By Melissa J. Anderson (New York City)
One of the key lessons that Anita Nemes has learned throughout her career is the importance of personal career management. Nemes, Managing Director and Global Head of Capital Introductions at Deutsche Bank, explained, “Just doing your job extremely well is not enough. You have to take responsibility for your own career, thinking about where you want to be next year and the year after that.”
“It’s not just about getting your job done. It’s taking the initiative to get to where you want to be.”
And that means trusting your instincts and taking risks. She explained, “Sometimes it’s really worth taking risks. When I started in prime brokerage, it was a much smaller business than cash equities, where I had worked previously. But I had a vision that hedge funds were here to stay and grow, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Building a Career in Prime Brokerage
Nemes started her career in Hungary, and in 1996 left to go to INSEAD for her MBA. She then began working in emerging markets equity sales at Credit Suisse in 1997. Three years later, she moved to Merrill Lynch, where she would be covering more ground, particularly South Africa and Israel, which were both attractive markets to her.
“In 2003, I was working in cash equity sales but I saw the potential of the prime brokerage business. I saw that it was an area that was going to grow,” she explained.
“So I put up my hand, and I told my boss I was interested. With some luck, I got the role I wanted and started working in capital introductions.”
Nemes continued in the prime brokerage business, and last year she joined Deutsche Bank. Today, she said, “I have the same job, globally heading the capital introductions team for the prime brokerage business. I introduce clients to different sources of capital. I know hedge funds, I know the investors, and my role is to introduce the right investors to the right managers.”
She continued, “I’m extremely proud of our big hedge fund conference this year, called Bridging the Gap. It’s two and a half days long, and we had a phenomenal agenda for our clients. It was great to get a lot of positive feedback, especially since this was my first year at Deutsche Bank and I wanted to make sure it was very special.”
Additionally, she said, she was proud of her work on Deutsche Bank’s Alternative Investment Survey. “For the past eight years, I’d always read it with jealous eyes, as a competitor, but this year my team and I had an instrumental role in compiling it,” she said with a laugh.
Finally, she said being promoted to managing director while at Merrill was another source or pride. “It was a wonderful confirmation of others recognizing what I do,” she explained.
Currently Nemes said she is hard at work on Deutsche Bank’s upcoming Alternative Investment Survey. “It’s our tenth annual edition, so we do want to have a very impactful research piece,” she said.
Additionally, she is working on a number of exciting new hedge fund launches. “It’s a very interesting period of any hedge fund’s life – finding a seeder and the first couple of investors and arranging roadshows for the new funds. It’s very exciting. One establishes a very strong and lasting relationship with those clients.”
Nemes said that the way the hedge fund marketplace was able to bounce back following the economic downturn shows its value. “This industry continues to grow – it had a tremendous setback just three years ago. But literally within a year and a half, it recovered to an all time high,” she explained.
She added, “I never considered hedge funds a different asset class, just a different way to manage risk. The speed at which the industry recovered following 2008 shows that there is high demand for better risk adjusted returns.”
Women in Banking
“I come from a culture where, when I started my career in banking in Hungary in the 90s, most of my mangers were women,” Nemes said. “It was very normal for women to have senior jobs in banks.”
But, she continued, she does see challenges for women. “I don’t think they are particular to banking only,” she clarified. “The difficulties for women in any job is balancing all the different things that life requires, and it is very hard.”
She continued, “I think banking has become a lot more conscious of the issues and is addressing them. Deutsche Bank is extremely good at this. I’ve only been here a year, but I’ve already met a tremendous amount of senior women who are role models and a lot of mentors.”
Nemes pointed out that external groups, like 100 Women in Hedge Funds, also make a difference for building connections.
Advice for Women in Financial Services
Nemes said her advice for young women beginning careers in the industry is to make sure they feel passionate about it. “In this industry, you really can’t go for very far unless you really enjoy what you’re doing,” she explained.
“This is true for anything in life, but this is a very demanding job – it requires a lot of time and everyone is very competitive.”
She continued, “The other thing is that you have to continue to grow and develop. Once you get to a situation where you are comfortable, you have to challenge yourself.”
“I get bored very quickly, and the reason I’ve been in this job for so long is because it’s a very intellectually challenging job, and I feel very privileged to have that.”
As women become more senior, Nemes said taking risks becomes even more important. “One should always be open minded,” she explained.
In Her Personal Time
“A lot of people talk about the challenges of balancing your private and professional life,” Nemes said. “I like my job enough that whether I’m reading The Economist or doing research or something like that on the weekend, I enjoy that personally. So for me, the line blurs when you enjoy what you are doing.”
“I consider travel a really big privilege,” she continued, “even looking out of a taxi window in a new city is a little adventure.”
Finally she added, “I’m a big fan of reading biographies – you can learn a lot from other people’s lives.”