By investment banking standards, a hedge fund culture and schedule looks pretty tame. Almost 90% work between 40-60 hours per week and enjoy an excellent “work-life balance” according to the most recent Job Search Digest Hedge Fund Compensation Survey.
Those who are drawn to working in hedge funds generally enjoy the public markets and making educated guesses on the direction of the markets or particular securities. They also like the smaller size of the typical hedge fund, the flat organizational structure, and the fact that the best and brightest minds in the investment business tend to gravitate toward hedge funds.
Outstanding performance is easy to spot and leads to a level of compensation that beats just about any other job in the finance industry. A star hedge fund trader or associate can make his mark in just a few years and reach compensation levels that would take a decade or longer in investment banking.
Overall, hedge funds tend to be much smaller and more casual than investment banks. The culture of the individual firm is driven by the personality of the founders. Because they have “skin in the game,” the founders tend to be more intensely involved in the day-to-day operations of the firm and interact more with staff. The hedge fund’s performance impacts his own net worth, so you can bet he will be involved in many of the details.
Next time, we’ll look at the organizational structure within hedge funds and how it impacts culture.