Liongate's Dillard Urges Bankers To Work Harder

Jan 24 2014 | 12:00pm ET

The world's investment banks are urging—and in some cases requiring—their junior employees to work a little less hard. Fund of hedge funds chief Randall Dillard is having none of it.

The Liongate Capital Management chief investment officer noted that a recent Financial Times poll showed that half of young bankers work 60 hours a week. "That's not even in the game," Dillard told the London School of Economics Alternative Investments Conference.

"I don't say that because I enjoy telling people to work long hours," he said. "There's just not a lot of coasting."

Dillard's speech offered students a number of tips on how to break into and succeed in the financial services industry. To begin with, offer to work for free, given that only 4% of people who apply for such jobs get them. "I don't say that to be elitist," he promised. And get into it right after college.

"It requires discipline, not incredible insight," Dillard said of succeeding on Wall Street.

Dillard offered some other practical advice: Steer clear of the private-equity industry, where he used to work.

"Trust me, after eight or nine years you will want to commit suicide," he said. P.E. is "the roughest business to do well in," one in which he "couldn't go to the movies without feeling guilty."

Dillard also offered some pointed advice to young traders, whom he apparently could do without managing. "They are a bit whiny," he said. "They all say, 'pay me, pay me, pay me.'"

Still, in the end, it all can be worth it.

"If I don't die, then investing a little bit of time up front and accumulating savings to buy it back in the back end of my life, it's not a bad proposition," he said. "If you die unexpectedly, it's a very bad proposition."


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