6:00 a.m.: I wake up. My day starts like a lot of other people’s on Wall Street. I get up, check my smartphone for messages, and log in at home with my coffee to check up on anything that may have happened overnight with a client or an investment. On my way in, it’s either the Wall Street Journal or some catch-up work on the laptop.
7:00 a.m.: I arrive at the office. I’m usually in by 7 a.m. or so. From then until about 8 a.m., I’m reviewing the overnight developments abroad. I have a few clients in some global investments and some real estate overseas. If a client is overseas and I need to check in with them, I’ll do that then.
8:00-9:00 a.m.: The day’s data and earnings come in, and I review them.
9:00 a.m.: The morning call. Our investment strategists come in over the old squawk box—well, it’s a conference call now—around 9. We get the latest thinking from the entire firm, not just the private bank, which has very good strategists, but also the larger research arm, too. Most days, there’s nothing huge that I have to react strongly to. Most of the time, if there’s up or down action expected in a major holding on the part of one of my clients, I’ll already have seen that coming and will have a strategy in place. If it’s unexpected and a big enough development, I’ll get on the phone before the open with a few options for them, and we’ll decide if there’s anything we want to do. Likewise, if there’s a pending development that fits in with a client’s strategy, and I think we should jump on it, I’ll call then too. Again, that’s pretty rare, but it does happen.
9:30 a.m.: The opening bell. By the time trading opens in New York, I’ve made sure that my clients’ positions are still valid across the board. I have multiple strategies in place for each and every investment my clients have, so if I’ve had to execute on one of them, I’ll go ahead and place the order for it when I think it’s best to move during the day. Otherwise, once we get the opening bell, I’m pretty much settled in and can think about the bigger stuff.
10:00 a.m.: Meeting with members of the firm’s capital team. I have one client right now, for example, who owns outright a house in the Hamptons and is trying to lay on a $1 million mortgage. The house is worth $8 million. So I have to make sure that’s proceeding along with our capital people.
11:30 a.m.: Client calls, with varying degrees of success. Some are there and happy, some are playing phone tag. One client, a real estate family, just had a major liquidity event. We’re trying to set up a meeting to talk about that event and what they want to do with it.
1:00 p.m.: Lunch, with a client, to discuss hedging strategies and the current market, trying to get the firm’s chief investment officer or an investment strategist to join at the last minute.
2:30 p.m.: New business and more client calls. I just responded to a proposal from a major New York-area charity, a referral from one of my happy clients. He’s on the charity’s board, and he teed things up for me with the charity president, the head of the finance committee, and the head of the investment committee.
The rest of my day is spent on a variety of things, whether it’s client meetings or calls, working with ongoing projects, planning ahead, or drumming up new business. I check the markets regularly throughout the day, and our firm has regular updates via e-mail as well. If there’s an unexpected occurrence, I’m back to the portfolios and reviewing options to see if there’s a need to make a move.
4:00 p.m.: The closing bell. The next 30 to 45 minutes is spent doing a thorough check of the day’s activity, as well as afternoon earnings reports. I check in at the close, and pay attention to any earnings from companies that my clients have an interest in. Then it’s back to everything else.
4:45 p.m.: More client calls. I check in with my clients as much as we both feel comfortable with. Some people are very much into having me call all I want, others will only want me to call to set up something at a predetermined time, or when there’s a crisis that I haven’t been empowered to deal with on my own.
7:00 p.m.: Leave the office. I don’t have too many West Coast clients, so I’m usually out of the office between 6 and 7 in the evening. I try to take some work home with me on the train, except for Friday nights. It’s really rare that I’ll get a late call or a weekend call. Some of my colleagues do, but my clients are generally pretty sophisticated, and they don’t need me 24/7. And they sure aren’t doing anything rash with their money on a Saturday.
I work some evenings now and then, though, whether it’s a client meeting or a networking thing. I am involved in charity, which is not only good for the soul, but provides outstanding opportunities for business. When I do endowment work, too, it usually means all the black-tie events and the golf outings, but those are happening with people who are potential clients.