Interning with Patrivalor

Byron Poplawski, student blogger

Patrivalor is a small asset management firm located in Madrid, about 5 minutes walk from the school center at Calle Monte Esquinza. I have been interning there for about a month now as a junior market analyst. I enjoy working there and I hope that by describing my experience, future students will be encouraged to apply to the internship.

Founded in 1998 by José Antonio Santos Arrarte, Patrivalor now employs about 15 people and oversees over $40 million. They primarily manage money for high income individuals. The company offers two funds: the Patribond and the Patrival. The Patribond fund is composed of more conservative investments while the Patrival aims for riskier, but higher returns. Like most financial investment firms, Patrivalor suffered significant financial losses following the crisis in 2007. Since that time however, Patrivalor’s two funds have performed well, averaging over 10% growth for the past three years.

The first day I arrived at Patrivalor I interviewed with a woman named Christine. Born in the U.S, she speaks perfect English, which was a great relief when it came time to answer her questions. The interview went well and the following week I, along with another student Andrew, began work.

The work environment is very relaxed. On my first day of work, my boss Mariluz explained to me her wishes for what Andrew and I do. Every day, the company must report their stock positions and various other metrics to 10 different firms such as Bloomberg and Reuters. The process is laborious and repetitive. Our job is to design an application that automates this process and sends the data out every day. Another project we are working on is a low level encryption software that the firm wishes to have for security purposes. So far work is going well and the projects should be finished in the coming weeks.

In addition to these tasks, we are both invited to attend various meetings hosted by other banks. Last week I attended a meeting where a pair of analysts from UK gave a presentation on the Chinese commodities and metals market. It was fascinating to learn about the complexity of this subject. I was surprised by how relevant the U.S was in the discussion. The analysts spoke at length of President Trump’s proposed infrastructure bill and the reality of his plan to use only American made steel. The reality is that the U.S produces 100 million tonnes of steel annually, with excess capacity of, at most, 20 million tonnes. China produces eight times that amount. A $1 trillion infrastructure plan would require more steel than the U.S could feasibly produce, leading to a short term increase in demand for imported Chinese steel. This is just a snippet of the overall conversation. It was eye opening to see very smart people picking apart the president’s plans before he even releases them.

Following every meeting, I write up briefing notes to give to members of the firm that did not attend.

If you are interested in economics and the world of finance, I encourage you to inquire about a possible internship at Patrivalor. While the office environment is relaxed, interns are certainly required to do real work. So far, I am enjoying my time at the firm, and I look forward to learning more about the finance industry as the semester progresses.

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