2/2/12

So I'm a 2nd year analyst in FIG in a lower-tier bulge bracket. Trying to get out to HF/PE but headhunters and firms are so racist against FIG experience. I've actually focused on asset managers and FinTech companies which follow traditional EBITDA based modeling, and purposely don't do any insurance or banks. Yet it seems impossible to shake off the FIG stigma. People from the class above me either went to FIG PE or left finance altogether.

Any advice on how to deal with this and break out of the FIG pigeonhole to a generalist role on the buy-side? Unfortunately, switching to M&A or LevFin within my bank is not an option at this point. Thanks in advance.

Comments (38)

2/2/12

Do you dislike FIG?
Personally don't see the issue with FIG PE, assuming this is an option for you.

Also, racist is absolutely not the word you're looking for. Fix that shit ASAP.

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2/2/12

I lol'd at Racist against FIG experience...keep it there, that shit is priceless.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

2/2/12

Why not use racist. I mean if you vote against Obama you are racist or if you think Holder is a piece of shit you are racist. I think recruiters not picking FIG people for PE positions is absolutely racist. The word has no meaning now and the colloquial meaning fits this topic just fine.

Fuck, if you don't like black licorice candies you are racist.

2/2/12

Yes if it wasn't obvious from the title, I hate FIG. Banks, insurers, and asset managers are boring as fuck from a business standpoint. I did not join FIG by choice.

2/2/12

I'd suggest the word "groupist".

On the topic: maybe it's the bank that is the problem, not the group?

2/2/12

I've heard the same complaint. Being in Nat Res we get some similar buyside cock-blocking just given the type of modeling experience you get. However, have also encountered plenty of folks from FIG groups that have got where they want to be. And dude, head hunters can be huge cunts sometimes. Most don't come from banking backgrounds and the ones that do are (seemingly) so far removed from their experience they're not a lot different than the later (w/ exceptions of course).

I've seen more than one or two farewell emails from kids in our FIG group, which is mediocre if I had to guess, going to some pretty top shops. So I know for a fact it's doable. Just bust out your undergrad networking trick bag and do it yourself. If you're good / know your shit, have some interesting deal experience and fit with a shops culture you're fine.

In reply to FreezePops
2/2/12
FreezePops:

Also, racist is absolutely not the word you're looking for. Fix that shit ASAP.

Why post this

In reply to FreezePops
2/2/12
FreezePops:

Also, racist is absolutely not the word you're looking for. Fix that shit ASAP.

Looks like somebody here has HR on their speed dial. It was an euphemism bro.

2/2/12

When meeting with headhunters and firms, you should really emphasize that your experience has been mostly generalist and transferable to other industries since you've done no work with insurers or banks. You should also explain that your longer-term interests lie outside of FIG. It might be slightly more difficult for some FIG analysts, but it's definitely not impossible to land a job at a top PE shop or HF if you present yourself in the right light.

Also, I know you said that switching to M&A or Lev Fin aren't options, but have you thought about moving to a different industry group? Consumer/retail, industrials, TMT, etc?

Stringer -- it's hard to see how "racist" could be a euphemism. Try looking up "euphemism"...

2/2/12

I definitely highlight to recruiters that I don't do typical "FIG" work and my FinTech experience is more Tech than FIG, but here is an example email from a headhunter this morning replying to my resume:
"...there is only one that would consider FIG and that would be in [XYZ city]."

Moving to another coverage group will also be difficult given that the entire bank (and finance industry) is cutting down on hires. And I'd rather not do another year of banking anyway. Guess I will have to try and use my alumni network and bust my ass to even get an interview...

And holy shit guys about the racist word, lighten up.

In reply to JeffSkilling
2/2/12
JeffSkilling:
FreezePops:

Also, racist is absolutely not the word you're looking for. Fix that shit ASAP.

Why post this

My own personal amusement.
Really didn't expect it to be taken seriously.

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2/2/12

I would have assumed it would be the other way around and FIG would be more attractive to PE/HF.

XX

In reply to Pike
2/2/12
Pike:

I would have assumed it would be the other way around and FIG would be more attractive to PE/HF.

It's a very niche industry to cover and the modeling differs a lot, depending on the types of financials you are covering.

If you are really good in FIG you will stand out at the very least. If your heart isn't in it, better to get out sooner rather than later.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."

2/2/12

Agreed. FIG sucks. Get out ASAP.

2/2/12

seamless - pedantic much?

2/2/12

Hey who the fuck put racist in quotations in my OP. I thought we stopped SOPA and PIPA. Change it back.

2/2/12

I changed it back, pretty shitty of one of the mods to do that.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

2/2/12

i hope those headhunters put this uppity little FIGger in his place.

In reply to happypantsmcgee
2/2/12
happypantsmcgee:

I changed it back, pretty shitty of one of the mods to do that.

seriously, that is very lame

2/2/12

You are clearly doing something wrong. I've seen numerous FIG analysts going to absolute top shops, i.e. joining the financial services practice. If you hate FIs and want to go to industry PE it's harder (but why would you want to do that when being a sought-after specialist with a lot less competition for buy-side roles?). Focussing on Fin Tech is also not really smart. In FIG, you should be getting solid deal experience right now, unlike many of your fellow analysts from other industry groups.

