Photo: Julia La Roche for Business Insider
Moderator Note (Andy): The author is a hedge fund partner based out of Brazil and has worked in basically everything: PE, IB, S&T, management consulting and hedge funds.IB folks spend some of their evenings in business dinners/drinks, guiltlessly enjoying overpriced food and booze (and depending on local etiquette, drugs and hookers as well). Been there, done that and yeah, it’s lotsafun, because (1) it all runs on expense accounts, (2) it leaves less time for “f*ck my life” ruminations and (3) it makes you feel less guilty about skipping gym the morning after.
In HFs, hours are different. For the better, of course. I go home at ~7pm but I can’t party or drink like I used to, because by 8:30am a week’s worth of work must be already done. In this series, I will share my pre-open routine: how I organise myself, what I look for in my screens to generate ideas, what I read. And I call fellow HF/S&T folks to join: how do you prepare for your daily random walk down Wall St.?
1. Bloomberg: A prelude
You already know that, but in case you’ve been in a coma, living on the hills or something worse (corporate development, maybe?), the Mayor’s toy is indeed the sh*t. I could write hours about its functionalities, about how it raised standards in financial data gathering and analysis, about how it flattened information across agents or about how harder it was to master it 10 years ago, but I leave you only 3 tips.
Tip #1: know it like you know the alphabet, better if possible. If data is garbled, weird or not comparable, learn how to fix it. if defaults don’t suit your style, change them (beginner), tweak them (intermediate), override them (advanced) or re-code them (Inferno). The point here is that every capex hour invested in learning Bloomberg will pay off handsomely in monkey work shelter over the rest of your career.
Tip #2: 2 screens = minimum, 4 = standard, more = douchebagness + distraction (unless you are in algo execution flow monitoring or crazy shit like that). Lobby for 4 screens. If that doesn’t work, bribe compliance, buy the gear and slip security a $50 to smuggle the shit into the office at 3am, I don’t know, whatever it takes. Why 4? See item 2 below.
Tip #3: BBG without BBXL only works for cheap, poorly researched, mass-oriented Hollywood movies. It’s like owning a Ferrari and only being allowed to drive in a 20mph school zone in Louisville, Kentucky.
2. The art of Bloomberg-skimming
Why 4? Because there is a load of data out there, and you need to know it better and faster. Before we embark into the layout itself, remember the golden rule: never switch screens or places. You need your Pavlovian reflex system to direct your sight to the right place whenever you hear trigger phonemes such as “FOMC”, “Draghi”, “Bear Stearns went under”, “Xstrata earnings”, etc. I take that so seriously that I might even still have LEH Equity in my price screen.