hey, it pays the bills

People are forgetting that the nature of the back office work is miserable and boring and that I would rather scratch out my eyes than look at one more reconciliation. A FO person can make 100-200K in their twenties. There is no VP in my office under the age of 40. If you think VPs in BOs work less than 50 hours per week then you are wrong. Also you are on call 24/7 to deal with issues. The humor on this forum is always appreciated.

Not trying to brag here, just wanted to give some advice from personal experience. I took a back office job at a hedge fund right out of college. It was as back office as back office can be. Right from the get go, I was looking for front office jobs. I must have applied for and send thousands of emails, went to probably 50 interviews, came close but rejected many times even when I thought I had it in the bag, and then finally after a year of very hard work and persistence, I landed a trading assistant gig which was another year of pure hell, but now I’m where I want to be. So don’t give up, keep trying.

I worked in BO (do you smell something?) for about 4 years right out of school, waiting for an opportunity that suited me. I stayed with the same company and was able to (finally) move to a junior level analyst role (hurray for me). Definitely do NOT get comfortable in a fund admin or (god forbid) a fund accountant role. It’s too easy to be a “star” when you’re working alongside people who have no motivation to do anything other than leave at 5:00. Oh and at my company Portfolio Administrators start out doing about 90% grunt work and 10% research - its kind of a “weed out” role.

TeamHydro, May I ask what you are doing now? After bonus time I’m going to start pounding the pavement. I’ve been in BO for 18 months. How was the transition from trading assistant to where you are now?

Dapper425 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > TeamHydro, > > May I ask what you are doing now? After bonus time > I’m going to start pounding the pavement. I’ve > been in BO for 18 months. How was the transition > from trading assistant to where you are now? Dapper, I’m an equity options trader at a very solid proprietary firm. Trading close to a million bucks now and love every minute of it. A lot of fun. Well let me clarify… I worked in OPS at a hedge fund for a year, and then took a trading assistant job at my current firm. And then they promoted me to trader. The transition was difficult. When I was at the hedge fund, it was a joke. The work involved no thought, just routine. So it was difficult but I welcomed the change. I got to use my brain at my new company as they put us through a difficult training program and then having to prove ourselves on the trading desk.

Turkish Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Why would someone that is a former trader ask > this? Because I am a former trader, not a successful trader.

It’s def doable…I started out as BOM with absolutely no finance background (liberal arts degree) for the worst kind of shop, a Retail brokerage, but it did get me a couple of licenses and giving me an opportunity working in a BO office in the asset management dept. of a Trust/Bank. I met a few high level pms and execs there with big names in my city that gave good references was later able to land a gig as a portfolio administrator for the book of business of the ceo of a respected boutique IM shop in my area. i just kept adding to my resume, highlighting my strong points that touched on some FO skillsets, gaining analytical experience on way and taking on more responsibilities that went above and beyond just processing and grunt work. I leveraged my BO titles with some things I was able to learn by observing and alligning myself with some FO people willing to do a little side training and by completing the CFA this past year. Now after 8 years, i’m working my dream job as an Assoc. PM for HNW…which where I’ve always wanted to be and have an opportunity to have my own book of business. Is this road the past of least resistance? Def. not…but if you have the drive and motivation, it can be done…all it takes willingness to learn as much as you can and showing alot passion for whatever you want to do…I think this is so important to convincing people to take a chance on you when you have BOM written all over your resume. CFA doesn’t hurt either…it gives you legitimacy. I do think a person with BO experience in the industry still has way more advantage than a person trying to get in from non-related industries. So all in all, work hard, learn as much as you can, allign yourself with people willing to teach, gain some networks and finish the cfa and you’ll see tons of opportunities open up for you. my 2 cents.

There will not be tons of opportunities. That simply isn’t true. It’s hard to get out BO and into FO. That said, if you go that route, let me help you increase the odds. If you join a BO - these jobs are easy to get into - you want to do it at a firm where they support you with education and do it at a place where there aren’t too many young dogs working in the BO. You want to be the one FO gets to if they need assistance, give it to them and add some flavour to that assistance to make sure you get noticed. Show interest in markets, portfolios and so on so you can join any discussion at any level. Don’t do it for too long, after 18mnts or 2 years you want to be the one applying for the opening in FO. You’ll be the one they like and see potential in.

is being a stock broker a front office job or a back office job?

You have to look at the whole description and working conditions. I took a BO job out of college, but it was more a middle job. All the PMs worked on the desk and I worked right next to them. It had a small shop mentality… (even though it managed over $100 billion) and the path was to step up into a trader positiion… But things didn’t turn out that way and I jumped ship to another shop that is ironically more “BO operational” than my other job. I still trade and work with other FO on the sell-side (I’m buy-side), but it is still “BO type work.”

Thank you all for the advice. Much appreciated.

Dapper 425, I understand that the BO can be pretty miserable as I worked at two different one’s in the past, great people (maybe i was lucky) and workload was fine but the overall concepts are boring. VP is also a very loose ended term since it can vary company to company. All i can say is through my experience my bosses at both were making well over 100k one was in their mid 30’s and the other in their late 30’s so really not that old. But yea <50 a week was their normal work hours as was the teams. This was my experience before I made the jump.

TeepeMan, Perhaps I generalized too much. It certainly would depend on a firm by firm basis. I would never complain about 6 figures and <50 hours per week. For me it’s more of the boring part that bothers me. Also getting kicked around by the FO isn’t too fun either.

I hear ya Dapper425, I felt that after a year or two that the work was starting to dumb me down.

virginCFAhooker Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > is being a stock broker a front office job or a > back office job? is being a discount broker a front or back office job? does it really matter?

Anyone picked up on Goldman’s attitude toward BO in the Financial Times a couple of weeks ago? It was a saturday issue. I think it was a profile of their CFO. Anyway, it basically credited their BO for avoiding the subprime mess and said that their BO people score some serious comp. Don’t know if any of it is true, but for what it;s worth, that’s what the article was saying…

so any job that doesn’t invlove face to face contact with clients is considered a BO role?

FO= Revenue generators who make key decisions either on the sales side or are a key part of the investment process, such as pm, research, trading etc. BO=Expenses/cost centers that are operational in nature, does not require any key decision making just implement the process of the FO. Make sense?

So a funny thing happened to me today. Well actually it wasn’t funny at all. I had recently applied for an ER job at a competing firm. It has been over a month and I had pretty much figured it wasn’t going to happen, however I know they have 3 openings so I was holding out hope. I got a call from that firm today. They wanted to talk to me about a position they had open in Operations…