Day in the life, Pam Chang, analyst, Citadel Global Equities, Chicago
Pam Chang is an equities analyst at hedge fund firm Citadel, where she covers US and Canadian Banks. She joined Citadel in Chicago in 2017 after working as an associate at an asset management firm in Boston. Pam graduated from Harvard University with a BA in statistics and computer science.
6.30am CT. I wake up and check my phone to go through the news and see what happened overnight in the markets and with the stocks I cover. I also have a quick look at Bloomberg chats and sell-side research to see if I have any communications from my colleagues in our global offices, or whether any new viewpoints on my stocks have emerged while I was sleeping.
7.30am. I’m usually in the office. I live downtown and am about a 15-minute subway ride away. When I arrive, I continue running through any new information on the companies I cover. I’m looking for things like corporate announcements or news of mergers and acquisitions. This can be the best and worst time of my work day – best because you never know what the market will throw at you, and it can be very exciting to interpret implications from news of the day or macro themes. I say it’s the worst because sometimes you have to rip up your daily schedule and reprioritize depending on what’s taking place.
As a small and mid-cap financials analyst who mostly covers banks in the US and Canada, I am deep in the weeds in roughly 40 different stocks and provide back-up coverage on another 20. I have quite a sizable number of shares to follow, but after five years I know the stocks in my universe very well.
7.45am. We have our morning meeting with the whole financials team. The financials trader will give us some color on how the stocks are trading, and on some days of the week our macroeconomist attends too and give us some extra color on the broader economic situation.
8.30am. The market opens in Chicago and I monitor how shares react to any news. I have become disciplined to not stare at my monitor watching shares trade or our team P&L. Instead, I start working on my investment ideas. As an analyst for a hedge fund my primary responsibility is providing investment ideas for our portfolio. I am our internal specialist on the stocks in my sector and my role entails generating ideas for financials investments. This means I need to be aware of all the research that’s issued and of discussions with company management. I synthesize this to create actionable ideas for our portfolio managers (PMs).
Generally, my mornings are focused on research activity around the trades we want to get in.
9.30am. I have a call with the PM and another analyst on the team. We have a three-way chat and bounce ideas off each other. Our collaborative approach is helpful for understanding industry dynamics and learning from my team. The way we work is distinct from the way equity analysts typically work in banks. Here, it’s ongoing research and interaction rather than about the production of a discrete piece of writing. Most of the time, my role is to bring these investment ideas proactively. Sometimes the PM will come to us with some of his own thematic ideas – he might be worried about big themes like credit or funding, and I will look at the impact on individual stocks and then present back to him.
10.30am. On some mornings we have special calls hosted by banks on the mortgage sector or the rates outlook. I also get a lot of calls about research notes that have been published by analysts at banks in the mornings – it can be good to chat to sell-side analysts about their thoughts.
11am. I’m a bit of an early bird luncher. We have a cafeteria on every floor and the pantry opens at 11, so I tend to go right then. They serve different food every day, so it’s easy to have a balanced diet.
12pm. Once a week at noon we have a cross-team financials call. All the other teams in Global Equities get together on a Zoom meeting over lunch (they are still eating theirs!) for a big picture review of what’s going on across the market. Citadel puts a big emphasis on collaboration and there can be a lot of interconnectivity between subsectors – real estate has a lot of overlap with banks, for example, so these meetings are always interesting.
1pm. I spend a few hours working through some ideas and update our models.
3pm. I prepare for a meeting with the management team at one of the banks I cover later in the week. This is an important aspect of my job. I have the primary responsibility for building the relationship with these teams. I’ll often meet them in person at industry events, but sometimes we arrange specific catch-ups. I know most of the management teams well – we’ve been working together for several years and it’s one of the interpersonal aspects of the job that I really enjoy. Most quarters I will travel for a few weeks to meet people face to face.
4pm. On some afternoons I am active in interviewing associates. I started here as an associate myself, and I am often asked to interview more junior candidates. The PM likes to have input from across the team.
5pm. I work on my investment ideas. I put a concise thesis together on my conclusions and send it to the PM. Aligning different data points into an actionable investment thesis is one of my favorite parts of my current role, and my goal is to become a PM at Citadel. In that position, the focus is more about team building and overall portfolio risk and portfolio construction. Over half of PM’s in Global Equities have been Analysts at Citadel, including my PM.
6pm. I usually try to stop working around this time and go to the gym for an hour or so. There’s a gym in my building, but recently it’s been pretty nice outside, so I go for a run.
Sometimes in the evenings we have events and engagements. For example, this week we have a financials team from New York coming to Chicago and they’ve scheduled a dinner with me and some peers from other funds. It’s work – we talk about markets and the industry – but it’s pretty informal. We also can have Citadel team-building events, either within Global Equities or for the Chicago office.
7pm. I usually try to allocate some personal time for myself in the evenings. I decompress and make dinner with my partner. Usually I log on to work again for another hour or so just to tie up any loose ends from the day and review my schedule for tomorrow. It makes the following morning a little less busy.
10.30pm. I try to go to bed at 10.30pm every night. Usually it’s more like 11pm because I’ve been reading or staying up. It’s become a bit of a bad habit!
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