Chief Investment Officer, Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (Asia Pacific)

Eric Sandlund

Tell us about your work-what do you do? I oversee MLIM's investment activities in the Asia Pacific region. This includes fixed-income and equity investments in the Asia Pacific markets outside Japan. What skills are needed? This is a multi-disciplinary field . It helps to have a good ability with mathematics, an understanding of economics, history and politics, an appreciation of psychology, and strong written and spoken communication skills . What was your major? American Government How did you get started in your career? I was hired by the man running Chase Manhattan (Asia) Limited. He had a similar background to me having worked in Washington and holding a degree in law. What experience do you need in this job? As long as you are fairly numerate, a variety of backgrounds and majors can prepare you for this field. It is helpful to have studied accounting or hold a CFA . Describe your "typical" workday: I start at 7:45am and read the incoming e-mail from colleagues and brokers. After that, I review what has happened in world financial markets overnight before attending a morning meeting with my colleagues where we discuss the news and investment ideas. During the day my routine is varied: frequently I will work on client presentations , coordinate investments with the offices we have in Bombay and Bangkok, read research, discuss specific investment ideas with colleagues who have specific industry sector and country coverage responsibilities, and write reports to clients. We also review risk in our portfolios on a formal basis once a week (and whenever we have a new investment idea). During lunch I will often go to a quiet spot in a sandwich shop and sit down to read research. (We sit in a open-plan office and it's often challenging to develop ideas due to the distractions of a big office.) In the afternoon we have video conferences with our colleagues in London who cover Emerging Markets and Global Markets. These are useful information sharing exercises. What is the hardest aspect of your job? Balancing time between managing our investments with my responsibilities to manage a team of ten investment professionals. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Always learning about new things and working with very bright and engaging people. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? Anyone who is good in it must be intelligent. Those who excel will possess common sense. Come with humility or you will never arrive.