In a series of interviews conducted by Hedge Funds Club boss Stefan Nilsson, we are aiming to get under the skin of interesting people related to the hedge fund industry. The interviews focus on the people and the good life. Here’s our chat with Michael Bugel, AIMA’s Co-Head of APAC, in Hong Kong.
From where and how do you get your daily general news updates?
Nothing too special really, but I like waking up to RTHK 3 HK to get my local news out of the way, which is then followed by the BBC World Service. The usual subscriptions such as FT, Bloomberg and CNN get filtered to me throughout the day. I must admit, I do look through my Facebook feeds, Instagram and Daily Mail from England for a few laughs! In the evenings before I go to bed, sometimes I would tune into an American podcast such as Vox and The Explained for fun.
What do you do to unwind on a weekend?
Weekends are quite sacred downtime, so no lie-ins for me. Pre-covid, I usually start the weekends with an early yoga or gym session followed by a nice sauna and meditation. After that, it is usually followed by a walk with my girlfriend and her dog Odie. He is a dachshund and has little legs, so our walks are mostly limited on the Island side. Occasionally, we take him for a stroll along the sea which is always quite special. One of my favourite activities on Sundays is to visit the flower market in Jordan to replenish my home with all sorts of pastels. They are a real mood lifter and brightens up the home and the soul. Afternoons are spent chasing down errands usually before meeting friends for drinks and dinner. If not, I can be found anywhere under the sun reading my Weekend FT. The weekend would not be complete without speaking to my children who are in England which is a wonderful way to wrap the week.
Can you name a great book you have recently read?
Books I leave to holidays, where I tend to eat them up at a fast pace. Day-to-day usually magazines and blogs and podcasts. Best book that I can highlight is an oldie called “The Moon’s a Balloon” by David Niven.
Your soundtrack of choice?
Music is a must all day and every day where it is permitted. I have a very varied taste depending on my mood, but a soundtrack which always makes me smile is Fleetwood Mac’s “Greatest Hits”, a track called “Dreams”. Stevie Nicks’ voice Is hard to beat.
What drink do you start the day with and what drink finishes it?
Water! Water! Water!
What gives you energy?
The sun, infectious smiles and, most importantly, positive people. Energy works in reciprocity, the more you give, the more it comes back!
How do you stay grounded and focused as a person in these turbulent and fast-changing times?
A lot of that is through training the mind. One has to be up to the minute on news and facts and stay relevant and helpful to our members and the team. So I think listening, learning and helping where one can, keeps one very much in touch, humble and grounded.
Can you name a terrific restaurant that you love?
I am not a very developed foodie. I tend to go to restaurants which have vigour, colour and energy but good food clearly helps. They also tend to come and go here in Hong Kong in a very fast way with rents being what they are. A recent find in Po Hing Fung called Giabar has caught my eye.
What’s your favourite museum in the world?
There are so many wonderful museums to blow one away on entering. It’s so hard to nail one down specifically, but seeing the museum of the Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses was breathtaking and for sure a special visit.
Are you active on social media and what do you actually use it for?
Not especially, on most of the apps whatever they maybe. But I’m more of a reader and looker than a big posturer, to be honest.
Do you have any secret guilty pleasure that you are prepared to reveal here?
Nothing crazy or wild, but I do have a passion and keen interest in trees. They are so varied in so many ways and have been around for so long, that I have grown to love, respect and enjoy them.
What kind of battle dress do you normally put on for work?
My battle dress is a mental one, which is well-honed, prepared and ready for the day’s adventures. I think looking smart and well-presented is key and gets one through the day. Nothing beats a well- starched shirt, no matter what you pair it with.
Do you celebrate your wins? If so, how?
I think there are so many goals and challenges in life, that one must take a second and celebrate in whatever fashion one’s wins. Grab the team or friends and have a quick celebration. Life is hard enough, so go for it. A win is a win and we will take it.
What makes you happy?
The sun, sea and surf have forever and always put a big smile on my face. Accompanied by my loved ones is the icing on the cake.