Finance, in Pakistan, is supposed to be the most lucrative profession for anyone who their parents think isn’t good enough to be a doctor or an engineer. However, while many want a career in finance, not many know what a day-to-day struggle for a finance person looks like.
In order to reveal some industry secrets, here’s what we found out about the industry that runs on money, literally:
1. You tell your friends who work in London or NYC, you work in investment banking too.
Deep down, you hope they won’t call you out on investment banking in Pakistan as approving a credit facility for the next sugar mill isn’t quite the same as working on cross border hostile M&A transactions.
2. The perks you enjoy are kinda’ unparalleled.
The corporate card, the car, the housing loan, even budget for your baby’s diapers, sometimes etc.
3. You struggle between selling your soul vs. wanting to change the world
Wearing the Che Geuvera t-shirt on the weekends doesn’t feel authentic anymore as you have to ditch it all for a suit and tie on Monday morning.
4. You feel jealous of your older cousins who all got jobs in Citigroup and ABN AMRO in the 90s, and parlayed that into cushy jobs in Singapore, Dubai, London and NYC with the same firms.
With no foreign banks left, there is no exit route anymore.
5. Sometimes you may fuck up, like getting the FX pair the wrong way round on your largest ever client order.
Selling 100mm EURUSD instead of buying.
6. And the horror of realizing you’ve done a trade in error.
Compounding the horror as you slowly realize that no one in the history of the world has ever made a profit on one of these trades. Scrambling to cover the error. Letting out a sigh of relief that the loss wasn’t huge. Screaming when 5 minutes later you realize if you had waited a few minutes, you could have turned a profit on it before you got out. Or maybe you could use StocksFM?
7. You may not admit it to others but sometimes you don’t understand why stocks go down when they deliver great earnings….
If only there was a social network for stocks…
8. That moment when the first time you do an options trade, get the right direction, but lose all your money as a combination of the bid offer spread,volatility and theta (time value) fucks you.
9. And that time when your client realizes you made more money in commissions on the trade than he made on the trade itself.
10. You have to deal with khala / mamoo / phupho / chacha that complains about your bank’s credit card thinking that you will be able to make a difference to his service levels from the money market desk.
11. Your mother proudly tells everyone you are “THE VICE PRESIDENT” of the bank clearly not understanding that a banking vice president is not the same as the Vice President of Amreeka.
12. Meritocracy works at school. Machiavelli reigns in banking.
13. You think Liars Poker or Barbarians at the Gate are the two best books ever written.
14. You rubbish central bankers of any country over dinner with your friends who find your views on the direction of the USD yield curve as exciting as it sounds.
Then find out all they care about is if you know whether $KEL is going to be bought out by the Chinese or Engro and for how much.
15. You didn’t let anyone else how scared you were for the survival of the human race in 2008 when Lehman went under.
16. And that movie ‘The Big Short’ kind of made some people help understand what you have to go through on a daily basis.
17. As a broker in Pakistan, that time you had to go to work when Zardari froze markets in 2009.
That was when you caught up with your FB feed from 2006 onward, thought about applying to LUMS or IBA for an MBA, made plans for a new career, started 45 new businesses which didn’t get off the initial ideas stage in your head, and not tell your mom / wife / girlfriend how messed up everything was.
18. And now, here in 2016, and praying that the MSCI decision to make Pakistan part of its Emerging Markets Index eventually leads to unparalleled foreign buying of every crappy stock you hold at a loss.
You see, finance folks don’t have it as easy. The Wolf of Wall Street may be true for some. But not for most people. You don’t all get Margot Robbie, so yeah.
Cover Image via: popopics.com
This post is sponsored by StocksFM, Pakistan’s first social investment platform. StocksFM lets you connect with other traders, interact with them about trading strategies and use their insight to improve your knowledge about the marketing and enhance your trading portfolio.