In reply to damngringo
2/2/12
damngringo:

I'd suggest the word "groupist".

On the topic: maybe it's the bank that is the problem, not the group?

says the guy with a condescending racial term as his username

2/2/12

when hispanics really want to insult white boys they call them gabachos, not gringos.

In reply to TNA
2/2/12
ANT:

Why not use racist. I mean if you vote against Obama you are racist or if you think Holder is a piece of shit you are racist. I think recruiters not picking FIG people for PE positions is absolutely racist. The word has no meaning now and the colloquial meaning fits this topic just fine.

Fuck, if you don't like black licorice candies you are racist.

Trivializing racism toward black people is racist!

-MBP

2/2/12

So... how does one avoid being drafted into the FIG group? I'm guessing you can't say "I don't want FIG" straight up.

2/2/12

I'll only answer if you change your name to African-AmericanOpsMonkey

2/2/12

Wow no valuable advice in this whole thread. Guess there's no way out but suicide.

2/2/12

I'm in the exact same position. Getting placed into FIG sucks balls. Unfortunately, didn't have much choice. If anyone knows of someone that made a successful switch from FIG into non-FIG focused PE (MF or MM) I would be very curious to talk to them and get their insight. Thanks monkeys. (oh wait, is that racist too?)

2/3/12

Is FIG any good if you want to end in top management at a financial institution? Talking about post-MBA positions in FIG.

2/3/12

I dunno, I've seen decent exits out of FIG. No BX/KKR/TPG but lots of solid middle-market shops.

2/3/12

FIG experience isn't necessarily restrictive in terms of exit opps. I know people in FIG who have gone or are going to TPG, Apollo, Carlyle, GS PIA, Warburg, THL, General Atlantic, Advent, etc., as well as top-notch hedge funds... point being that you shouldn't be defeatist about being in FIG. It's completely doable to end up at a great place on the buyside if that's what you want, and it's entirely up to you to be proactive and make the most of your experience and recruiting opportunities.

2/3/12

I have no experience in moving to the buyside or anything, so I don't how useful I can be, but if HH are not helping why not go some other way? Try to leverage connections into interviews. You must know some analysts who used to work at your bank, friends who used to be at some other BB, university friends, undergrad alumni, things like that. If you get enough interviews you should be able to get a good spot. Or have you already tried this?

Also, I'm getting really annoyed at this shit that's going on in WSO lately where all the threads are full of posts about some random argument over the most absurd shit. I mean, I read like 20 posts on this thread and only like one or two actually were some sort of advice to the OP.

2/3/12

hey, FIG may suck but FIG PE/HF is a really hot area right now.... there are loads of firms hiring in the sector. There are a lot of well respected financial services specialists out there.

FIG is a big sector too, you can try to carve yourself a niche in FinTech (more sexy), payments systems, online stuff, etc. and gradually move into tech/software, consumer stuff. But yeah you usually get branded very quickly.

I have a FIG background and that's what I did; worked my way out of the sector a little bit and now cover consumer

2/3/12

I know a couple of guys that went from FIG into calling heavy PE shops, like Summit and TA. Those places seem to care somewhat less about your background/group and more about your personality and ability to call. Maybe look at that type of fund profile for opportunities (assuming you are willing and able to cold call).

I also know people that ended up going into corp dev at places like AMEX and Visa.

As mentioned above, there are a ton of places that are currently focused on FinTech and payments. Those are going to be huge growth areas in the next 5-10 years. Go mobile wallet!

2/3/12

Know of several going from FIG to MF PE...it's possible.

2/12/12

It goes without saying that FIG at a top shop (eg GS FIG) isn't restrictive in the least. I think GS FIG might be the best recruited group there after TMT.

Even at lower tier banks, FIG has some advantages. The esoteric knowledge needed for FIG means that you will be building your own models. Also, if you want to stay in banking, you have some pretty solid job security. You are basically like the guys in healthcare: really, really hard to replace. And FIG generates lots of revenue too.

I don't know if you can say financial institutions are boring. I won't argue that reading about the insurance industry is boring relative to Tech or Consumer, but that doesn't really matter in finance. When was the last time you sat down to do industry research? And from an actual modeling standpoint, financial institutions are relatively interesting, or at least complex.

For your specific situation, I'd say network. If the headhunters aren't giving you the jobs you want, start talking to alums, analysts from the class ahead of you, etc. They are less likely to care what your pedigree is as long as you can do the job, and they like you.

2/13/12

I am not a FIG banker and maybe it is the fact that I work in LDN, but I have heard good things from FIG.
The regulatory driven environment guarantees steady dealflow.
If you teach yourself some stuff, EBITDA based PE should be easy plus you have the chance of moving to FIG focused HFs or PEs.

I personally think FIG has a bad rep in this forum, for no reason!

2/13/12

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