Ryan McCourt

Ryan McCourt

University of Sydney
Asset Allocation Analyst
Ryan studied Commerce (Finance) in University of Sydney

What I do

My role is split into two key components. First, as a member of the Global Asset Allocation & Currency (AA&C) Investment Committee, I participate in the "idea generation" stage of our investment process. We hold a global, bi-weekly call to propose and debate trade ideas. My specific research focus is equities. Secondly, I support the Asia Pacific Portfolio Manager. This involves research tasks (such as country research reports and trade research), as well as portfolio monitoring and coordination.

I thoroughly enjoy my role. I work alongside a team of clever individuals and the varied nature of this job means there is always something interesting to do. These benefits, however, also represent the key challenges. Producing work that meets the team's standards is difficult and staying on top of work at times can feel like a Sisyphean task.

A typical day

On a typical day, I spend my mornings familiarizing myself with overnight market activities and any important data releases. I then skim through my regular news sources and check to see if any interesting broker research has been published. Following that, I comb through the portfolios to check for cash flows and to ensure we are within our investment guidelines. From that point on, my day varies considerably. If the portfolio manager wants to trade I will assist; otherwise, we have numerous ongoing projects and trade research which require work, as well as various meetings and calls.

My education and / or career path

I joined UBS in Sydney as part of the "cadetship" program in 2011. As a result, I've rotated through roles supporting Wealth Management and the Equities business, as well as various positions in Asset Management. Throughout this time, I was undertaking a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney.

In 2015, after finishing my commerce degree, I was selected for the Talent Incubation Program in Hong Kong. Initially, I intended to stay for six months, working with the Emerging Market Equity team as well as the Chief of Staff office. In the meantime, my current role became available. After being fortunate enough to be offered this role, I decided to (indefinitely) defer my law degree and stay in Hong Kong.

What motivates me

I am motivated by the intellectual challenge this role offers. Moving from a company-specific to a macro-focused research role is exciting, and I have a long way to go before I reach the level of understanding possessed by the senior members of the Investment Committee.

The reason I decided to join the Global Investment Solutions team specifically was that it provided a unique opportunity – at my age – to work alongside and learn from a global team of investment professionals. In addition, I genuinely believe our investment process adds value for our clients.

Outside of work

Outside of work, I play saxophone in a local jazz bar in Hong Kong and spend far too much money on food. I try to get to the beach as often as I can, though it is hard to compete with Australia's coastline!

Something surprising

I've been consistently surprised by just how "flat" UBS' organisational structure is. Throughout my time in both Australia and Hong Kong, senior managers have been happy to provide advice and mentoring when I have needed it.

Starting out

My advice would be to read often and broadly. I think Charlie Munger (borrowing from Maslow) is right in saying "to the man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." Whilst knowledge of finance, economics and statistics is important, I'm most impressed with investors who also have a grasp of politics, history, psychology and a programming language. Alternatively, as the CEO of one of our competitors put it, "You have to be a complete person. You have to be interesting. You have to be somebody who is interesting to yourself."