A Day in the Life of a Market Risk Analyst

In this article, one of QuantNet members describes a typical day as a market risk analyst in a big financial institution. The author holds an MFE degree.


6:45 am – Alarm clock goes off. The good side is that it’s a Friday and I have a weekend to rest. So I quickly get up, take a quick shower, have breakfast and pull myself together. Then pick up FT from the door, quickly skim through the headlines and head to the train for the daily commute.
7:30 am – After reading FT, look over the news on Bloomberg on my cell before I get in the tunnel and get ready for the day ahead.
7:50 am – Get to my desk and check email for any requests either from risk managers or my manager for the CRO . Some days can get extremely hectic and need to be on top of all the requests so that I can prioritize accordingly.
8:00 am – Every Friday the weekly stress testing results for the firm come in. Have an hour to put together the report, analyze the results and figure out the risk stories that I will need to present to the team and CRO. This is the time that craziness kicks in. Need to go through the changes in the risk measures for each desk and try to understand the strategy employed that would give me a more intuitive sense to the risk changes.
8:45 am –By now I have put a draft of the risk stories together, contacted risk managers to confirm the stories are in line with the changes prepared the necessary reports to back up the stories and have the presentation ready to be sent to the MDs and CRO.
9:30 am – After our team presented the major risk stories for the firm, I listen to each asset class risk managers that follow to brief the CRO with any details about any deals or risk profile changes that happened during the week at each desk.
11:00 am – Meeting is over. Time now to finalize my stories and dig through the millions of rows of data to make sure there was no feed issue.
12:00 am – Get together with some colleagues and go for lunch somewhere around Times Square.
1:00 pm – Back at the desk and ready to go discuss with the risk managers any questions they have and communicate with the research team any potential improvements that could be made to the model.
2:00 pm – Risk stories are finalized and the final comments are sent out. Next on the agenda is ad hoc stress scenarios that risk managers and the Regulators have requested.
4:00 pm – Slowly the day is winding down and the floor becomes somewhat quieter. It’s my only chance to pick up and finish coding the tools I left unfinished.
6:00 pm – Look over the calendar to get ready for the week ahead and prepare any necessary materials for my manager for Monday’s senior risk meeting.
6:45 pm – On my way home.
It is pretty much similar to my day. I am a market risk analyst myself, but I only have bachelor degree. I am quite surprised to see MFE graduates doing the same thing as I do.
It is pretty much similar to my day. I am a market risk analyst myself, but I only have bachelor degree. I am quite surprised to see MFE graduates doing the same thing as I do.
I would not be surprised to know people some people doing similar work with only a bachelor training. An advanced degree may result in higher compensation or future career growth.
I am looking for a good MFE program. I have good exp. in prop. trading. My question is : Do people who join hedge funds or maybe who r offered roles directly related to trading also have a hectic schedule like the one mentioned here??
What is the pay progression and exit opps like as one moves up in market risk?
Exit opps? Quit anytime you like. ;)

Pay will differ depending on your roles, whether you take a managerial or specialist track etc. no different to any industry, the closer you are to being the guy bringing in the jobs, the more money you earn
Yes, I understand it varies. Can you give some kind of range for the guy being in the specialist track for example?

Btw i'm guessing the term 'exit opps' here is different than in other forums...
Sorry, my first comment was kind of ironic, I just meant exit opportunities, exit options ;)

Speaking from an Australian perspective, someone starting out in a consulting firm in market risk might start on as low as say AUD40K, or as high as 70+ if you landed a job in a good bank, with my idea of the avg probably close to the 50 mark. With a few years behind you, you'd be more like the 80-100K range. Someone consulting, in a job of a high managerial to associate director range, I believe you could expect say 120-160 or more.

I know algo trader positions starting in the AUD80-100K range, but they were also ruthless in cutting people who weren't performing. They'd intentionally take in 12-15 people on trial, and publicly declare that they'd take 1 or 2 max by the end of two months, with the rest having been let go. That said, I know guys working in quant dev for similar algo-type trading, in very successful firms, who make 150+ and something similar again in bonuses.

Note that Australians are very well paid compared to most of the world, so these figures wouldnt hold well for anywhere other than say, the USA and Britain I expect.