Mandy

FICC / Hong Kong

“Our aim is to be the best Asian emerging market bond house in the world...”

Hometown: Hong Kong
Studied: Economics and Finance, Macquarie University
Joined CLSA: 2013
Languages: Cantonese, English

My job is to help CLSA to build the FICC (Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities) flow credit business franchise.  When an issuer needs to raise money through the debt market they will issue bonds. We find the investors to buy these bonds, so we’re matching the borrower to the lender. We are market makers on a range of Asian bonds, and our aim is to be the best Asian emerging market bond house in the world. Building our franchise has been hugely rewarding, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without our competent team driving the business and attracting talent.

When I joined we were basically a start-up platform. I would say to potential clients that our parent company is number one in China in bonds and equities, so if you want exposure to China, or if you want to know anything about China you have to talk to us. You may not have China exposure right now, but if you’re thinking about it, you need to do a lot of groundwork. If you want a partner to help you, you need to come to us and open an account with me.

Our distribution franchise is very important. We need to build relations with clients, and demonstrate our firm’s capabilities and value add. I’ve been in the market a long time, and people know me personally, but I still have to sell the platform and the firm. Knowing me personally won’t be enough.

A typical day in office starts with the morning meeting at 8.15am. The Traders will go through what happened overnight in particular markets, and what we want to achieve that day. Sales will go through clients’ views and thoughts. After this meeting the traders will start making prices and sales will start disseminating this information out to the market through Bloomberg or email. There is no closing time in FICC markets, as long as the traders and sales are around, we will continue to trade. If we are pricing a new USD deal, often we have to stay late or work from home.

On the technical side, my university degree has been very helpful. The factors affecting FICC markets are very broad and macro. In the fixed income, currency and commodities world, we need to be up to date on government policies, politics, economic growth expectations, inflation expectations, interest rate movements and consumer trends.

My advice to graduates seeking a career in finance is to be agile, open minded, entrepreneurial and work hard.

A work/life balance is a challenge with three kids and a household to juggle. When I have some free time I tend to hit the gym. Exercise is very important for my mind body balance. I love cardio – I have to sweat otherwise I don’t feel like I’ve had a good workout!  I also love hiking.