BAM Employee Spotlight is a Q&A series featuring employees across roles, ranks, and global regions at our firm. Ernie Constantine, our latest guest, is a top-flight professional who has two distinguished careers.
If you are a soccer fan, you may recognize Ernie from TV. For the past 18 years, he has been a referee for the United States Soccer Federation, officiating major international matches while simultaneously leading the firm's global macro and credit middle-office from New York.
In this Q&A, we explore his rise in two disciplines, how he juggles the demands of each, and his advice to those wishing to chase more than one professional dream.
Q: Thanks for chatting with us, Ernie. Let's start with BAM. Why did you decide to join the firm?
A: I started my career out of college at State Street, working three years in operations. I wanted to learn more, particularly on the macro and credit side. BAM was growing and seemed like a great opportunity. Seven years later I'm still here, and I couldn't be happier.
Q: What energizes you most about BAM?
A: The people and the culture. My team and I work really well together, and a lot of what drives me is being there for my team.
Q: What is your role at BAM?
A: I currently oversee our macro & credit middle office globally. I joined BAM in 2014 as a Macro Operations Associate. After about a year of learning the business, I accepted an internal opportunity in our London office, which lasted just under 3 years. I returned to New York in 2018 when I was promoted to Director of the Macro & Credit Middle Office. Our role has evolved over the years. When I first joined, our group served more of a back-office function, doing reconciliations and settlements of trades, that kind of role. Since then, we have transitioned to more of a middle office / trader’s assistant role - one closer to the front office - where we are involved in the daily workflow and work with portfolio managers on a minute-by-minute basis, helping on their trades.
The PMs see a lot of value in our work. That really means a lot.
Q: How did you become a soccer referee?
A: It started in middle school. My mom wanted me to get a job like my friends had, working at the local bagel store or something like that. But I took a different direction. The local soccer club in my town, Bethpage, Long Island was looking for referees. They paid $20 a game for weekend games. The next thing you know, I was making $100 a weekend. It was great.
In college, I refereed to have some extra beer money for the weekend, and after college I stuck with it. I was fortunate enough to climb the ranks in officiating and am now calling games on a professional level. I do games all over the country. I continued to referee games in the UK when BAM transferred me to London.
Q: When do you officiate?
A: Nights and weekends. If I am traveling to a game during the week, I take my laptop and screen with me to make sure things are getting done at BAM. I’ll work a full day during the day and then head to the stadium!
Q: What's your favorite part of refereeing?
A: It's just really, really fun. And it's a great mental getaway. When you step onto the field, nothing else matters. The only thing that matters is what's going on in between the lines. It's a nice way to escape.
Q: What lessons have you learned from refereeing that have also helped you succeed at BAM?
A: Being a referee and working at BAM have similarities. The lessons I learn on the field are a kind of cross-training for working in BAM operations. There's a sense of teamwork, being well organized and focused, and making sure rules are followed.
One thing I've learned at both jobs is that if something can happen, it will happen and you have to be prepared. Especially in a very fast-paced environment - in macro and credit at an asset manager, or in a fast-paced professional soccer game – you need to be on your toes and expect the unexpected. Things can change in a matter of seconds, and you have to be ready for it.
We try not to stress about things that are outside of our control. But we must control the controllable. That's what I tell my referee crews and my team at BAM.
Q: Being a high achiever in two professions is no easy feat. Do you have any advice for others with similar aspirations?
A: People have asked me how I can possibly do both. It's possible. As long as you're willing to put in the effort, manage your time accordingly, make sure nothing falls through the cracks, and do what you do well, you can achieve anything in work and life. Most importantly make sure to find time to spend with your family. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my wife and family. I find both of my professions to be very rewarding and would encourage others to find time to pursue their passion or a hobby outside of work.