‘Fixed Income rewards the restless’ – Ella Hoxha

Ella Hoxha, Global Bonds Senior Portfolio Manager in London, has managed investment funds for nearly 20 years.
Learning is good, putting complex things together is even better

We could easily describe her as a constant learner: as well as her MSc in International Finance, she’s currently studying for an Executive MBA at Cambridge University, is a CFA charter holder and also a qualified Tier 3 sommelier. Her thirst for exploring goes far beyond finance. To grasp the complexity of financial markets, Ella doesn’t hesitate to stretch her thinking into history, philosophy, geopolitics and of course, her own life experience. 

What does a typical day look like?

The good news is that there isn't a typical day. But broadly speaking, I'm a senior portfolio manager in the Global Bonds team. Together with the team, we manage a variety of funds for our clients. Typically, a day involves figuring out the direction of markets in terms of macro drivers and then communicating on our strategies to our clients, prospects as well as to colleagues across the organisation.

You work in fixed income. How would you define it? 

Effectively, it's the equivalent of a loan. Borrowers come to the fixed income market to fund themselves through capital markets and through vehicles such as our client assets, to fund their future growth projects, whether they are sovereigns or corporates. It's probably, if not, the biggest asset class after real estate and it's also a fairly complex engine. 

What excites you about your job?

The very rapid changing nature of what drives markets. As a portfolio manager, you are constantly gathering information and figuring out what is noise and what is a signal. It's a very fast-paced and intellectually stimulating environment. It’s also the kind of environment that rewards restless learners.

Is it this willingness to learn that made you choose this path?

Absolutely. The willingness to learn is one element; I'm curious by nature, and I do get excited by learning new things. The complexity of our world and figuring out how it all fits together is a second element. During my career in fixed income, I've been faced with quite a variety of crises. The 2008 global financial crisis, the eurozone crisis that came afterwards, the Brexit, the pandemic, high-inflation periods and wars to name just a few. These events bring uncertainty and require a high degree of learning to understand the implications, but also to think more broadly and forwardly.

Tell us a bit more about your background.

I was born and raised in Albania. Throughout my childhood I saw how easily political systems can collapse and give rise to others. Witnessing these shifts gave me a sixth sense to feel when things are evolving in a dramatic fashion and to potentially be ahead of the crowd in terms of understanding the implication of such shifts.

How much do you rely on instinct versus data?

The correct answer would be zero, right? But I don't believe in that. There’s a great book by Jonah Lehrer called “The Decisive Moment: How the Brain Makes Up Its Mind” about combining instinct with systematic thinking. In my view, it's not about dividing one from the other. Because intuition is driven by learning, it’s not an abstract concept.

Who inspires you deeply?

Even if today it’s controversial to have a politician as a role model, I have to say that I’ve always been in awe of Angela Merkel. Her composure, her ability to see sense in complex situations and her competence to lead by consensus are skills I respect and recognise within a leader. On a personal level, my father. He raised four daughters, has seen his life radically shift several times but his optimism and his drive for intellect have always been truly inspiring to me.

 

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