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Excellence in Asset Management: Annisa Lee, PIMCO

Excellence in Asset Management: Annisa Lee, PIMCO

"an ongoing mentoring system can help a lot, with senior female colleagues sharing their experiences with junior female staff."

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Markets Media spoke with Annisa Lee, Head of Credit Research, APAC at PIMCO, who won Excellence in Asset Management at the 2023 Women in Finance Asia Awards.

Can you please tell me what is your day-to-day role?

I am the Head of APAC Credit Research for PIMCO. My key role is to manage a team of credit analysts across the APAC region. PIMCO’s credit analysts provide bond recommendations to our portfolio managers to help them generate alpha in their respective funds for our clients. I also attend client events to provide our latest view on the markets and introduce PIMCO’s credit research process.  

Market conditions have been volatile -- what have you found to be most challenging?

Market volatility is a lot higher than before, with each cycle (bull or bear market) getting shorter. Going forward, we should expect an increase in funding cost across the board.  There’s also a higher likelihood that recession will happen and geo-political tensions will remain in focus. All these will add pressure on corporates’ revenue and earnings. Geo-political tensions may also lead to more sanctions and unpredictable events that may further add market volatility. All these will mean that it is getting more difficult for analysts to predict and forecast outcomes of a situation or trend, and analysts will need to change or update the recommendations in a more frequent manner.

What skillsets are required for today and have they changed over the past couple of years?

I am learning to be a better manager everyday. I used to manage a smaller team in Hong Kong. It was easier given they were in the same location and had similar background. Now with a more diversified pool of credit analysts based in Hong Kong, Australia and Japan, it requires a more customized approach in managing. Given their difference in seniority and background, the career aspirations of each team member could be vastly different and as a manager, I need to pay full attention to their changing needs and goals.

What progress do you think women have made in financial services? How have things changed since you started?

The financial services sector had been male-dominated for quite some time. I have been working in this industry for over 27 years and there are quite a number of notable changes that we see as women now play a more important role in the sector. I think the key changes are that now I see a lot of working mothers being able to stay at senior levels while perfectly handling their family life well. That is probably a combination of the flexibility and support (such as work from home arrangements, flexible working hours, infrastructure of having nursing rooms) that employers have provided to female colleagues over time. And once there are more female colleagues at senior levels, the motivation among the junior female colleagues will be further strengthened as they see more female role models within their firm.  

What needs to be done to move the needle further?

While the ratio between men and women within the industry has improved a lot over the past few decades, it is still far from ideal. There are still a lot of women who may not consider working in this industry considering the relatively long working hours and a male-dominated environment. I believe an ongoing mentoring system can help a lot, with senior female colleagues sharing their experiences with junior female staff who are looking for career enhancement while developing their family plans. 

 

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