Greetings all! Things have been on the quiet side here for the past month or two and so I wanted to post a brief update on a few specific areas and let you know my plans going forward. So let’s get to it 🙂
Life has been pretty hectic this past few months and I’m feeling completely burnt out in all honesty. No one single factor is to blame, rather several aligning at the same time – I’m sure you know the feeling!
Thankfully, I have two holidays to look forward to in the latter half of August and I really cannot wait for those so come around so that I can escape everything and spend some quality time with wife and kids.
They are growing up so fast that I sometimes feel like I’m a stranger looking in and it is always a moral dilemma whether to make changes in my career and life more broadly that will allow me to spend more time with them…… Then I go on holiday with them for a week and I’m swiftly reminded why it’s great to be at work 🙂
Only kidding, they are amazing kids and I’m so lucky to have them and my wife in my life. They are everything to me and I’d be nothing without them.
Work has been insane in 2019. After a few years in my previous role, I was looking for a new challenge and was lucky enough to be offered a great opportunity within my firm to continue my role, but working within a different team in the business.
I guess to give this some context I should explain what I do. I work for a large U.S. investment firm, which manages close to $300bn of investors money – mainly institutional clients (public and private pension funds, governments, sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, family offices etc) but also some retail money too (i.e. mutual funds). We do this by offering investors a wide choice of investment strategies to suit their particular needs. My firm is predominately a fixed-income specialist, but we do also run many equity and alternative strategies too.
My actual role sits between the investment teams (portfolio managers, research analysts etc) and the distribution teams (sales, marketing and client relations) and I’m one of several product specialists that look after a sub-set of the firms investment capabilities, acting as the liaison between the sharp end of the investment strategy and portfolio management and the efforts to promote and support these strategies in the market place.
For 6-7 years I looked after our global equity capabilities and also took on some client-facing relationship management duties for some of our large Nordic investors. Earlier this year, I made a wholesale switch over to our fixed income group where I am now doing the same role but covering a range of multi-asset credit and risk premia (quantitative) strategies. As you might imagine, the difference is night and day and the group I now support are far more active in the marketplace, launching new strategies and always in need of support. So its been a refreshing change but also very challenging with a steep learning curve.
Six months in, I feel like I am starting to find my groove and I’m hoping that the final few months of the year see things settle down even more. There is never a dull day and you can never stop learning from some pretty inspirational people.
In amongst life and the pressures at work, I’m also in the later stages of studying for an Executive MBA. Things are going really well on this front. I can’t believe how fast this past year has gone and I’m really enjoying the learning and personal development that this course is providing me with, even though it can be a struggle to fit everything in at times.
The next few months are critical. I’m almost complete with the syllabus of learning with just a few more modules to wrap up between now and the end of the year. Running alongside those, however, is the need to complete a Capstone Project. Essentially, its the crowing project of the whole MBA and draws upon all the course syllabus and learnings.
For this project, myself and two others are busy working on a genuine business idea, that we will be pitching to a large group in November. This group will include other students, course lecturers as well as people from industry and even a few potential angel investors. While the short-term goal is of course to demonstrate all of the skills we have learnt over the MBA process to secure a good final grade, there is also a genuine attempt here to present an idea that can be a legitimate start-up business.
Each year, several of these Capstone Projects go on to become real businesses, so you never know where it might lead us. Exciting times! At this point, we are trying to narrow down our ideas into 2-3 viable opportunities before doing more expansive research. I’ll keep you posted in the months ahead.
All of the above has contributed to there being very little time to focus on the website and blog. So much so, I have been in two minds whether I’ve got the bandwidth to keep blogging at all. I’ve learned so much from the process this past year and I do enjoy writing and putting ideas out there, even if it does require quite a bit of time and energy. There is also always that question in my head “Is anybody out there reading/listening?” That being said I hope to continue in some form for a while yet.
But with Pursue FIRE now 1-year old, I do plan on making some much-needed improvements to the structure of the blog and being a little more deliberate about what I write about. It has all been quite spontaneous thus far and it is a little clunky in places. So keep an eye out for some tweaks in the months ahead – a lick of paint and a bit of polish here and there will no doubt help keep things ticking along.
Each Way Betting
Some of you may have noticed that my live each-way betting page has not been updated for some time. In fact, upon closer expectation not since the end of May.
When I first started each-way betting, it was an experiment to see whether this crazy idea of making consistent money from betting on horses was really viable. Inspired by those before me I went into it with an open mind and stuck to the process. A big part of the success I went on to achieve with EWB (turning £500 into more than £10k) was down to the meticulous record-keeping of bets, staking, bank management etc.
This served many positives. It kept me focused on the long-term results and not on the daily swings. It provided me with a benchmark from one month to the next, against which to measure results and overall trends, which was emphatically positive. So why stop?
Well, I have not stopped EWB – far from it. It continues to form a meaningful part of my money-making portfolio. I have, however, stopped the daily tracking of every single bet, line by line. I no longer need to validate the theory. Things have massively exceeded any expectations I had when I started. While the growth in profit potential has undoubtedly slowed, due to the account restrictions with a number of the better bookmakers, I still continue to make hundreds of pounds a month from EWB.
Away from the horses, I have ramped up my daily activity with other forms of betting or sports trading, namely in the tennis and football markets. With both of these, I am exclusively using sports exchanges rather than traditional bookmakers. With me being restricted on most of the major bookmakers (on account of rinsing them on the horses this past year) it’s inevitable that the betting exchanges will be where most of my activity will take place going forward.
Part of this is due to the nature of my systems and strategies, often requiring me to trade in and out of markets or the straight laying of selections (something you can’t do with a bookmaker) but also the major problem of getting restricted is removed which is a clear benefit going forward.
As a football fan, I’m excited that the Premier League, and the big European leagues, are starting very soon. There are always numerous trading opportunities and I enjoy trying out new things, especially as the access to data and statistics in football is at unprecedented levels allowing for ever-more ingenious way to play the markets.
Tennis trading continues to go well and with the season now largely taking place in North America, it means I don’t have to worry about trying to bet/trade during the working day as most matches take place in the evenings and into the early mornings. I continue to deploy a number of different strategies, including those used in my Wimbledon Project, as well as a number of others – again all based on my love of statistics and modelling data for observable trends.
As mentioned, the second half of August will see a well-earned break for Pursue FIRE. It will also be my birthday while we are away so that will be extra fun to celebrate that in a different setting.
Most importantly, it will be nice to recharge the batteries a little heading into the last few months of the year. When I return, the MBA will peak and conclude in November. This will mark the end of my studies and I’ll have a trip to the States to look forward too in January next year to attend my graduation.
With studying out of the way, it is my hope to focus more of my energy on ramping up Pursue FIRE as well as starting a few other side ventures, personal learning and development and who knows, maybe even a business!
Lastly, I just wanted to extend my thanks to you the readers of Pursue FIRE. Blogging can be a thankless endeavour but I do get the odd comment now and again and that really helps to keep the FIRE burning. Hopefully, in some small way, I strike a chord or make a difference somewhere to someone as others do for me.
I’ll be back in September – until then, enjoy the last few weeks of summer 🙂